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Amy

I have Turner's Syndrome and have known since I was very young that I would not be able to concieve and bear a child, so their "initiative" would prohibit me from marrying.

I am not a good debater, but I do understand that marriage cannot be redefined, any more than we could redefine what the sky is, or the color orange. We could change the way we use the word "sky" or the color "orange" but it wouldn't change the properties of the atmosphere or the frequency of light that we call the color orange (I hope this makes sense).

You make an interesting point. There are many married couples whose marriages could be considered invalid because they will not have children. People say they don't understand how their "shacking up," promiscuity or promoting same sex "marriage," contraception, or switching from one sex to another undermines marriage. It's like a person who is severely overweight saying he doesn't understand how he got so fat while he's eating a triple bacon cheeseburger with fries and a super-size Coke. I see more clearly now what John Paul II meant when he spoke of the "culture of death." Only time will tell where this is all leading.

I know I struggle with what it means to be a woman, and the issue of the husband's authority in the home, but I'm starting to see how important the work you're doing here is.

Amy

I just came across this article by Mary Jo Anderson at CatholicCulture.org, perhaps it could give some perspective - http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?RecNum=7396

Dan S.

". Despite the crocodile tears about benefits and public professions of fidelity, they do not pursue marriage with a desire to settle into "Ozzie and Harriet" lives . . ."

Why do you think this? Do you have, for example, numerous close gay friends who support gay marriage, and who have let slip that it's all a plot to bust the family wide open? (Do you knowingly know many gay people?) Have you happened to find a rainbow flag-covered 3-ring binder containing The Homosexual Agenda? (I keep telling them to stop leaving it around, but do they listen? . . .)

" but in order to transform society -- to blow family wide open as a counterblow for family having failed them"

I have to be honest - especially in conjunction with references to "duplicity" and "crocodile tears," this sounds a little paranoid. It reminds me a little bit of how, according to wikipedia:

"For a century, it was common for white segregationists to accuse abolitionists, and, later, advocates of equal rights for African Americans, of secretly plotting the destruction of the white race through miscegenation. After World War II, white segregationists commonly accused the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King, Jr., of being part of a communist plot funded by the Soviet Union to destroy the “white United States” through miscegenation." [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscegenation]

although you do sound slightly more nuanced. The "counterblow for family having failed them" part is also rather odd - are you getting this from 'ex-gay' rhetoric (itself regurgitated from obsolete psychoanalysis - the kind that blamed 'refrigerator mothers' for making their children autistic, where toilet-training a day too early or late could scar a child for life)?

Although surely supporters of marriage equality *do* have various motives, just like people who oppose it (from virulent and hateful bigotry to sincere religious belief to cautious conservatism to folks who simply haven't managed to wrap their heads around it yet, what with all these changes). I, for example, certainly don't want to get gay-married, being both boringly straight and already married. Nevertheless, I can't imagine why I would insist that some of my friends (but not others) can't, if they meet someone they love and want to spend their life with, go and get officially married to them. It would be like insisting that they must be barred from officially marrying someone of another race or religion - but worse, since in that case they at least *might* end up falling in love with someone acceptable.

What reasons for marriage equality?
Well, there's the practical and pragmatic aspect - the countless privileges, protections and obligations conferred by (for example) legal marriage, but not by any unofficial ceremony.

There's also the social aspect; when you mention "validat[ing] their relationships with a "trip down the aisle," this can work on both an individual level and a cultural one. Just as a marriage (can) confer the approval and attention of the community on any specific couple, it can also make a bigger statement about the social acceptance of gay people. Logically, part of conservatives would want to be *for* this - integrating people into mainstream society and giving them a structure to support their lives. Really, 'We want marriage' is one of the most conservative slogans you can imagine, up there with "We want to wear three-piece suits," "We want to work steady 9-5 jobs!," or "We want to display proper table manners!"

And of course, the simplest and most meaningful of all, that people want to get married to someone they love very much. Just imagine, after all, that you lived in a hypothetical opposite-world, just like ours, except that 1) homosexuality and gay marriage was the norm, often the only acceptable thing, and 2) you, nevertheless, were straight there too, and met a wonderful member of the opposite sex and fell deeply in love. What would you want to do?

Dan S.

[continued]

"I'd be one of the first to warn about the duplicity of the same-sex attraction crowd in their push for marriage. Despite the crocodile tears about benefits and public professions of fidelity, they do not pursue marriage with a desire to settle into "Ozzie and Harriet" lives, but in order to transform society -- to blow family wide open as a counterblow for family having failed them."

I mean, really - I'm sure you're a perfectly nice and good person, but . . .you don't hear a bit of a cramped and hateful tone to this? (Perfectly nice people can be infected by cramped and hateful ideas, after all - in other times, it would have been about Jews or Catholics or black people or Asians . . . ) They don't really care about getting married, you're saying, all this about hospital visitation rights is just so much fluff, it's all just a plot to "to blow family wide open as a counterblow for family having failed them." (And Catholics didn't really care about their kids being made to participate in specifically Protestant prayers and Bible readings in 19thC public schools - it was all a plot to destroy American values and put the pope in charge. Uh-huh.

Yes, in a sense, people who support the freedom to marry *by definition* implicitly want to change society a little, in that this would be a change from what society is like now. That is, they want to make society less discrimatory, like those who fought for an end to segregation, or for women getting to be CEOs and lawyers. The difference here is that some folks - like the ones who opposed these other changes - can only see this as a bad thing, as an attack on them and all they hold dear, not something that makes a better and more just society for all of us.

"Is it any wonder that we've lost the ability to define what marriage truly is?"

Lost the ability? I think we've gained it, instead, along with a better and less discriminatory perspective.

Amy: "but I do understand that marriage cannot be redefined, any more than we could redefine what the sky is, or the color orange. We could change the way we use the word "sky" or the color "orange" but it wouldn't change the properties of the atmosphere or the frequency of light that we call the color orange (I hope this makes sense)."

Yes, it does. Sometimes the sky holds a rainbow.

(yes, that's cheesy. But it's true. "Sky" doesn't just mean a certain shade of blue and clouds just so - it covers an enormous range of conditions. And orange? Look around you. Is there only one single shade that means "orange? - with everything that doesn't *exactly* match it not orange?

gsk

Dear Dan S.

I think you need your own blog. Thank you for the fraternal correction (psychoanalysis?) in noting that I'm full of hate and paranoia. I create my understanding of the GLTN...(whatever) agenda by reading their books, their newspapers, and their blogs. (No vitrol in those places! Just sweetness and light.)

I try to imagine a world where same-sex attraction was the norm and hetero-sex was an aberration but, you're right, I can't. Since reproductive technology is a late invention, the planet would be uninhabited (an enviromentalist dream!)

Finally, the Black people I know are incensed that their struggle for equality is now the band-wagon for the homosexual agenda. One cannot equate fundamental rights attached to homo sapiens with license for unhealthy behaviour.

You want the world to rearrange its head to fit into yours. Wrong and bad. If we want to read more lengthy screeds, we'll come to your blog (since I pay to keep this one). Address?

Dan S.

"I think you need your own blog. "

Oh, I have a few - all woefully neglected, sadly. This is a request to go away and not comment on your blog? Fair 'nuff - it *is* yours, after all. Although, one last thing -

" Thank you for the fraternal correction (psychoanalysis?) in noting that I'm full of hate and paranoia."

I don't think that, & I should say that I didn't intend to insult you (although I should have realized that this was going to - I'm not very bright sometimes). I did say that I was sure you were a perfectly nice and good person, but that the first paragraph of your post sounded a little paranoid, and seemed to have a hateful tone. The difference matters to me (something akin to the bad *person* vs. bad *behavior* distinction), but quite possibly to no one else. Also, "hateful" is not the right word, and I should not have used it. Perhaps: weary/bitter anger? No, that's not quite right either. As for the sounding-a-little paranoid part, I am being entirely honest, as I see it; that is really what it sounds like to me.

Let me put it this way: based on what she read and experienced, Christina Page has argued that the pro-life movement *establishment* (as opposed to many of the rank and file) doesn't really *care* about reducing the number of abortions; instead, its real goal is to turn the societal clock back to some imagined '50s ideal - as she puts it:

"The only conclusion that this path leads to is one: The modern family is deeply offensive to the Christian right. The family structures in which we are living today, in which both parents are equal and they both bring home a living, they get to choose the number of children they have to what they can support and want -- that is offensive to the pro-life establishment. The whole reason why none of their programs are leading to fewer abortions is because *that's simply not the point.* The point isn't about abortion, it's about the family. It's about what the family looks like, it's about who's in it, who's leading it, who has the power, and who's the spiritual head." [http://www.alternet.org/rights/32369/]

Does she sound reasonable to you, or perhaps a little paranoid?
(Personally I think it's rather more complicated, and that this is kinda an emic/etic [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emic_and_etic] issue, but . . .)

" If we want to read more lengthy screeds, we'll come to your blog (since I pay to keep this one)."
Would *short* screeds be alright? I have some (relatively) brief responses to the points in your last comment - or should I just go *away* already, and hope that you come visit [http://angryfuzzy.blogspot.com/] on the off-chance you'd want to continue this conversation in the little open thread I set up there, as politely as I can manage? Although to be fair, I'm not sure why you'd want to. I really have no sense, nor subtlety nor tact - this sort of thing just makes me so upset and frustrated . . .

Dan S.

and yes, those links should be
http://www.alternet.org/rights/32369/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emic_and_etic
http://angryfuzzy.blogspot.com

*sigh*

gsk

You are so cute, Dan S., that you need your own thread. I'll try to fix the perceptions elsewhere. Please know that none of this is taken personally and we'd get along famously over a few beers. Writing is always hard without the eye contact that clarifies the difficult spots. Anon to the thread...

Dan S.

" Please know that none of this is taken personally "

Oh, that's good. : )

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    Comments

    • From Benedict XVI
      “People have realized that the complete removal of the feminine element from the Christian message is a shortcoming from an anthropological viewpoint. It is theologically and anthropologically important for woman to be at the center of Christianity."
    • Anger and Patrimony (from Donna)
      This is just another of the unintended consequences of the cultural acceptance of contraception and abortion! Men's sexuality has been robbed of its creative essence. It is now viewed as something that imposes a burden on women (when conception happens to occur), something used to control women or something that is purely recreational. Why would men bother?? In taking away their responsibility, we've also robbed them of their significance! In the big picture of humanity, men have been made into nothing more than a nuisance women have to figure out how to control in order to bring about the next generation. Men don't see it as their task to protect the vulnerable because they see themselves as the vulnerable ones. A few well preserved vials of sperm would make men entirely obsolete in the world's ethos today!!
    • Excellent, Dom! (from Teresa)
      That is astounding Robin, and good for you for standing up. At the heart of that matter, I think, is even worse than a gender mixing message. There is an increased sharper and sharper focus on the "self." Solid Catholic teaching returns our focus away from ourselves to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The original sin, Eve denied her womanhood when she desired to be like "gods." Since the only god she knew was the Father. Where was Adam? He stood impotent... in other words, they were divorced. There's a young girl at Robin's son's high school who was just told that she is the center of the universe and it's a tragic disservice to her.
    • Find the logic (from "me")
      Ditto what Mary said! A lot of high schools have very poor math and science depts, for boys and girls. I also am educated as a chemical engineer, but chose to teach the two years before we had children because its hours were more suited to spending time with children. (I was looking ahead). When it came time and I was pregnant with our first, I realized that I did not want to leave him with someone else, and was able to stay home full time. I am not sure it would have been that easy if we were used to another engineering income and not just a private school teacher income. Also some of my first job offers were out on oil rigs - I had no interest in that at all even though I enjoyed my engineering classes and did well in them. No one discouraged me from an engineering job, on the contrary I got a lot of flack for my decision not to pursue an engineering career.
    • Find the logic (from Mary)
      I've been lurking, but this is one that irritates me. Beats the heck out of me what these "barriers" are. I was educated as a chemical engineer, where 1/3 of our class was women. However, in electrical engineering, only 1 or 2 out of 30 were women. Is it possible that women are Just Not Interested in some areas? Nah, it must be The Man keeping us down so we must legislate (and, I agree -- when they say "legistlate", I hear "quota"). And actually, I have a friend that was also a chemical engineer. When she lost her job, she decided not to go back into engineering and started working from home so she could spend more time with her 3 kids. Also, if nothing else, there are all kinds of incentives for women to enter science and engineering -- scholarships not available to men, guaranteed housing on campuses that do not guarantee housing to the general population, etc. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that schools in general are not preparing students for the hard sciences. It is truly a sad state of affairs, the lack of science education these days.

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