Tag Archives: religion

Leftist Power-lust Trumps All: Our Descent into Madness

Once again, the various events and challenges of life have taken from my ranting time, but God knows there’s been no shortage of things to rant about during that time.

Over the past eight months or so, I watched, at first with bemusement, the left’s increasingly deranged and demented hysteria following the election of Donald J. Trump to President of the United States.  But now there is nothing funny about the deepening madness as the increasingly violent rhetoric and behavior on the left, has led, unsurprisingly, to a bloody assassination attempt (oh, sorry – I was forgetting there for a second that crazed leftist maniacs don’t kill people; guns kill people!  Mea maxima frickin’ culpa), and the largest political coup / witch-hunt in American history threatens to tear about what thin shreds remain of our Republic.

I don’t have time to follow every depressing and sordid twist and turn of this ongoing perverse political saga – that I’ll leave to others – but it is an travesty and outrage on so many different levels.   The same folks who disregarded the actual letter of the law to clear Her Cackling Highness Hillary of her obvious blatant violation of the Espionage Act, and had no problem whatever with Benghazi, Fast & Furious, or use of the IRS to target political opponents – or the prior administration’s illegal spying on political opponents (too bad they weren’t equally vigilant about Russia’s activities) – keep desperately searching for something, anything, to nail Trump on so they can impeach him.  As Joseph Stalin infamously said, “show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.”

I’ll start by saying that – as you may have surmised by last year’s posts from during the GOP primaries – I was never exactly a fan of Mr. Trump.  I supported Ted Cruz.  But my issues with Trump, besides his dubious honesty and constant flip-flopping, boil down to him essentially being on yet another big-government big-spending liberal.  But, all LSD-induced lefty hysteria to the contrary, he’s far from the Second Coming of Adolf Hitler.  (To be fair, so was Dear Leader Barack Hussein Obama, though he was a soft-Marxist petty banana republic-style thug, which was bad enough.)

Still, for all his faults, Trump remains far preferable to Her Cackling Highness Hillary Rodham Clinton, who would have completed her predecessor’s packing of the courts (including the SCOTUS) with leftist activists, thereby destroying any conservative prospects in our lifetime.  I still thank God that she lost.

I’ve seen Trump’s politics referred to as “extreme right,” which is absurd.  In fact, overall Mr. Trump is the most left-wing Republican president we’ve had in a long time.  (Unsurprising, given that until recently he identified as a liberal Democrat.)  Despite all the left’s screams about “homophobia” and “reproductive rights,” he’s shown no concrete evidence of being a genuine social conservative, and his proposals for trade policies are not that different from Comrade Bernie’s.  That Trump is considered a dangerous ultra-conservative fanatic shows just how far down the rabbit-hole of radical leftist insanity the Democratic Party has gone.

I must say, though, that I’m touched at the sudden concern some of my friends on the left are suddenly expressing concerning  constitutional limits on executive power.  In fact, I’d actually find it heartening if it were at all sincere.  I’ve heard this concern about Trump’s alleged violation of the Constitution from folks who less than a year ago were deriding and pooh-poohing conservative concerns over government over-stepping constitutional limits.  Then, you see, the U.S. Constitution was simply a quaint and oppressive old paper written up by some Evil Dead White Slave-holding Males, completely irrelevant to our Complex Modern Times, and best completely disregarded, lest it stand in the way of our Dear Leaders paving the path to socialist utopia.  But, now, with a Republican in the White House, it suddenly matters again.  (Not that these folks could tell you anything about what the Constitution actually says, other than a vague notion that it somehow demands abortion and gay marriage.)

No, the Constitution matters no more the left than any other laws, to be twisted when convenient to attack and destroy political opponents, and disregarded completely with regards to one’s own “team.”  They really aren’t outraged at Trump because he’s particularly conservative or dictatorial, but simply because he stood in the way of Queen Hillary’s Destined Ascent to the Throne, which they believed her entitled to.  And if a real conservative (say, Cruz), rather than Trump, had beaten Hillary, the reaction would likely be even more vicious, ugly, and deranged.

Hopefully, the ugliness of the current situation will awaken all conservatives to the true nature of the left.  They are the enemy, plain and and simple.  Like the Terminator, they cannot be reasoned, bought or bargained with.  Endless compromise will get us nowhere.  Their goal is absolute power, and they seek to destroy everybody and anybody who stands in their way, and they will stop at nothing to achieve this end.  We need to stop playing their games and fight back – hard – lest we lose this fight forever.  (A good place to start is by supporting the Article V Convention of States.  Texas is in, y’all!)

And the sooner Catholics realize (as in fact Popes repeatedly warned us in times past) that the political Left is not our friend and ally, but our evil and ruthless enemy, the better.   But sadly, many pious souls will not until they inevitably come for them.  Too many have been seduced by the lies and false promises of socialism.  Until then we can expect our bishops to do nothing more than issue endless blandly “non-partisan” statements combining nice sentiments about the value of human life and family with calls for open borders and and an ever-bigger, gun-grabbing welfare state.  And so-called “orthodox Catholic” bloggers and pundits such a will continue to actively support politicians such as Clinton and Sanders, while making statements like Mark Shea’s idiotic claim that his “Catholic Pro-life conscience” compelled  him to support Hillary Clinton.  That’s right, the woman who said religious beliefs opposed to “reproductive healthcare” (aka abortion) “need to be changed.”  God help us.

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Murder, Mayhem, and Madness

You could practically see the gleeful salivating eager anticipation on the faces of liberals a week or so ago, when the news came out of the despicable and senseless murder of three young Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  A “hate crime”!  Against Muslims!  And just after Dear Leader had, no doubt prophetically, warned all us trigger-happy Christian types against the coming bloody “backlash” against Muslims, shaming us with tales of Christian violence from a thousand years ago at a prayer breakfast!  (I suppose bashing long-dead Christians is as close as a dedicated leftist gets to prayer.)

(Btw, regarding the prayer breakfast comments, I’d recommend learning from Dr. Thomas Madden,  who dispels many popular myths on these subjects.  Unlike Obama and various liberal pundits, Dr. Madden is an actual historian and expert on the topic.)

On a message board I was on, a bleeding heart breathlessly announced the news of the Chapel Hill murders, immediately followed by speculative babble about the likely root causes of this crime, namely “ Christian Privilege,” particularly White/Straight/Male/Christian Privilege.  Those damn Straight Christian White Guys again!  This was (quite predictably) followed bya pc diatribe about Christian intolerance against Muslims, gays, and anybody else who’s “different.”

Of course, most of the excitement died down quickly when it was revealed that the killer was in fact a self-described “anti-theist” atheist, as well as a political liberal who was a fan of lefty organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, and various bleeding heart causes like “gay rights,” who committed the murders apparently out of rage over a parking incident.

Whatever his deep dark murky inner motivations for the murder were (and I don’t purport to know them), they clearly had nothing to do with Christianity.

(But he was, in fact, a White Guy.)

I mention that not to score cheap points against atheists and liberals.  Much as I disagree with atheism and the left, the truth is that most atheists and bleeding hearts don’t run around gunning innocent people down.  (They’re usually too busy whining on teh interwebz about “White Christian Privilege” and whatnot.)

But let’s face it, if the murderer had instead been shown to be a self-professed Christian, or been a political conservative (as they doubtlessly had hoped), the media would have a field day, and still be berating us conservative tea-bagging Christian types for the murderous hatred we had fostered, and how the blood was on all our hands.

For the past few decades, it seems the left has desperately attempted to politicize every senseless murder that makes news headlines, with conservatives always being somehow to blame.  (Could the killer be a Tea-Partier?!)  If nothing else, there’s always the predicable-as-clockwork cries of how the murder illustrates the dire need for more restriction of second amendment rights.

This is tied to the ongoing desperate attempt to paint conservative Christians as a hateful, violence-prone bunch (much like ISIS, only nastier).  Never mind the fact that extremely few murders or acts of terror are actually committed by committed Christians or conservatives.

Hating Islam can sometimes be acceptable in politically correct liberal circles, but only when this hatred is balanced by an equal hatred of Christianity (which, after all is the real enemy).   Like with the killer in Chapel Hill who hates all “theists,” Christian and Muslim alike.   Islamic terrorism is commonly used as a club to beat Christians with – “See what happens when people believe in a God?!”  Ironically, those same folks who insist on lumping all “theists” together become very perturbed when it’s pointed out that folks such as Stalin or Mao or that dude in Chapel Hill were in fact atheists.  (“But Real Atheists™ are peaceful!”)

Meanwhile, down here in Texas, the killer of  “American Sniper” Chris Kyle his friend Chad Littlefield was convicted of murder.  I’m glad and thankful that those true American heros received justice, and that the jury didn’t buy the defense’s ridiculous “insanity defense” bullcrap.  Getting yourself high as a kite before going to the gun range may make you an idiot, but it doesn’t make you innocent of murder.    (And I thought smoking weed, much like atheism, was supposed to bring peace’n’luv to the world and make it a better place for us all.  Oh well.)

But in the case of that creep in Chapel Hill, I just might buy the insanity defense.  Anyone that leftist has got to be completely nucking futs in my book.

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Conservatism and the Enduring Moral Order

Every so often, I’ll hear someone (sometimes a liberal, but oftentimes a self-described “conservative”) express a nostalgic longing for some vague time in the mythic, mist-shrouded past (the ‘50s? the ‘80s?), back before conservatism had supposedly been “hijacked” by religious crazies (like us pro-lifers) with our childish and irrational moral concerns, and conservatives instead were concerned only with real issues such as the GDP . . . or something.  (As many “conservatives” today are increasingly unwilling to stand for principles of limited constitutional government, decrying those who do as “extremists” and such, so it’s becoming really unclear what such “conservatives” do stand for, or what exactly it is they wish to conserve.)

The trouble is, to start with, that this mythic golden age of amoral conservatism never actually existed.  While there have always been differing strains of conservative thought (traditionalists vs. libertarians, etc.), concern with moral issues was never alien to conservative thought.

The late great Russell Kirk was a philosophical founding father of the modern American conservative movement, helping launch conservatism as a national intellectual and political force in the 1950s, along with other pioneers such as William F. Buckley, Jr.

While, as Dr. Kirk admits, there is no single conservative creed or manifesto, he laid out a series of “Ten Conservative Principles,” which, in my humble opinion, is probably the best summation of conservative principle and philosophy anyone has ever made.  The first draft was published in the ‘50s, and he continued to hone it throughout his life. (I strongly recommend that everyone interested read the entire list.)

The first of these conservative principles is belief in an “enduring moral order.”

First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order. That order is made for man, and man is made for it: human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent.

It’s worth noting that not only did Dr. Kirk include belief in an enduring moral order on his list of ten conservative principles, but it was number one on the list.

He concludes that section by saying:

It has been said by liberal intellectuals that the conservative believes all social questions, at heart, to be questions of private morality. Properly understood, this statement is quite true. A society in which men and women are governed by belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society—whatever political machinery it may utilize; while a society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites, will be a bad society—no matter how many people vote and no matter how liberal its formal constitution may be.

The idea of the importance of morality and belief in a moral order to a just and functioning civil society was not a unique invention of Russell Kirk or the modern conservative movement, but was in fact a belief shared by the American founding fathers.

As John Adams famously said:

Because we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

All the founders, despite their varying religious views, agreed that morality (including “religious” morality) was essential to the health of the American republic.

(You can find a collection of quotes from various founding fathers here.)

One of the most pernicious lies popular today is the idea that “separation of Church and State” somehow forbids any and all moral considerations from entering into American law or issues of government, and that Christian citizens are somehow obligated to toss out any moral beliefs they might hold when walking into the voting booth.  If we allow any “religious” morality to creep into legal or political discourse, we are warned, we are in imminent danger of the establishment of a horrific and repressive “theocracy.”

I’ve seen this line not just from the atheists and militant secularists, but sadly from many supposedly religious Catholics, who insist we must “keep our morality out of politics.”

(Interestingly, we never seem to hear that line from when religious liberals give religious reasons for supporting more left-leaning policies, such as environmentalist measures.)

This idea, though, is absolute nonsense.  The “wall of separation” phrase is not in the Constitution, but a private letter of Thomas Jefferson to a member of the Danbury Baptists, assuring them that their sect would not face persecution .  The first amendment of the Constitution does not forbid morality,  but says that Congress shall not “make laws concerning an establishment of religion.”  An establishment of religion in the 18th century meant specifically a national church supported with tax dollars – such as the Church of England.

None of the current social conservative positions involve actually forcing religious doctrine or practice on people (as would laws requiring people to believe in the divinity of Christ or attend Sunday Mass).  They involve what is traditionally known as natural law – moral principles that can be known by man’s natural reason – and which were once almost universally accepted in our civilization, regardless of creed.

All laws “impose morality” – that is, an idea of what is right and wrong, what one ought or ought not do.

And when voting on legislation or choosing between candidates, everyone will bring their own moral judgments, whether influenced by religion or anything else.  It’s impossible to neatly separate “religious” ideas from “non-religious” when making such decisions.  For the believer, religious faith is an integral part of one’s entire philosophy of life, and will affect how I view things such as right and wrong, the meaning of marriage, and human life itself.

For example, as a Christian, I consider human life to have intrinsic worth and value, and thus it is always gravely wrong to deliberately take an innocent human life, as by abortion.  Others may believe human life has no intrinsic worth, and that others have a right to take it as they see fit.  However that’s also a different “moral” judgment, based on un-Christian principles.  Likewise, the idea that homosexual couples have an inherit right to be legally recognized as “married” is not based on objective science, but on an idea of morality – albeit one alien to orthodox Christianity.

The social left doesn’t want to merely keep church and state separate, but to ensure the law is based on a certain nihilistic and atheistic philosophical ideology, rather than traditional Judeo-Christian natural law morality.

But as all Christians should know – and history bears out – removing all morality from law and government doesn’t result in religious freedom, but godless government – and inevitably tyranny.

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Guns & Religion

Since the Newtown school killings, and the capitalizing on this horror by Barrack Obama and other politicians to push for further restrictions on the right of citizens to own and bear arms – including a proposed ban on so-called “assault weapons” – it seems that quite a few Catholic churchmen and media figures have been quick to jump aboard the “gun control” bandwagon – sometimes going so far as to paint those of us Catholics who oppose such “gun control” policies as dissenters opposed to “Church teaching,” or being “not pro-life.”  Not surprisingly, quite a bit of controversy and drama has arisen among Catholics over this issue.

The drama intensified following a (highly misleading) CNS story alleging that the Catholic Church teaches that “firearms in the hands of civilians should be strictly limited, and eventually completely eliminated,” and came to a head when Vatican media spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi made statements in his weekly editorial supporting Obama’s “gun control” initiatives as a “step in the right direction” towards the goal of eliminating civilian gun ownership.

Popular left-leaning Catholic blogger Mark Shea followed with a defense of Lombardi and attacks on the “gun culture” and “nutjob secessionists” who support a right to bear arms for self-defense.

Last weekend, while visiting family out-of-state, I saw in the local diocesan paper a CNS story celebrating Vincent DeMarco’s organization’s “faith-based” efforts to get “gun-control” legislation enacted, as well as a column by the local bishop, which, among other things, accused those in favor of allowing people to own “assault weapons” of being “not pro-life.”

So, from listening to much of the mainstream “Catholic” media, you would quickly conclude that Catholic moral teaching is solidly against civilian ownership of firearms, and that any Catholic opposed to restrictions or bans on the right to own and bear arms is a dissenter from Church teaching, and at least border-line heretical.

The truth is that, on the contrary, the Church has no binding moral teaching against the ownership of any type of firearm by private citizens, nor are Catholics in any way obligated to support the various “gun control” measures proposed by Obama and other leftist politicians.  Neither Fr. Lombardi, nor any of the other Vatican officials cited has a shred of binding magisterial authority.

The Church teaches, rather, that all people have a right to self-defense against an aggressor, using lethal force if necessary.  Furthermore, the Church teaches that persons have a “right and grave duty” to defend those whose lives are entrusted to them against aggressors.  (This would include men protecting their families from attackers.)

The following is from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.66

2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.

The prior-mentioned CNS article quotes from the last sentence to claim that Church teaching restricts use of arms to employees of the state, or holding “legitimate authority,” but the dishonesty of this assertion is clear from reading the passage in context.  The last sentence refers to police work and such against “aggressors against the civil community,” but there is nothing in that passage to negate the use of arms by civilians to defend their lives or those of others.

Some argue that so-called “assault weapons” such as the AR-15 (which are no different than semi-automatic hunting rifles, except for their military-looking aesthetics) or high-capacity magazines are unnecessary to defend oneself.  While this may be largely true when dealing with, say, a single mugger, there are real documented situations in which more ammo may have to be expended when defending against multiple armed attackers.

Many people in debates on the subject have brought up Korean shop-owners using semi-automatic weapons for defense during the infamous “Rodney King” riots in L.A. in the early ‘90s.  This should serve as a reminder of how quickly order can break down even in a supposedly “civilized” major city.  I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to believe that even larger breakdowns in public order may occur in the foreseeable future due to political unrest, or natural, man-made, or economic disaster.  While most of us would hope to never be in a situation where use of such weapons is necessary, I think the old Boy Scout motto (before they went all gay) can still apply:  Be Prepared.

The bottom line is that I don’t believe it’s the place of the government to dictate to law-abiding citizens exactly what kind of weapon and how much ammo is necessary for defense in every conceivable situation, and there’s no pressing need for the State to hack away at the right of citizens to bear arms for self-defense.

As I’ve said before, existing gun laws have proven woefully ineffective at preventing violence by the “bad guys,” who will find ways to unlawfully obtain guns or to commit massacres without firearms.  (The largest mass-killings on American soil in recent times, 9-11 and the Oklahoma City bombings, were committed without guns.)

All “gun-control” legislation will do is further compromise the ability of private citizens to defend themselves against aggressors.

As Catholics, we believe the Church teaches infallibly only regarding matters of faith and morals, when taught dogmatically through the magisterium.  Vatican officials and media spokesmen have no magisterial authority, nor do the prudential or political opinions of individual churchmen, including the Pope himself.  The idea that government “gun-control” measures and disarming of private citizens is necessary is a prudential judgment, and a poor one at that.

Over the past several decades, the US Bishops and other churchmen have jumped onto a number of left-leaning political causes, including “gun control,” amnesty for illegal aliens, environmentalism, and greater government regulation of the economy – usually touting ever-bigger and more intrusive centralized government as the cure to all our ills.

Many in the Church seem to have a naïve, overly-benign view of the modern state – which is in reality hardly amicable to the Church’s interests.  Thus, our good bishops were shocked when the socialist medicine policies they have long ardently supported came back to bite them in the collective ass with the HHS mandate denying Catholics freedom of religious conscience.

In these spiritually-ignorant times, the majority of Catholics and non-Catholics alike are not well-informed enough to distinguish from infallible moral teachings, and prudential political opinions.  Thus, the dabbling of Church officials in “liberal” secular politics has the unfortunate effect of creating confusion regarding actual Church teaching on faith and morals, which gets lost amidst the political noise.  For the average “low-information” pew-sitter, Catholic moral teaching on matters such as abortion, birth-control, and sexual behavior carries no more or less weight than political opinionizing on gun control and the like.

I say it’s past time church officials got out of secular left-wing politics, and returned focus to the timeless moral teachings of the Church – on which there is so much ignorance and confusion.

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A Defense of Legal Recognition of Marriage from an Evil Statist Theocratic Catholic Bastard

(Note:  This piece was originally published in the blog, “. . . the hell with it” in which I guest-blogged in response to an article by ‘Johnny Peters” as part of a debate on the Church, the state, and marriage  You can read both articles and the following commentary/debate here.)

 

In this piece, I will argue that the state should  in fact recognize and promote marriage, as taught by the Church, and that the law should recognize the true definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

Contrary to our gracious hostess’s statement on this blog, I could care less whether or not the state has a vested interest in recognizing marriage between one man and one woman.  Rather, I believe that society–that all of us–have a vested interest in marriage being thus correctly recognized by the law.  In accord with the consistent social teaching of the Church, the state has a duty to promote the common good, whether it happens to benefit those in power or not.

While Mr. Peters has given us a rousing libertarian rant against various abuses of power by the state, from Mayor Bloomberg’s War on Soda-pop to Prohibition, he fails to adequately address Catholic social teaching on the proper relationship of the law to marriage.

As Catholics, our primary concern should not be with what Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Barrack Obama, NOM, the ACLU, or any other politician or political lobby has to say about this issue.   Rather, we should be concerned with what Jesus Christ’s One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church has to say about it.

The Church’s teaching on legal recognition of marriage, and on homosexual “civil unions” is not arcane or esoteric, but is pretty straightforward and direct, and can be easily read by all in this 2003 document written by a certain Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in the office of Prefect of the Congregation for the Defense of the Faith:  “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons.”

There isn’t space here to go into this entire document in depth, but I strongly recommend that every Catholic with an interest in this debate read the entire document.   Cardinal Ratzinger’s learning, wisdom, and holiness far exceeds my own, and it is best to read it in his own words.   However, I will quote the document’s conclusion here:

 The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behavior, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.

Many Catholics today decry state recognition of marriage as “giving the state power over a sacrament,” and talk as though this is similar to the state deciding who should be baptized, or allowed to receive Holy Communion.

While the Church has in fact elevated Catholic marriage to a sacrament, marriage is in fact an institution of the natural law, and is a good in the natural order.   Marriage between a man and a woman simply provides the best situation for the procreation and raising of children, and is the most fundamental unit of human society.  As such, it is in everyone’s interest to promote and support it, as the Church recognizes.   Study after study confirms that it is best for children that they be raised in stable homes with both a mother and a father, and our society is currently suffering from the effects of fatherless homes and broken homes associated with the decline of marriage.

Thus, marriage between man and woman is not only a religious concern, but rather a good essential to the proper functioning of society, which deserves to be supported by law and government, just as the law should support such goods as human life and property rights.

While much more could be said about the above-cited CDF document, two main points are relevant to this particular debate.

First, law-makers have a duty to ensure that the law “recognize, promote, and protect marriage.”

While there can certainly be legitimate debate about how the law should best do this, this is obviously contrary to the law not recognizing marriage at all, as Mr. Peters proposes.  If the law does not even recognize marriage in the first place, then it follows that it can do nothing to promote or protect it.

Secondly, it is wrong to give legal recognition to homosexual unions, and “place them on the same level as marriage.”

While Mr. Peters claims to be opposed to state recognition of homosexual unions, this is exactly what his proposal to “get the state out of marriage” would in fact entail.  If legal recognition of the marriage contract were scrapped, as Mr. Peters proposes, and replaced entirely with contracts by private attorney, then the state would indeed place homosexual unions and marriage on the same level.  (And I hardly think it beneficial to married couples if, after getting married, they have to make a separate visit with a lawyer simply to receive any legal recognition as being related to one another.)

A marriage between a man and a woman, in Mr. Peters’ brilliant proposal, would receive exactly the same legal recognition as a private contract between two or more cohabiting homosexuals, or any other grouping of persons having nothing to do with marriage.  Such a move would utterly fail to promote and protect marriage in any way, but would utterly devalue it, as to make marriage legally meaningless.

Likewise with Senator Paul’s absurd proclamation (reverently quoted by Mr. Peters) that “There should essentially be no limits to the voluntary definition of marriage.”  If there are essentially no limits to the legal definition of marriage, “marriage” becomes essentially meaningless.   This “voluntary” redefinition of “marriage” to mean anything and everything you want it to mean, would in reality force the state to recognize as “marriage” not only homosexual “unions,” but any other couplings or groupings of persons (or animals?  inanimate objects?  Let’s not be limiting!) that one can come up with.   In Senator Paul’s brave new world, states would have to legally recognize your “marriage” to your gay lover, or your sister, or your grandmother, or your Rottweiler (or all four if you’re feeling particularly adventurous)  No limits, baby!

But, the libertarian opponents of legal marriage will say, so what if the law gives no special status to marriage between man and woman, and places it on equal footing legally with contracts between homosexuals or others?  After all, it’s not the place of the law to promote moral values!

But this is where Catholic social teaching differs sharply from secularist libertarian doctrine.  The Church has always recognized and taught that it is the responsibility of law and government to promote the common good and natural law morality, rather than oppose it.  Thus, “legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behavior, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity.”

Laws both reflect and affect the moral values of a society, and people’s ideas of what is right and wrong.  The Church teaches that the law has a “teaching” function.  If you doubt this notion, consider whether you think it is easier or harder to convince people in our country that abortion is wrong and evil after it has been officially legally enshrined via Roe v. Wade as “a woman’s constitutional right to choose.”  Or you might consider whether you think the outlawing of slavery has had any effect on people’s general attitudes toward “the peculiar institution.”

If the law does not recognize and promote marriage, but regards it as having no more value than homosexual shack-ups, it sends the clear message that marriage is of no value.

Now that we’ve shown that the Church teaches that the law must recognize and protect marriage, and that abolishing all legal recognition of marriage is contrary to the Church’s teachings, let’s deal briefly with a couple of Mr. Peter’s objections.

“The Church shouldn’t need permission slips from the state to perform marriages!”

Fair enough.  I don’t have a problem with getting rid of state marriage licenses, though I don’t think they’re quite the horrific oppression Mr. Peters apparently thinks they are, given the big scheme of things.   The law should still recognize and promote marriage though, and this can be done without marriage licenses – as the law did in fact recognize marriages before state licenses were introduced.  I think a written document with the signatures of the spouses would do fine.  Just so long as the state only recognizes marriages between a man and a woman, as nothing else is, or ever can be, a marriage.

“Catholic churches will be forced to perform gay marriage ceremonies!”

This is simply a hysterical slippery-slope non-sequitor.   This scenario would be a direct violation of the first amendment’s religious liberty clause, which even the most liberal lawyer would have trouble weaseling around.  And yes, I realize religious liberty is under attack, but we should stand and defend religious liberty on its own grounds, rather than duck and run by failing to promote and defend marriage.   While the law recognizes the right of persons to get married, no one has a “right” to get married in any particular church, synagogue, or mosque.   Religious clerics are not forced to marry any (heterosexual) couple in violation of their religious beliefs.   Time and energy would be much better spent defending first amendment religious liberty rights, than trying to abolish all legal recognition of marriage.

(Besides, I’m sure the local liberal Episcopalian church would be more than happy to oblige any homosexual couple looking for a quaint and atmospheric location for a “wedding” ceremony that would beat the local Catholic architectural monstrosity hands-down.)

The Church always calls on us to stand up and defend what is right and just, to be a shining light on the hill, rather than run for the cover of darkness at any sign of a tough fight.  She doesn’t call on us to stand up for what is right only when we deem it politically expedient or popular, or “on the right side of history.”

The Church continues to exhort Catholics to do all we can to ensure that the state and the law defend and protect all innocent human life, born and preborn.  She does this regardless of the fact that the government of our country (and many others) has failed miserably in this regard over the past forty years or so.

In the same way, the Church calls on law-makers to defend and protect the good of marriage.  We Catholics should step up our efforts to evangelize society, and take a stand for what is right, rather than declare surrender, and pursue a legal agenda blatantly at odds with the Church’s teaching.

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Through Polarized Lenses

There’s a new book out by Jeffrey Bell, The Case for Polarized Politics, which makes the shocking argument that campaigning on “divisive” “social issues” can in fact be a winning campaign strategy for conservative politicians. (I learned of the book thanks to a review by Phil Lawler on CatholicCulture.org.) As I have not, as of yet, read the book, I will not discuss it further in this rant. But today I will rant on an old and more basic pet peeve of mine: the common and long-standing practice by those of the Left of denouncing everyone and everything to their right as “polarizing” or “divisive.”

Whenever somebody says something or takes a stance that’s in anyways at odds with liberal politically-correct orthodox opinion, you can always count on somebody on the left condemning it as “polarizing” or “divisive” – whether it’s Republican congressmen who vote against any one of Obama’s schemes, conservative talk-radio hosts, or anyone else not fully on board with the whole lefty program. Apparently we need to just shut up and gather together holding hands and singing Kumbaya in unified solidarity behind Dear Leader.

For instance, I recall a few years ago, while looking up local independent country singer Austin Cunningham’s song “Guns and Religion,” reading a post on a Texas music blog which denounced the tune as “divisive garbage” which should not receive airplay. I mean, how dare a musician sing a song with anything but a leftwing message! Of course songs with lefty protest undertones, for example, criticizing Bush or the Iraq War (actually not uncommon in the Texas indie music scene), are generally praised by the likes of that hipster music blogger as courageous truth-telling. But if you put out a little number singing the praises of guns and religion while knocking Dear Leader, you’d better shut up, lest your dissent stir up “division” amongst the hoi polloi.

When you strip away the attempts at high-minded rhetoric, this line of attack translates to simply, “Agree with us or shut the hell up!” Not exactly in keeping with lefties’ self-image as rational, tolerant, open-minded folks immune from the constraints of authoritarian thought. In fact, I can’t think of a stupider or lazier line of critique than condemning a point of view simply on the grounds of it being opposed to one’s own.

And this whole “divisive/polarizing” line does appear to be the almost exclusive property of the Left. I’ve certainly heard folks on the right accuse folks on the left of many things, but being “polarizing” or “divisive” is not among them. If you hear someone bitching about “polarization” or “divisiveness,” it’s a sure bet that person’s of a left-leaning persuasion. When I attack a liberal’s or leftist’s ideas or arguments, it’s because I find them wrong-headed, destructive, morally repulsive, or simply stupid, but never just because I find them “divisive” or “polarizing” (which would simply be saying that they disagree with me or other conservatives, which should go without saying).

Does it ever occur to left-wingers that many of their own favorite views and agendas are in fact “divisive” and “polarizing” to those of us who don’t share their worldview? Does it ever occur to them that there are in fact other points of view besides their own? Besides the utter lazy stupidity of the “polarizing” line of attack, I believe its prevalence in liberal rhetoric is revealing of the mindset of much of the current left.

For all its precious talk of “tolerance” and “diversity,” the Left is consistently intolerant of any diversity of opinion from its own viewpoints. For the Left, its own is the only legitimate point of view, and opposing points of view must be relentlessly silenced or marginalized.  This can be seen in the ruthless suppression of politically-incorrect ideas in much of the left-dominated worlds of academic and media institutions. (The great Mark Steyn refers to these folks as “Conformicrats” and the “Comformocracy.”) Any dissent from the notion that man-made global warming is heading us towards environmental apocalypse–or that massive government taxing, spending, and regulation is needed to save us–is dismissed as “propaganda” or “anti-science” (even if it comes from solid research at ivy-league universities), and the powers that be will ensure that the results of such studies go unpublished. Likewise with any suggestion that anything could be behind the creation and evolution of the universe and life on earth beyond blind, mindless chance (despite some very compelling evidence to the contrary from serious scientific researchers).  It can also be seen in the eagerness of many liberals to seek out any excuse to get right-leaning talk show hosts yanked off the air.  Any arguments in favor of a return to standards of “traditional morality”are denounced off-hand as “bigotry and “hate.” And any opposition to any aspects of statist “liberalism” and the notion that yet more government spending is the solution to all our ills is brushed aside as being driven by “racism” or other ugly motives, or is simply beyond the pale of educated opinion. Or, if that doesn’t stick, you can always just denounce it as “divisive.”

In countless online debates on any number of subjects I’ve read or been involved in, it seems that while conservative actually engage in reasoned argumentation, the “arguments” of those on the left consist overwhelmingly of labeling (“stupid,” bigoted,” “homophobic,” “Islamophobic,” etc., etc.), name-calling, and personal insults and ad-hominem attacks (all the while praising their own superior intelligence and open-mindedness).  There are few people more narrowly conformist and doctrinaire than the “tolerant” “free-thinking” “liberal.”

Formal censorship is in fact unnecessary when you can create a general culture of opinion in which any deviation from the party line is instantly dismissed and disregarded as simply unthinkable. Somewhere in the depths of Hell, Uncle Joe Stalin and Chairman Mao are beaming proudly.

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