AZ “Anti-Gay” Bill Vetoed

As I expected, Arizona governor Jan Brewer has vetoed SB 1062. Though it has been described in the media as a bill that establishes a “right to deny service to gay and lesbian customers”, this is quite false. The aim of the bill was to provide the same protections currently afforded to religious institutions under state law to  “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church,” “estate, trust, foundation or other legal entity” and to allow religious defense to be used as a defense in lawsuits by the same entities.

In itself, the bill is harmless. It makes no reference to homosexuals, even though the outrageously unjust decision of Elane Photography v. Willock, which may be heard by the Supreme Court at some point in the reasonably near future, was the impetus behind it. In context, however, the bill was quite unnecessary and I believe will ultimately end up causing more harm than good.

In the first place, Elane v. Willock took place in New Mexico, wherein homosexuals are a “protected class” under NM state law. No such protections exist in AZ; ergo, no legislation along these lines was really needed at this time. The actual threat to religious liberty, at least from the vindictive sort of activism that has brought photographers and bakers to court, was non-existent. The summary and background written by proponents of the bill made Elane one of its core concerns without recognizing that NMs distinctive protections for homosexuals were responsible for the legal conflict in that state (as an aside, I do not believe Elane Photography refused service simply because Willock was gay).

Because the bill wasn’t really necessary and a tangible threat in the form of an actual lawsuit against a Christian business owner was not in play, it was easy to see it as an irrationally spiteful measure (as I would see the actions of Vanessa Willock against Elane Photography, by the way). Now it is one thing to have to put up with the left-wing media’s triumphalism when we have a moral duty to make a stand, as Elane Photography and other businesses have; it is another thing to have to witness the spectacle of melodrama from the homosexual political movement and its straight allies as Brewer announced her decision. The passage, veto, and failure of SB 1062 gave aid to our enemies who would trample our religious liberties into dust, and did harm to our own cause. I do not blame Brewer for this. I blame imprudence on the part our well-meaning friends in Arizona. As the governor herself put it:

Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated.

We must only fight battles that need fighting. Preemptive strikes didn’t work out too well for George W. Bush and they aren’t going to work out well for the social conservative movement. Right now this country is split – roughly half of it agrees with our basic proposition that the right to free exercise of religion and conscience outweighs a gay couple’s right to have any business they like participate in their gay weddings. If we push for unnecessary legislation against vague or non-existent threats and hand PR victories to the enemies of liberty, that balance could shift against us in short order.

The moral high ground never belongs to perceived aggressors. Only those who strike back in legitimate self-defense can strike with overwhelming force and the moral support of the people. If this lesson is not absorbed, then our cause will never prevail.

123 Responses to AZ “Anti-Gay” Bill Vetoed

  • Thanks Bonchamps

  • I respectfully disagree. It is the veto that sends the wrong message. I don’t think the people of Arizona acting through their legislature has to wait until the situation becomes critical to take proactive measures. This law would have sent a signal to state courts that protection of religious freedom was of paramount concern and that any infringement must be in the interest of a compelling state interest only. They can see in Arizona as we all can elsewhere that advocates of same-sex practices will stop at nothing to advance their agenda. State boundaries mean nothing to those pursuing legitimacy of the “gay” lifestyle at the expense of people of faith. There is no placating such a mindset and there are no lengths that activists will go to harass those who get in their way. The question is will they have the coercive power of the state to back them up. The veto of this bill suggests that in the future in Arizona, they will.

  • Chris,

    I get your objection. I think we are on the defensive, though. I could have told you from day one of the bill’s final draft that Jan Brewer was going to veto it, and for exactly the reasons she said. Her reaction was all but inevitable. I do not think that this means that the totalitarian fanatics will have their way in AZ. I believe Gov. Brewer is an ally – she is pro-life and pro-family. I think she had good reasons for the veto.

    Put the blame with the imprudence behind the bill. Somewhere between “there is no threat” and “its too late” is the sweet spot in which it is safe to take defensive measures. The AZ legislature acted too soon and with an ultimately flawed argument about the implications of New Mexico. Of course the fanatics don’t care about state laws, but they don’t have absolute power. They were able to win in NM – for now, at least – because of NM law. They could not win in AZ – for now, at least – because of AZ law. What AZ social conservatives should focus on is preventing NM-style “protections” from becoming law, if and when those are proposed.

    We have to play it twice as smart and three times as safe because most of the national news media is against us and is looking for ANY reason to paint us as vile bigots destined for the ash heap of history. We are on the defensive and that changes everything about how we play this game.

  • Leading up to her veto, do you believe any of the arguments that AZ was going to suffer financial blow-back if she would of allowed the bill to become law?

    Anyone?

    I found that argument absurd.

  • From the AP.
    The national Hispanic Bar Asso. canceled its convention plans in AZ for 2015.

    I just came across this on associated press. It wasn’t absurd afterall.

    It’s sad that businesses that refuse to serve this lifestyle are going to be dragged into court on discrimination complaints. Because this hasn’t happened yet in AZ was a large factor in her decision to veto? I’m slow. Just catching up. Coffee soon.

  • The gay gestapo, again, wins.

    Next, they’ll sue a parish for refusing to perform Nuptial Rites for a show, sodomy regularization.

    A paltry, few (older religious) black Civil Rights leaders expressed outrage at the false comparison of this fake issue to Solid Democrat south Jim Crow/segregation – it’s a Democrat Party thing.

    In America, Catholics no longer have any right.

  • “A paltry, few (older religious) black Civil Rights leaders expressed outrage at the false comparison of this fake issue to Solid Democrat south Jim Crow/segregation – See more at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2014/02/26/az-anti-gay-bill-vetoed/#comments

    And they are right to do so. There is no way that the discrimination of most ‘protected’ groups in America today can be compared to that of slaves and their descendants.

    But such is the heritage of the civil rights movement. That movement created two things that are not healthy in our body politic. The first is a template that can be followed by anyone who can claim some victimization from invidious discrimination, no matter how paltry (instead of the more reasonable view that the discrimination against blacks was unique and so the template should not have been reused). The second is an addiction to righteous emotions that requires the civil rights movement to never end.

  • (as an aside, I do not believe Elane Photography refused service simply because Willock was gay).” The repugnance of the gay militant agenda is enough to make gentle people avoid it. Its nasty demands covertly assume innocent homosexuals’ lives and smear the virtue of chastity as evil and against their so called license to unnatural marriage and freedom to sodomize each other…(then us).

  • TomD.
    “The first is the template that can be followed by anyone who can claim some victimization from insidious discrimination…”

    Except the unborn.

    What a world.

  • I have mixed feelings about the AZ bill. A few weeks ago I basically supported such an idea. Today I am not so sure. Please permit me to lay out my reasoning.

    It is obvious that homosexuals are using the power of the state to redefine marriage to their advantage (though it has been pointed out that the main advantage of gay marriage is gay divorce).

    It is obvious that other radicals are waiting in the wings to add further redefinitions of marriage (poly-whatever) that will make marriage almost meaningless.

    It is obvious that orthodox Christianity (Catholic, Eastern, and Protestant) considers marriage to be a ‘mystery’ or ‘sacrament’ that cannot be redefined in the manner that is now underway. Please note that I understand that some but not all Protestants are orthodox in their views on marriage.

    So what is happening today, from a Christian viewpoint, is that the secular state is usurping to itself the power to define a sacrament. Arguably the state did this centuries ago when it began to issue marriage licenses and to prohibit clergy from officiating at marriages without a license. This legal power to redefine marriage have lain dormant until now, and the changes in Western societal mores are now driving the state to use this power.

    If the state redefines marriage away from the Christian definition, and if the power of the state and of powerful non-state institutions such as the media are used to defend and propagandize the redefinition of marriage, then Christianity is to some degree being discriminated against, and persecuted. The state is telling Christians that their churches are wrong in a major question of faith and morals. Religious liberty is being undermined.

    The only way out of this insipid persecution is to either return to the original civil definition of marriage, or for the state to get out of the marriage business entirely. The state could stop issuing marriage licenses, and issue only civil union licenses. Marriage thus becomes a purely religious institution. The Church defines marriage for me, and if you don’t like it you can go start your own church and have your own definition of marriage. I’m staying put.

    Think about it. This is precisely what we do regarding the Eucharist. Different churches have different definitions about the Body of Christ. The analogy of the current situation would be that, say, the state has decided that the Lutheran definition is the correct one because it is more inclusive and non-discriminatory, and so the law will recognize it over the non-Lutheran definitions.

    Today Christians who own businesses that serve the public do not discriminate against Lutherans or non-Lutherans. Today’s Christians do not even discriminate against heterosexual adulterers in their businesses. Is homosexuality really that different? Yes, today homosexuals are in the forefront of the de-Christianization of our society, but others (such as divorcees and unmarried contraception users) were in the forefront before them. I personally think that this is the real reason why the AZ bill was supported.

    So, is the fight against gay marriage wrong for us to fight? No, it isn’t. But I would argue that the fight should not be against gay marriage per se, but rather against the state’s support of it. I think we need to say that our Church is important, and it’s teachings on family and sexuality are important, and that we therefore have to right to put our wagon train into a circle and demand the right to not change no matter how the anti-Christians deride us as “haters”. We must demand the right to not have the state cram the redefinition of marriage down our throats and to imply that it agrees with anti-Christians that we are “haters”. Since we have the right to resist all this, we have the right to oppose being forced to give business services to support this state redefinition of marriage.

    In the final analysis, we cannot mount such a fight if we cannot be this particular about our reasons. We cannot use the legal power of the state to keep our society ‘good’ (think of the lack of ‘good’ in an improperly consecrated Eucharist), but our opponents need to see that they can’t use the state in a similar manner. At least over our dead bodies. Your thoughts?

  • I don’t like giving in to bullies, but I don’t think the bill was a good idea– it placed requirements along the lines of “prove it” on folks refusing service.

  • Philip, you are exactly right. The unborn and the profoundly mentally challenged cannot “claim” victim status or anything else without aid from another person. The great god Autonomy recognizes them not.

  • The devil is a liar. When a person says: “I Will, til death do us part”, gives informed consent freely without impediment and then changes his mind, recants his informed consent, his “I WILL, ’til death do us part”, he becomes a liar, a minion of the devil. A liar, a minion of the devil, cannot be trusted in a court of law, not in a church or a court of law without repenting his sin, his crime, his untruth.
    .
    The truth is defended by the Catholic church and must be defended by the court of Justice. If an impediment exists, such as faulty consent, an annulment is given, saying that no marriage, no sacrament was brought to bear. Divorce says that a marriage, a sacrament exists, and that the Church or the state has the power to eradicate a sacrament or a contract made of a man’s free will.
    .
    This is plainly a lie and son of a devil, any and every devil whose name is legion.

  • Mary, you want courts of law to recognize the existence of the devil? Why bother, they already recognize the existence of lawyers. (Sorry Don. Sorry Dad)

  • :) funny….but to easy a target Dave.

  • I know the-devil-and-lawyers is a trope, Philip, but I couldn’t help myself.

  • It’s funny until we need one!

  • We all need to think like lawyers. Jesus did command us to be “as wise as serpents” after all, even as he called on us to also maintain our innocence.

  • “Mary, you want courts of law to recognize the existence of the devil? Why bother, they already recognize the existence of lawyers. (Sorry Don. Sorry Dad)”

    “In Hell there will be nothing but law, and due process will be meticulously observed.”

    Grant Gilmore

  • TomD

    Here in Scotland, until 1940, the state did not regulate marriage. Marriage required —no notice, no formality and no record of any kind. Mere consent of parties, deliberately given, was alone sufficient to constitute a marriage without a moment’s delay without any consent of parents or guardians or any notice to them; add to which that a mere promise of marriage, followed by consummation, or a living together as man and wife, without either formal consent or promise, amounted also to a marriage, being deemed by operation of law to involve presumptions of consent.

    As late as the 1980s, actions for declarator of marriage were a commonplace, often brought 40 or 50 years after the alleged event, usually when the man (it was mostly the man) had died. Widows and children, threatened with disinheritance often enough bought off claims that were little more than blackmail.

    The reasons brought forward for changing the law were obvious:

    1) As regards the rights and interests of the parties themselves, it is obvious that, in order to constitute marriage, the matrimonial consent should be given in a manner which secures previous deliberation, and that, whatever formalities the law may require in the mode of expressing consent, it should be so expressed that neither party can, at the time, entertain a doubt as to the validity of the engagement into which they solemnly enter.
    2) As regards consequences affecting others the matrimonial consent should be given in a manner and accompanied with evidence easily accessible; so that the rights and interests of others may not be exposed to the imminent hazard which arises from any uncertainty with regard to the effects of previous latent subsisting engagements, whether arising from the fraud of one of the contracting parties, or from causes of a less culpable nature, in consequence of uncertainty attending the legal effects of previous conduct.
    3) As regards the rights and interests of future generations, it is of the utmost importance that questions of legitimacy should be avoided, by rendering the proof of marriage so easily accessible, by means of public records, that the claims of future generations by inheritance in the course of lawful descent, may be traced in the most certain and effectual manner.

    I consider these reasons for state regulation unanswerable

  • Michael Paterson:

    I’m not so sure that your points are unanswerable. Point #3 in particular would be moot in a society that cares not a whit for future generations, and shows its intent by contracepting and aborting them out of existence. And all of your points to one degree or another have been only weakly supported by modern ‘government regulation’ – the decay of the traditional family being the chief proof. If this is what marriage is for then government has largely failed.

    But my main (halfhearted) point still stands: all of the positive things you argue for can be gained via civil unions. My argument is that we rename the civil institution of marriage to something else, and let government work toward its just goals through that something else. In the meantime we Christians get to have the marriage we want to have, and no one holding secular power can say we are wrong. Once government leaves the marriage arena the debate over the nature of marriage becomes a theological debate only.

  • TomD-
    when your solution involves the same goals as the Freedom From Religion foundation, perhaps you should re-examine them?

    Incidentally, please stop slandering an entire culture based on the loud idiots. Yes, too many people sin sexually. That is no reason to dynamite the support for those who aren’t, or are trying not to.

  • Foxfier: “when your solution involves the same goals as the Freedom From Religion foundation, perhaps you should re-examine them?”

    I assume this group is one of those, as I put it above, are “radicals [who] are waiting in the wings to add further redefinitions of marriage (poly-whatever) that will make marriage almost meaningless”? Yes, you put your finger on the weak spot in this argument, which is why I am “halfhearted” about it: break the connection with Christian marriage, and the state will come to support ANY combination of legal relationships and will try and call it ‘marriage’. But, they are already doing this. I am making an argument similar to a damage control party who counterfloods a sinking ship: break the connection, and we just might save marriage, though only for us Christians. Haven’t you noticed that the ship is already sinking?

    Slander is a rather strong word. Who did I slander and how? Slander requires untruthfulness. Where was I untruthful?

  • I assume this group is one of those, as I put it above, are “radicals [who] are waiting in the wings to add further redefinitions of marriage (poly-whatever) that will make marriage almost meaningless”?

    No.

    They try to remove all religion from the public sphere.

    Haven’t you noticed that the ship is already sinking?

    1) No, it is not. It’s damaged, but not sinking. Even the “50% of marriages end in divorce” statistic is false.

    Your solution is to look at the USS Cole, with a huge hole in the side, and decide the solution is to blow a hole in the other side, and then declare that those who say stop doing damage are fools who will kill us all because all is lost.

  • Foxfier wrote: “Your solution is to look at the USS Cole, with a huge hole in the side, and decide the solution is to blow a hole in the other side, and then declare that those who say stop doing damage are fools who will kill us all because all is lost.”

    A ship the size of the USS Cole lacks transverse bulkheads, so they do flood all the way to the other side when holed, but on larger naval ships that is almost precisely what damage control teams do, though they don’t actually blow a hole. I brought up the analogy because of your “when your solution involves the same goals as the Freedom From Religion foundation, perhaps you should re-examine them” comment. It occurred to me that years ago the Imperial Japanese Navy strove to flood U.S. Navy ships, and U.S. Navy damage control strove to flood them, and so the uninitiated would think that the IJN and USN goals were the same. They both flooded the same ships, right? Therefore, it does not logically follow that an idea of mine is suspect because a spiritual enemy of ours advocates it. My reason is not their reason, and I think I was clear on that.

    BTW, a fun digression: naval architects will tell you that the first priority in designing a ship is “that it does not sink”. A no-brainer, right? The second priority is “that if it sinks the people can get off it”. Paramount to this second priority it to avoid designs that could cause a ship to turn turtle. The U.S. Navy refused to allow transverse bulkheads in cruisers, and felt vindicated after a few Royal Navy cruisers turned turtle in WW2. Better to flood a ship all the way across than to lose a crew.

  • Oh, one more thing. The “ship” I hade in mind for sinking is not the Church, that is in fact growing around the world. It is our Western society that is sinking – remember that current German birth rates will lead to the extinction of Germans by 2500 AD, and the Western elites who think this is a good thing to emulate have their countries on the same path, only slower. I don’t think it need sink, damage control is still possible, and it ought to be saved. But it is slowly sinking.

  • They both flooded the same ships, right? Therefore, it does not logically follow that an idea of mine is suspect because a spiritual enemy of ours advocates it. My reason is not their reason, and I think I was clear on that.

    It does not matter what your reason was, when your result is the same.

    Major difference being, ie, when those who flood both sides are there is still a ship, while when you blow out the other side the wounded ship sinks.

  • Your original point was on “society”.

    Which, amazingly enough, I am a member of– and which has not even hit a 50% failure rate, let alone an “abandon all hope” type failure rate.

    I frankly do not give a fig what assumptions based on people doing the same blessed thing they’re doing right now for five hundred years would result in, because past evidence holds that PEOPLE DON’T KEEP DOING THE SAME THING FOR FIVE HUNDRED YEARS.

  • “In Hell there will be nothing but law, and due process will be meticulously observed.” Grant Gilmore .
    Jesus descended into hell. The laws of hell refused Him entrance. Jesus took the patriarchs and ascended into heaven.
    .
    “when your solution involves the same goals as the Freedom From Religion foundation, perhaps you should re-examine them?”
    .
    The Freedom From Religion Foundation can say nothing to me or to the courts or to the state.
    Atheists are tolerated. Atheism is unconstitutional. The First Amendment: “or prohibit the free exercise thereof” is freedom of religion to me in the public square.
    .
    God gives us this: genius
    .
    “The Civil Rights Acts that banned discrimination on the basis of race by private vendors were unusual legislative acts based on an unusual situation: state governments that mandated such discrimination by private businesses. It took government action to break down such government mandated discrimination. Absent such government mandated discrimination, I think most Americans, if they truly ponder it, would be all in favor of businesses discriminating in some cases. For example, I assume few people are against restaurants discriminating against nudists by mandating clothes. I imagine few Americans would feel comfortable telling a black owned barbecue restaurant that they must cater a Klan rally. A Jewish run deli really should not be required to provide take out for the group calling for divestiture from Israel. I am not going to represent the owner of an abortion clinic under any circumstances. In theory Americans might be against private discrimination in commerce, but when it comes down to actual cases, I suspect that almost all Americans are not non-discrimination absolutists. When businesses discriminate they of course run the risk of losing customers, but freedom of the consumer goes along with freedom for the vendor.”

    – See more at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2014/02/27/private-discrimination-is-as-american-as-apple-pie/#sthash.6tZ6zQzl.dpuf
    .
    Laws that the government makes and that are or that become unjust, the government must unmake. Otherwise, government used to engineer its citizens through corrupt laws is government without law.
    .
    Capitalism, like social Justice, is about giving to persons what they truly need as opposed to what they want.
    .
    Do gays need unnatural marriage? Or cakes for their counterfeit vows? Does the gay agenda need to arrogate the office of husband or wife and militate against virtue? Does gay addiction lead to happiness?

  • Foxfier, past evidence shows that people often DO do the same thing for five hundred years. And you know what? Even if they don’t the damage is often irreversible. Europe is dying, the birthrate implosion is real and will not change unless there is Divine intervention. America is not dying but there are those here who want us to be like Europe. If you are going to argue these facts are wrong then I’m simply going to give up on you.

  • Thanks Mary for reminding me that I have to read that “apple pie” article. I’ve been away for much of the day.

    When I took my business law courses the first thing I was told was that “law creates discrimination”, and the section you quote shows that very well. This fact is why civil right law is based on outlawing “invidious” discrimination – in effect civil rights law discriminates among different discriminations: a few are bad, but most are good.

  • Tom D.
    .
    Lying in a court of law is still called perjury. The child is evidence of the marital act between a man and a woman. It is no small reason why abortion is prevalent. The courts may uphold the marriage vow as a legal contract between two persons.

  • “3) As regards the rights and interests of future generations, it is of the utmost importance that questions of legitimacy should be avoided, by rendering the proof of marriage so easily accessible, by means of public records, that the claims of future generations by inheritance in the course of lawful descent, may be traced in the most certain and effectual manner.”
    .
    Somewhere I learned that any child born into a marriage, although he may be illegitimately begotten, is a child who is legally a member of that family.
    .
    “I consider these reasons for state regulation unanswerable”
    .
    If you mean, Michael Paterson-Seymour, that the state has nothing to say about the matter, except to uphold the law, you are correct.

  • TomD

    A great Scottish judge. Lord Meadowbank famously declared (Gordon v Pye (1814)) that private pacts “cannot impede or embarrass the steady uniform course of the jus publicum, which, with regard to the rights and obligations of individuals affected by the three great domestic relations, enacts them from motives of political expediency and public morality and nowise confers them as private benefits resulting from agreements concerning meum et tuum, which are capable of being modified and renounced at pleasure. Accordingly, the case of Campbell of Carrick in rejecting the competency of any personal objection to bar a pursuer of declarator of marriage establishes by the highest authority the incompetency and inefficiency of any obligations, not sanctioned by the common law, to operate on matrimonial rights.”

    Speaking of foreign marriages, he said, “Matrimonial rights and obligations, on the contrary, so far as juris gentium, admit of no modification by the will of parties and foreign courts are therefore nowise called upon to inquire after that will or after any municipal law to which it may correspond. They are bound to look to their own law and it is with all deference thought to be in a particular degree contrary to principle to make that law bend to the dictates of a foreign law in the administration of that department of internal jurisprudence, which operates directly on public morals and domestic manners… This category of law does not affect the contracting individuals only, but the public and that in various ways; and the consequences would prove not a little inconvenient, embarrassing and probably even inextricable, if the personal capacities of individuals, as of majors or minors, the competency to contract marriages and infringe matrimonial obligations, the rights of domestic authority and service and the like were to be qualified and regulated by foreign laws and customs, with which the mass of the population must be utterly unacquainted.”

    This applies with equal force to the notion that every sect might establish its own laws governing these matters.

  • Tom D.

    Apology owed. I mis-quoted you.
    Unintentional. Invidious! “insidious” was used. Excuse me.

    Mary DeVoe.

    “Freedom of the customer goes along with freedom of the vendor.”
    It makes sense.
    So the Gay mafia is feeling the power swing that’s been propelling their agenda, so they are riding the wave and complaining in a court of law whenever they feel insulted?
    This is honestly more of a offensive move on their part then defending themselves aginist discrimination.
    It’s part of the war on Christian values.

  • Have there been any cases of devout Catholic vendors being sued for refusing to cater/photograph/host, etc. the wedding or reception of a couple who had been divorced (without obtaining a decree of nullity) from their previous spouses, or who were otherwise marrying outside the Church? According to Catholic teaching, those unions are also not true marriages and Catholics must not endorse or cooperate in them. The usual pastoral counsel for individuals in these cases is either 1) decline to attend or participate in the wedding or reception and don’t send gifts because that would be cooperating in a sinful act, or 2) attend in order to keep family peace but make clear ahead of time that you believe their action to be morally wrong.

    That said, I’ve never personally heard of a Catholic photographer, caterer, etc. asserting or being told that he/she has a moral obligation to refuse service should he/she discover that the couple in question are Catholics marrying outside the Church. Nor have I ever been told that a Catholic court clerk has a moral obligation not to sign off on marriage licenses for couples remarrying after divorce or Catholic couples not marrying in the Church (provided, of course, that they KNOW the couple is in this situation — which is one significant difference, a same-sex couple is always obvious while a male-female couple attempting a marriage not sanctioned by the Church isn’t.)

    I bring this question up for two reasons: first, to discover whether there have indeed been any such cases that I just don’t know about, and second, to make the point that if Catholic vendors, etc., have not previously shown any moral qualms about serving opposite-sex wedding ceremonies that, according to their beliefs, were illicit, might that not be undermining their present argument that they have a grave moral obligation to refuse same-sex couples? And if that’s the case, does this mean that for consistency, maybe Catholic vendors need to also start being more selective about which “traditional” opposite-sex couples they serve? Or maybe just not do weddings at all except as a personal favor to people they know and trust? For example, if a baker normally just sold regular baked goods and didn’t advertise to the public that they had any means for doing wedding catering.

  • Elaine.
    You ask good questions.
    A baker having to be worried about being sued if they decide to protect their conscience. Weird times.
    Here’s one; From Vision to America this morning. The girl scouts named their NYC “Girl Experience Officer” as Krista Kokjohn-Poehler. An openly gay/lesbian who has a partner, and now holds this interesting title in the organization.

    Girl experience officer. Watch your cookies. As for our family…no thanks.

  • Elaine,

    None of the high-profile cases thus far have involved Catholics, to my knowledge. We are well represented when it comes to the HHS mandate but not when it comes to the individual business issue.

    It could be because more Catholics (self-identified, at any rate) defy Church teaching on both issues than evangelical Protestants do on the gay wedding issue.

  • Hi Elaine! You wrote “…second, to make the point that if Catholic vendors, etc., have not previously shown any moral qualms about serving opposite-sex wedding ceremonies that, according to their beliefs, were illicit, might that not be undermining their present argument that they have a grave moral obligation to refuse same-sex couples?”

    That is very much the point that I making in a more backhanded way, although I mostly cited the Eucharist as the affected sacrament. I think this is a very valid point. And why did it happen? Because people see the possibility of conflict between standing up for church teaching and charity. They did years ago, of course, but charity didn’t win out as often as it does today. Oh, and I am deliberately using today’s definition of charity, since the very valid concept of “false charity” have very little traction anymore.

    So, if Christian business owners serve illicit heterosexual ceremonies, can they logically still reject homosexual ceremonies? Up until now they have, and they have justified it on natural law arguments, which tell us that homosexuality IS different. Natural law has, not coincidentally, come under attack. The ABA, for example, has done its best to remove natural law as a philosophical underpinning of constitutional law, which is why courts so rarely cite the Declaration of Independence anymore. Many people today still basically follow in natural law for judgment on the morality (or lack thereof) of homosexual acts, but thanks to pro-homosexual propaganda have trouble using it in discriminating circumstances.

  • Foxfier, past evidence shows that people often DO do the same thing for five hundred years

    Where?

    Where is your past evidence that it is reasonable to expect Germany to be depopulated in 500 years due to the birth rate not changing at all in that time?

  • Philip: “Mary DeVoe. “Freedom of the customer goes along with freedom of the vendor.”
    This common sense comes from Donald McClarey.

  • Elaine

    It could be that Catholic moral theologians have often taken a generous view on when “remote material co-operation” is permitted, with a suitable “direction of intention.”

    The 17th century Casuists were very lenient. Thus, Étienne Bauny SJ says, “Let confessors observe that they cannot absolve servants who perform base errands, if they consent to the sins of their masters; but the reverse holds true, if they have done the thing merely from a regard to their temporal emolument.” He instances carrying letters and presents to the ladies their master wishes to seduce.

    Similar considerations apply to tradesmen. So, according to Vincenzo Filliucci SJ, a locksmith may sell picklocks and skeleton keys to a thief, for use in his general business as a housebreaker; he is not complicit in the sins the thief subsequently resolves to commit with them. It is otherwise, if the locksmith copies the keys of a particular house that he knows the thief is planning to break into. In that case, he is art and part of the particular theft.

    I am sure the theologians could have relieved the scruples of florists and bakers.

  • Mary DeVoe
    and
    Donald McClarey.

    Thanks. I didn’t realize it was Donald’s comment.

  • Foxlier, many people, including Germans, allowed their societies to be anti-Semitic in one form or another for more than 500 years. Islam as practiced by many has been a destructive societal force for far more than 500 years. I could name others. So I can conclude that it is possible for the modern Western pseudo-utopia to provide for the next 500 years the contraception and abortion and television and vacations that will basically eliminate their populations.

    BTW, you have a bad habit of misrepresenting my statements. I did not maintain that Germany will be depopulated, and even by inference depopulation is not the most reasonable conclusion. Germans will not disappear by dwindling to four, then two, then one. They will disappear because they will intermarry with their more numerous replacements.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: I agree with Lord Meadowbank on civil marriage. I don’t think his view is really counter to mine, which is that an ahistorical Lord Meadowbank cannot use Scottish law to tell the Church what the nature of Christian marriage is, and that the Church has every right to resist the ahistorical Lord Meadowbank’s attempts to better it in moral and sacramental theology.

    I really liked your post on the Casuists. There is so much to history.

  • You said:
    It is our Western society that is sinking – remember that current German birth rates will lead to the extinction of Germans by 2500 AD, and the Western elites who think this is a good thing to emulate have their countries on the same path, only slower.

    This is not on par with “being anti-Sematic, in one form or another” nor is it on par with “being Islamic.”

    You also then accuse me of misrepresenting you because:
    I did not maintain that Germany will be depopulated, and even by inference depopulation is not the most reasonable conclusion.

    So you believe the Germans will be extinct based on extrapolating current birth rates if they go on for 500 years, but the only evidence you can offer are ideas?
    I suppose I should be glad you didn’t decide to defend it by saying “people have been eating for a long time!”

    You have not defended your claim, and your false accusation that I am misconstruing you is just silly.

  • Don, what do you think is up with this Foxfier? A troll, a paid troll, or what? I normally reply to posts like these because I assume that a teen might be reading it, but this baiting has gotten out of hand.

  • Foxfier is a co-blogger TomD and a master at combox to an fro. This blog is as much hers as it is mine.

  • OK, I agree, I clicked on the avatar and found the Head Noises site, so its legit. But I’m sorry, I’ve counted two serious misrepresentations, so I see nothing masterful about this. Hyperbolic misquoting does not engender respect from the quoted.

  • False accusations do even less.

  • If you apply your standard of truth to yourself you could not prove anything by anyone to be false.

  • You made a silly claim that assumed that birth rates would stay the same for 500 years because I objected to your slander about us being “a society that cares not a whit for future generations, and shows its intent by contracepting and aborting them out of existence.”

    Never mind actually offering some sort of support for this defeatism– basic logic would indicate that the portion of society that is preventing and killing their progeny isn’t going to be taking over the culture. Familiarity with how younger folks tend to be more pro-life than the older ones is one point of support.

    Nope, the reasonable reaction is to remove religion from the public sphere. To save the ship, or something.

  • If you apply your standard of truth to yourself you could not prove anything by anyone to be false.

    That is false.

    The only “standard of truth” I’ve been promoting is going beyond assertion and hand-waving; you made a specific claim, and when asked to support the assumption that a half century would not change birth rates, pointed to things not even vaguely similar.

  • The birth rate claim is not silly. Mark Steyn and Theodore Dalrymple (who you approvingly quote on your Head Noises site) have made it. Their writings convinced me that it is a reasonable position to take.

    Who is the “us” that I am slandering? I still don’t know. Is the U.S.? Europe? The West?. Again, I am just quoting Steyn and Dalrymple about Western trends, so after you let me know who the “us” is please tell me, are they slandering “us” too?

  • You keep making claims of “misrepresentation,” but the one time you tried to support it the problem is… well, not clear– you say “current German birth rates will lead to the extinction of Germans by 2500 AD,” I say that extrapolating birth rates without change is silly, and you object that of course the reasonable way to read that is not that you’re assuming birth rates will stay steady, but that they will dwindle and intermarry.

    Which has nothing to do with what I said.
    Showing how a population at one point did keep the same birth rate for 500 years would be relevant, even if it was something like consistently having replacement +1 for women, without averaging more than a decade into the stats. That would be really good evidence. “People follow a religion and hate outsiders,” not evidence.

  • If you can’t figure out that we’re all part of society, you’re either foolish or being willfully obtuse– AKA, trolling.

    The birth rate claim is not silly. Mark Steyn and Theodore Dalrymple (who you approvingly quote on your Head Noises site) have made it.

    Steyn’s observations do not assume that nothing will change. That is a major difference between him and yourself.

    Dr. D doesn’t assume that all is lost so we should abandon ship. That’s another major difference.

    They do both recognize that the culture is in trouble, and that there is a major drop in birthrates– but they’re calling attention to it to change it, not to throw their hands up and surrender.

  • Foxfier & Dave.
    It’s The American Catholic, not The American Protagonist.

    You both have acquired so much and share in your wealth of experience knowledge and virtue. Please share more virtue between yourselves.

    From the freshmen class.

  • I think you mean Donald?

    Not clear what you’re talking about either way, Philip.

  • Philip, Foxfier seems to have developed a personal animus towards me. Also, note the answer to me about Mark Steyn: “Steyn’s observations do not assume that nothing will change”. This is a half truth. What Steyn has written is that these trends, if unchanged, will lead to one outcome that Foxfier disputes, and if changed will lead still lead to a slightly different outcome because it will come too late, but Foxfier disputes this too (actually, Foxfier acts as if they are one outcome, because this makes it easier to argue with me). At least I can find the Steyn quotes if Foxfier demands it. I do recall one: “These countries are going out of business”, which sounds a lot like my “slanders”.

    Right before I wrote this note I picked up my youngest from school and dropped into the office to pick up what I need for work tomorrow. I was thinking “I hope Foxfier just says that ‘Steyn and Dalrymple are silly too, and here’s why…'” because then I would know that it’s not personal. Alas…

  • Europe is dying, the birthrate implosion is real and will not change unless there is Divine intervention.

    No. There has been a recovery in fertility rates in much of Europe, excluding the Germanophone states, the Balkans, Italy and Spain. British and French fertility rates are at replacement levels and Russia’s are improving. The World Bank puts the mean fertility rate for “Europe & Central Asia” at 1.95 children per woman per lifetime. If you bracket out the Muslim states therein, that’s north of 1.8 for the remainder. The nadir for total fertility rates was in 2002 at 1.85, so a recovery to replacement levels for quondam Christian Europe is conceivable within a generation.

    Mark Steyn is a talented commentator but he makes errors with the math.

  • Oops, I’ve found that I’ve made a mistake, can’t remember everything these days. AD 2500 is not the year that Germans will disappear if their birthrates are unchanged, it is the approximate year of humanity’s disappearance if the entire globe were to adopt current German birthrates starting today. This implies that the Germans probably won’t even make it to 2500. Sorry.

  • Art, do those World Bank statistics for Europe include their Muslim populations? I think they do, and based on the observations of Steyn and Dalrymple and others I’d conclude that the “recovery” is simply due to more Muslims.

  • Per the Pew Research Center, non-indigenous Muslims make up less than 6% of Europe’s population and France has a proportion only slightly larger than that. The main source countries (Turkey and the francophone Maghreb) do not have exceptional fertility rates (around replacement rates for Turkey, Algeria, and Tunisia, somewhat higher for Morocco).

  • Algeria’s fertility rates have improved in recent years, so Algeria and Morocco are both around 2.8. Steven Mosher was speculating a while back that European Muslims had fertility rates around 4.0, but you only see rates like that in Tropical Africa these days and a two or three equally impoverished countries elsewhere.

  • What is the definition of “non-indigenous Muslims”? Since the Islamic immigration to Europe began in the 1950’s, it is possible that there are now two to three generations in Muslim families that are native born, and some intermarriage with the “indigenous” population has occurred. I must confess that I have had some suspicion of European statistics since I found that most European countries count children who die 2-3 days after birth as stillbirths.

  • Oy….

    You accuse me of this, that and the other thing, refuse to support what you claim, grudgingly admit that a contributor might, possibly be legit…and I’m the one with animus against YOU?

    You’re not that important.

    You’re annoying in that you smear the entire of society with the sad, sick and lied to that are poisoning themselves and killing their kids, but no, insistance on something of substance to back up your claims is not about you.

  • Art, is that Stephen W. Mosher? If so please know that I hadn’t heard of him and just looked him up. Very interesting, I’m going to read more on him and by him. Thank you!

  • Thank you for confirming the animus

  • “grudgingly admit that a contributor might, possibly be legit” Sorry Foxfier, but it’s your hostility that sowed the doubt in my mind. I’m glad to have put it aside.

  • Just made it back.

    TomD and Foxfier.

    Please pardon my intrusion.
    I was loosing sight of your debate because of the dust being stirred up.
    That was my mention of virtue in a (drama sequence) that unfolded between two good people. I’m sorry to bud in Foxfier. I respect your positions ( prove it comment you made relating to the AZ bill that was killed) Good point!
    I respect the opinions of TomD. I was enjoying your debate but soured on the insults that transpired.
    So. Instead of moving on I was beating around the bush that We are Catholics.
    We forgive. We encourage each other just as your many posts and topics have done in the past on this site.
    Peace to both of you.

  • Philip- I thought that was what you were going for.

    Thing is, you can’t forgive someone who not only doesn’t repent, they find the very mention that they’ve done something wrong to be justification for doubling down, then escalating to every wilder accusations.

  • Foxfier.

    Thing is I Can forgive someone whom I believe wronged me, and based upon past actions, very well may wrong me again.

    Unforgiven is a good Western movie starring Gene Hackman. Unforgiven in real life is more violent than the movie.

  • Returning to an earlier topic… thanks to all who responded to my question. I guess what I really want to know is, in Catholic teaching, where do you draw the line between “just doing your job” with no endorsement of the customer’s/client’s action expressed or implied, and engaging in morally unacceptable cooperation with an evil action? Obviously we cannot just blindly “follow orders” like Nazis marching Jews into the death camps, but neither can we rigidly avoid ALL cooperation or potential cooperation with actual or potential sin without becoming hermits who live off the grid. It’s not always easy to find the middle ground here.

  • Elaine: I hope this helps.
    .
    Justice, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Justice is predicated on intent.
    Capitalism itself is giving to people what they need, not what they want.(The generosity of the vineyard owner giving a day’s wages to those who worked only a few hours to save their very lives is charity. The vineyard owner’s act is also Justice to an equal person.)
    .
    Fulfilling people’s wants through the burden of the law is nonsense.
    .
    Christ overturned the money changers tables because there was no charity in the moneychangers’ transactions. In America we are bankrupt because there is no charity in over the counter business. There must be charity. When God is exiled from His creation there is no charity or Justice.
    .
    In the matter of bakers and photographers, the militant gay agenda is not seeking cakes or photos. The militant agenda of the gays is inciting to riot (violating peaceable assembly for the shop owners who have a civil right to peaceable assembly) until they have achieved their goals which is to inflict sodomy on our nation and our future generations and it is within our power to prevent this vice.

  • Somehow, this keeps coming up…. to forgive or not. Folks tend to skip over the asking for forgiveness part, even indirectly. I’ve got a theory that it’s because the “rebuke” part is so hard. In our culture, even the implication than an individual did wrong (as opposed to an amorphous group) is treated as a wrong in itself. Judgmental, in the language of the 60s.

    Part of the problem with a discussion about forgiveness is the assumption that if you haven’t forgiven, you’re actively holding the wrong to your chest and polishing it. That’s what works best for dramatic purposes, after all, and a baked in cultural assumption that someone who has done wrong wants forgiveness. (and not permission) Another is the point #2 at Catholic Answers.

  • Elaine

    Bl John Henry Newman recounts the story of Cardinal della Somaglia and M. Emery, Supérieur of St. Sulpice and a noted moral theologian. The Cardinal told M Emery that, after the most painstaking research, he was convinced that he could not, in conscience, assist at the Emperor’s second marriage to the Archduchess of Austria. M, Emery told him that he should, for no consideration, act against his conscience.

    When word got around amongst the other twenty-six Cardinals, then in Paris, Cardinal Fesch (who by the by was the Emperor’s uncle) wrote to M. Emery, asking why he had expressed the contrary opinion to him and had told him that he thought the Cardinals might attend, in good conscience.

    M. Emery replied that he was indeed of the opinion that the Cardinals might attend; he had given the advice he had to Cardinal della Somaglia, because one may never go against conscience, even an erroneous one – « qu’on ne pouvait, qu’on ne devait jamais, agir contre sa conscience, même erronée. » M. Emery added that, whilst inconveniences can never be a reason for acting against conscience, they can be a very good reason for considering carefully, whether one’s conscience may not be in error.

    In the event Cardinal della Somaglia kept to his view, contrary to M. Emery, and did not attend the marriage ceremony. And who shall say which of them was right? Often, in the application of agreed principles to particular facts, we have no other guide than our own conscience.

  • Judging from history I would say that the consciences of most people are infinitely flexible when it comes to doing what they have decided to do. Rather than a conscience being a guide, for many people it is merely a rubber stamp.

  • Foxfier.
    Catholic Answers link was very helpful. My thanks to you and apology for “my” misunderstanding. Peace.

  • *bow*

    I like semantics. It fits how my brain works.

    As I understand it, you’re right in YOUR meaning, and I’m right in MY meaning, but we’re using different meanings– you are very right that we can’t go “oh, he wronged me, I will polish that wrong and hate his guts.” That’s how forgive gets used commonly, and looking around it’s a very common problem, especially if someone has been seriously wronged.

    Part of what is so awesome about the Church is how things ARE explained, if you can find it; part of what’s great about the ‘net is that you can find the stuff, if you know who to ask.

    Kind of freaky, turned on Sacred Heart radio– not an all that common occurrence– and got their lady’s program, where they were talking about the exact same topic, with the same emphasis repentance and then you forgive.

    Enough to make ya think…..

  • Foxfier wrote: “Thing is, you can’t forgive someone who not only doesn’t repent, they find the very mention that they’ve done something wrong to be justification for doubling down, then escalating to every wilder accusations.” This is exactly how I feel about Foxfier’s writings about me, especially after I produced a Mark Steyn quote “These countries are going out of business” that was very close to what I wrote. As far as the AD 2500 statistic, yes, I had a senior moment, misremembered the exact meaning of the statistic, and I owed up to the confusion it may have caused, even though the basic truth was not affected. Senior moments are not sins and don’t require repentance. They just don’t.

    Here are how the two other exchanges that I found questionable appear to me:

    Exchange #1:
    Me: I’m arguing in favor of something like counterflooding in damage control.
    Fox: You don’t blow a hole in the side of a ship to save it
    Me: I never wrote anything about blowing a hole (thinking to myself ‘damage control parties don’t usually blow holes, the open seacock valves’)
    Fox: Yes you did

    Exchange #2
    Me: Germans will go extinct by 2500
    Fox: You cannot say that Germany will be depopulated
    Me: I never wrote that Germany will be depopulated (thinking to myself ‘the Germans will intermarry and merge with their replacements, Germany as a place will stay populated’, I even typed this out)
    Fox: Yes you did.

    I was misunderstood in these two exchanges and I tried to correct the misunderstanding, even to being very explicit in the second exchange. The corrections were not accepted. Go back and read them, I am not making this up. What choice do I have but to consider them to be misrepresentations if they persist? BTW, the differences in these exchanges are really small and unimportant, it is the hostility apparent in Foxfier’s replies that really bothered me. Foxfier came after me and after me over and over in a very hostile manner. It was almost cyberbullying as far as I am concerned. The only other time I ever faced this on a Catholic site was a time Mark Shea misrepresented my writing at NCReg, and this was worse. I am not happy.

    Frankly, the uncharitable language that I used is something I do regret and I am morally sorry. I really didn’t want to use it. I’ve been here on and off for only a few months and I never met Foxfier, so I suspected trolling. Don set me straight on that, but he also green-lighted Foxfier’s posts that I found objectionable. You will note that I only got personal and uncharitable after Don’s post. That is NOT how I like to do things, and I apologize to Philip and to others who were bothered by it.

    The funny thing about all this is that right at the beginning I conceded that Foxfier was right about the most important point: the moral corruption of government that is being caused by the redefinition of marriage for homosexuals and eventually others. I threw a proposal on the table that I felt had some merit but also had real moral problems. Foxfier picked it right apart, very good, I’m happy, we even agreed on the fundamentals even if in a few details we did not agree. But the “slander” term was used in the same breath, as far as I’m concerned I slandered no one, this was a personal attack, and it went downhill from there. I still for the life of me cannot understand how I can be slandering the people of Western civilization by pointing out the truth about their use of contraception and abortion. Forty million abortions in the USA alone is proof that our society doesn’t really care about its future in any realistic way. Is that untrue? If so why? I really want to know.

  • Oh, and as J. Jonah Jameson put it “Don’t you tell me that it’s slander, it’s not slander, it’s libel”

  • slan·der [slan-der] Show IPA
    noun
    1.
    defamation; calumny: rumors full of slander.
    2.
    a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report: a slander against his good name.
    3.
    Law. defamation by oral utterance rather than by writing, pictures, etc.

    Somehow, it makes perfect sense that JJ was a lawyer before he was a newspaper guy.
    ***
    But the “slander” term was used in the same breath, as far as I’m concerned I slandered no one, this was a personal attack, and it went downhill from there.

    You made a false claim about the entirety of society; the entire cast of the contributor’s page here– if you want to be suspicious, just the priest and the folks with at least three kids– are obviously not “contracepting or aborting” the next generation out of existence.
    A lot of the non-Catholics I know aren’t using contraception, but can’t manage to have kids because they were told only crazy religious people get married before they’re done with college, have a career established, are 25, whatever.

    Use the fertility rate because that helps correct for the changes from people living longer.
    Assume, just to have a number that is obviously high, that a 3.5 fertility rate is a natural average.
    We’re now at about a 2.0 fertility rate.
    That is a 1.5 drop; if you assume that a quarter to a half of the population hasn’t changed, and the rest is killing off/preventing their kids at value zero, one or two, then stir in people (especially women) being told that they are insane if they wish to be married before they graduate college and that motherhood is a waste.
    That, of course, doesn’t touch on the couples that I know who have been trying for years to have even ONE child, but can’t, and the only medical help they are offered is IVF or “hire a womb.”
    The problem with calculating out of wedlock births is that being married removes you from the pool for a lot of benefits, and that illegal immigrants (at least per the nurses in Spokane, when I gave birth to Princess) frequently gave birth under a false name and claimed to be unmarried, even when wearing a ring that matched the guy who stayed in the room with the new mother.
    ***
    For the rest-
    you are so set that I misrepresented you that you misrepresent me. That suggests the only path to peace is to throw our hands in the air and say “not speaking the same language.”

  • (sorry for ANOTHER lawyer joke, Donald)

  • TomD.

    No worries Tom. I seriously was enjoying your overview and opinions on (so-called same sex marriage and the role of the State in these matters in relationship to redefining Marriage.)

    I also appreciate Foxfier’s knowledge and opinions on current events issues and challenges. Actually MPS,Elaine,Mary,Don,(kiwi too) and you get the idea, they all bring so much to the table, and I’m grateful.

    “slandering an entire culture based on loud idots…” That’s her choice of words.
    Okay. God bless freedom to express yourself. For some, it seemed a tad harsh. She wasn’t speaking to me, however I did feel the tone that “kicked up some dust” in my opinion.
    The best part is this.
    We take the good and leave the rest.
    Foxfier helped me understand an important distinction relating to forgiveness today. I’m in her debt.
    You have ideas that I get to ponder on in this whacked out liberal laden landscape of 2014. I visit this site for many reasons, mostly for my continued supplement of faith.
    Take good care..all of you.
    ……and Paul P…all of you are great gifts.

  • “slandering an entire culture based on loud idots…” That’s her choice of words.
    Okay. God bless freedom to express yourself. For some, it seemed a tad harsh. She wasn’t speaking to me, however I did feel the tone that “kicked up some dust” in my opinion.

    How would you characterize the “abortion is a sacrament” type folks? Or their cousins, down to “oh, but birth control is a basic human right!”?

  • In response to your questions I would say they are in great need of prayers.
    They do not share my views, nor do they share the Catholic Churches view point.

  • I’d be more willing to be generous if I wasn’t a victim of the “just pray for them” notion.

    There’s a reason a huge number of folks– weekly church goers, put the kids through CCD, youth group and weekly catechism classes– don’t know that IVF and contraception are against Church teaching, much less WHY that would be so.

  • “Foxfier helped me understand an important distinction relating to forgiveness today. I’m in her debt.”
    Philip, you threw in the towel too soon. Foxfier is wrong, and you would have been better served turning to the Catechism and to the Bible. (Both commenters at Catholic Answers disagreed with Staple’s analysis, by the way.) Thus:
    ~~~~
    V. “AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES, AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US”
    2838 This petition is astonishing. If it consisted only of the first phrase, “And forgive us our trespasses,” it might have been included, implicitly, in the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, since Christ’s sacrifice is “that sins may be forgiven.” But, according to the second phrase, our petition will not be heard unless we have first met a strict requirement. …
    “AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES…”
    2840 Now – and this is daunting – this outpouring of mercy cannot penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed against us. Love, like the Body of Christ, is indivisible; we cannot love the God we cannot see if we do not love the brother or sister we do see. In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, our hearts are closed and their hardness makes them impervious to the Father’s merciful love; but in confessing our sins, our hearts are opened to his grace.
    “. .. AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US”
    2844 Christian prayer extends to the forgiveness of enemies, transfiguring the disciple by configuring him to his Master. Forgiveness is a high-point of Christian prayer; only hearts attuned to God’s compassion can receive the gift of prayer. Forgiveness also bears witness that, in our world, love is stronger than sin.
    ~~~
    Compare that selection (especially at 2840) with what Foxfier wrote: “Part of the problem with a discussion about forgiveness is the assumption that if you haven’t forgiven, you’re actively holding the wrong to your chest and polishing it.”
    .
    Can we forgive an enemy who may yet sin against us again? Ask yourself, can we receive forgiveness even if we are uncertain of our own heart? Let’s argue about it, let’s go to the Catechism:
    ~~~
    2091 The first commandment is also concerned with sins against hope, namely, despair and presumption:
    By despair, man ceases to hope for his personal salvation from God, for help in attaining it or for the forgiveness of his sins. Despair is contrary to God’s goodness, to his justice – for the Lord is faithful to his promises – and to his mercy.
    ~~~
    It is precisely because you can be forgiven for what you did in the past in spite of what temptations may lead you astray in the future, you must forgive those who did you wrong in the past in spite of what you think they may do in their future.

  • Spambot-
    Please bother to address the points made in the Catholic Answers post, rather than going free-form on the Lord’s Prayer.
    1. We are not called to go beyond what God himself does when it comes to forgiveness. Many Christians believe with Robert that they are obliged to forgive even those who are not in the least bit sorry for their offenses against them. And on the surface this sounds really . . . Christian. But is it true? God himself doesn’t do it. He only forgives those who repent of their sins. II Cor. 7:10 says, “[G]odly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation.” I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he . . . will forgive our sins.”

    Our Lord obviously has not and will not forgive the souls in hell right now for the simple reason that they did not ask for forgiveness. This seems as clear as clear can be. The question is, are we required to do more than God does when it comes to forgiveness?

    Jesus seems to answer this question for us in Luke 17:3-4:

    [I]f your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him; and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.

    According to this text, and as we would suspect, Jesus requires his followers to forgive only those who are sorry for their offenses, just as God does. And this only make sense. Colossians 3:13 says we are to called to forgive each other “as the Lord has forgiven [us].”

  • We are told that anything will be forgiven if we just ask; that does not mean that we must forgive those who do not ask.

  • The sin against hope is to believe that we have done something that cannot be forgiven– not that we don’t assume we’re forgiven for every wrong we do.

  • I don’t care how Merriam-Webster or any other popular dictionary defines slander. My undergrad law books define slander as spoken defamation, and libel as written defamation. Defamation is the generic term for both. So if I or anyone here perpetrated defamation, then we perpetrated libel, because we wrote it and did not say it.

    But I really wasn’t trying to be picky, I was quoting a funny line from the Spiderman 2 movie. Apparently I can’t even be funny around here.

  • OK, Foxfier, I’m starting to get a bit of your position.

    It seems to me that you are in effect rearguing the famous conversation between Abraham and God. “Would you spare the city [of Sodom] if there were 45 righteous in it?” “Yes, I will spare it” Etc. You an I both know that there are millions of decent righteous people in our country, and many in other Western lands. Far more than 45. And there are millions more who are weak but admire the righteous. I get it.

    If I had intended to slander these people that means I would have intended to slander the people I love most, family and friends alike. Do you really think I wanted to do that?

    No. I was not criticizing our society in its entirety, unto the last individual. Not my intention. I was criticizing what it is on balance, and I believe that on balance we are the minority now. I really do believe that, with God’s help, we can turn it around. What I also believe is that the die is cast and that without God’s help we will not turn it around. Will God help us? I don’t know, and I’m not going to presume anything one way or the other. I dare not presume.

    That is what I really believe. I hope that its good enough for you.

  • My opinion on forgiving: in general, I think Christians should forgive people who are unrepentant. The one exception is when the very act of forgiveness is seen by the unrepentant as validation that they were right in the first place. I’ve seen that dynamic firsthand, and it turns a commandment to Christians into the enabling of sin. I think in that situation it can be better to withhold forgiveness with an explanation as to why. Perhaps that is why we are told to forgive “seventy times seven” times: it may take nearly that number to prove that an enabling dynamic is underway.

  • Thanks Spambot3049 for your thoughts.
    Many helpful brothers and sisters in Christ frequent this site. Blessings to you. Good night. :)

  • I don’t care how Merriam-Webster or any other popular dictionary defines slander. My undergrad law books define slander as spoken defamation, and libel as written defamation.

    It may be a shock, but common use isn’t legal definition; the legal definition is the third down on meaning of the word, so acting like that’s the only meaning is foolish.

    You’re welcome to your views, but that doesn’t make them any more factual than when you were using assertion as the sole basis of claims.
    ******
    t seems to me that you are in effect rearguing the famous conversation between Abraham and God. “Would you spare the city [of Sodom] if there were 45 righteous in it?” “Yes, I will spare it”
    One must wonder exactly how few folks you think were in Sodom for that to be the parallel that comes to mind for a half to a third of the population.

  • Foxfier wrote, “God himself doesn’t do it. He only forgives those who repent of their sins.”

    That is true, but God Himself produces that repentance in the first place. As St Augustine, the Doctor of Grace, says, “the effectiveness of God’s mercy cannot be in the power of man to frustrate, if he will have none of it. If God wills to have mercy on men, he can call them in a way that is suited to them, so that they will be moved to understand and to follow.” He also says, “Who would dare to affirm that God has no method of calling whereby even Esau might have applied his mind and yoked his will to the faith in which Jacob was justified? But if the obstinacy of the will can be such that the mind’s aversion from all modes of calling becomes hardened, the question is whether that very hardening does not come from some divine penalty, as if God abandons a man by not calling him in the way in which he might be moved to faith. Who would dare to affirm that the Omnipotent lacked a method of persuading even Esau to believe?” (Ad Simplicianum 13-14) That is why scripture says, “I will have mercy on whom I will, and I will be merciful to whom it shall please Me” (Exod. 33:19).

    The Council of Toucy (PL, CXXVI, 123) explains the text, “Whatsoever the Lord hath pleased he hath done, in heaven, in earth, in the sea, and in all the deeps.” (Ps 134:6) in this way: “For nothing is done in heaven or on earth, except what God either graciously does Himself or permits to be done, in His justice.” That is to say, no good, here and now, in this man rather than in another, comes about unless God Himself graciously wills and accomplishes it, and no evil, here and now, in this man rather than another, comes about unless God Himself justly permits it to be done.

    In other words, God first (in the order of causality, not of time) wills to forgive a person’s sins and then He efficaciously wills that that person shall repent of them. That is why St Paul teaches, “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” (Rom 9:16)

  • N o L o v e

    N o C h r i s t

    But if you truly know Christ you will know love. Is it ego that fuels the will to refuse extending an arm of goodwill?
    As it pertains to this thread.

  • How is it goodwill to “forgive” someone who is not repentant? Are you claiming we should be more loving than God? Have more good will than Christ?

    God wants people to repent and be forgiven. Himself doesn’t try to skip the other person being a willing party– we have to choose to accept it.

    There is a major difference between being willing to forgive– offering forgiveness– and trying to force it on someone.

  • I’m a day late and a dollar short but I thought I’d post these lines from “A Man for all Seasons” which seem apropos in light of Gov. Brewers actions:
    Sir Thomas More: [More has been condemned to death, and now for the first time breaks his years-long adamant silence on Henry VIII's divorce of Queen Catherine to marry Ann Boleyn] Since the Court has determined to condemn me, God knoweth how, I will now discharge my mind concerning the indictment and the King’s title. The indictment is grounded in an act of Parliament which is directly repugnant to the law of God, and his Holy Church, the Supreme Government of which no temporal person may by any law presume to take upon him. This was granted by the mouth of our Savior, Christ himself, to Saint Peter and the Bishops of Rome whilst He lived and was personally present here on earth. It is, therefore, insufficient in law to charge any Christian to obey it. And more to this, the immunity of the Church is promised both in Magna Carta and in the king’s own coronation oath
    [Cromwell calls More 'malicious']
    Sir Thomas More: … Not so. I am the king’s true subject, and I pray for him and all the realm. I do none harm. I say none harm. I think none harm. And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, then in good faith, I long not to live. Nevertheless, it is not for the Supremacy that you have sought my blood, but because I would not bend to the marriage!
    Sir Thomas More: When a man takes an oath, he’s holding his own self in his own hands like water, and if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t hope to find himself again.
    The Duke of Norfolk: Oh confound all this. I’m not a scholar, I don’t know whether the marriage was lawful or not but dammit, Thomas, look at these names! Why can’t you do as I did and come with us, for fellowship!
    Sir Thomas More: And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?

  • Goodwill is lacking from you sister, and atleast TomD made an effort. You decided to belittle it.

    See you in the confessional line Foxier.

  • “God wants people to repent and be forgiven. Himself doesn’t try to skip the other person being a willing party– we have to choose to accept it.”

    Why would He, seeing that He produces that will in them – Proverbs 8:35 For my issues are the issues of life, and in them volition is prepared from the Lord.

  • Foxfier,
    “How is it goodwill to “forgive” someone who is not repentant?”
    Suppose a commentor at a blog offended you and she was blocked from further comments. How would you know that she later repented? Suppose your favorite park were vandalized and you were hurt by the offense. Even the vandal does not know precisely who his victims are and could never reach out to you to ask your forgiveness. Would you carry around an unforgiving heart for the rest of your life?
    People who forgive me before I am repentant, perhaps even before I am able to acknowledge to myself that I did wrong, free themselves of the burden of unforgiveness and in doing so, offer a prayer on my behalf.
    .
    “Please bother to address the points made in the Catholic Answers post, rather than going free-form on the Lord’s Prayer.”
    The two commentors there at Catholic Answers could do a better job than I, but I will give it a try. (The “free-form on the Lord’s Prayer” was quoted from the Catholic Catechism. The specific section numbers are provided in my comment for reference.)
    “Our Lord obviously has not and will not forgive the souls in hell right now for the simple reason that they did not ask for forgiveness. This seems as clear as clear can be.”
    Whether or not a person who harmed me is going to Hell is something I cannot know. The harm done to may or may not have been intentional. The person doing the harm may or may not have had the capacity to understand he is doing wrong. As scripture indicates, judgment on who will go to Hell is for God alone. We all deserve Hell, but we are saved by our faith, and if we love God, then we extend our love to others.
    .
    FWIW, I maintain (with little proof to offer) that forgiving someone in exchange for something else of value (such as a request for forgiveness) can be explained by evolutionary science alone with no need for supernatural grace. (I suspect the Freedom From Religion Foundation would support that view. cf.
    http://ffrf.org/publications/freethought-today/item/17148-stages-of-moral-development )
    Unconditional forgiveness is by the grace of God.

  • “People who forgive me before I am repentant, perhaps even before I am able to acknowledge to myself that I did wrong, free themselves of the burden of unforgiveness and in doing so, offer a prayer on my behalf.”

    I think that such easy forgiveness, without a request for it, actually encourages people to engage in cost free bad behavior and therefore harms them spiritually. Imagine if the father in the parable of the prodigal son had assured him while he was engaging in his debauchery that he always could come home, because Daddy forgave him no matter what he did. The prodigal then would never have had brought home to him the deadliness of his sins and the necessity for repentance and amendment of life. In our age of cheap grace, we do not understand repentance, amendment and forgiveness. We recall Christ’s forgiveness of the woman caught in adultery, but his admonition to her to go and sin no more is utterly forgotten. I have had people accused of crimes tell me that since God had forgiven them, why couldn’t every one else. In our time we confuse forgiveness with amnesia and amnesty.

  • Philip-
    A predictable dark side to the idea of unilateral forgiveness; not doing what the supporters want lets them pronounce on the state of your soul.
    Conflating love with forgiveness is not just a bad idea, it’s dangerous; you either pretend that someone did nothing wrong, or you bleach forgiveness into nothing.
    There is nothing promoting another’s good about agreeing with the false idea that I am contracepting and aborting my children out of existence, nor in apologizing for someone’s assumption of malice in a misunderstood metaphor.

    Michael-
    following that logic, God wills people into hell, rather than it being a result of their refusing the available grace. He gives us the ability to choose– it’s up to us to make the choice.
    http://www.catholic.com/blog/tim-staples/to-forgive-or-not-to-forgive-%E2%80%94-that-is-the-question
    Catholic Answers has a nice explanation; anything I tried would be an inferior paraphrasing.

  • Would you carry around an unforgiving heart for the rest of your life?

    “Unforgiving” means “unwilling to forgive,” not “hasn’t had the opportunity to forgive.”

    “Our Lord obviously has not and will not forgive the souls in hell right now for the simple reason that they did not ask for forgiveness. This seems as clear as clear can be.” Whether or not a person who harmed me is going to Hell is something I cannot know.

    It is establishing a standard of comparison, not saying those who harmed you is going to hell.
    By your formula for “unconditional,” God Himself doesn’t offer unconditional forgiveness.

  • 982 There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive. “There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest. Christ who died for all men desires that in his Church the gates of forgiveness should always be open to anyone who turns away from sin
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a10.htm

  • Thank you Foxfier.

    I obviously have had difficulty with this.

    My snide remark about seeing you in the confessional line was absent of goodwill. Jesus said he desired mercy not sacrifice when the Pharisees complained about His eating with sinners and publicans. Matt.9:13.
    The mercy you give will be the mercy you receive…yet you and the faithful witnesses responding to this thread have felled some scales from my eyes.

    Thank you. All.

  • St. Therese the lil’ flower has much to say about Love and forgiveness.

    She entered in as I have been rereading the many good supporting views as you have given. In the Story of a Soul, she forgives and even takes blame for injustices she didn’t commit. As you can see, not all off the scales have fallen off.

    She strove for the Highest good not to be “above Christ”, but to give Christ the absolute all of her being. She succeed, no?

    There’s a search for truth here. I don’t believe it is my wanting to be right, rather I wish to know how love and forgiveness must be separate. I said must, because your valid points in this discussion point to this end. Was the lil’ flower wrong? I have her Story of a Soul.
    I’ll open it up for a second read.

  • I don’t believe it is my wanting to be right, rather I wish to know how love and forgiveness must be separate.

    Because they are different (but related) things. Himself said in Matt 9, it’s the sick that need doctor. You don’t make someone well by keeping them away from a doctor, but you don’t make them well by just visiting him, either. There has to be a change from sickness to health. “Go forth and sin no more,” etc. The wronging is the sickness, and it’s not fixed by pretending it’s not there.

    We offer the forgiveness because we love– “wish the good of”– the person who did wrong.

    As Donald mentioned, we can look at the wandering son– would it have done him any good if his father had kept shoveling money to him? Or, without a change, would it have been destroying him?

    If you wish the good of someone, will you support their destructive behavior, or tell them they should stop?

  • Foxfier.
    I do understand the concept of enabling behavior and the prolonged agony the party suffers.

    As I mentioned, I’m going to read the lil’ flowers story again, and closely observe the intent and application of her love of neighbor and trust in Jesus.

    Each of the commentators examples are driving home the important fact that one must ask for forgiveness, and truly be sincere in the asking. I do get it…even though admittedly I am thick up stairs. :)

    I might find something in St. Theresa’s book that I had misinterpreted, but none the less I’ll be at peace knowing that you truly have my interests in mind.
    That I am able to serve my neighbors in harmony with the truth.
    Thanks once more.

  • “[F]ollowing that logic, God wills people into hell, rather than it being a result of their refusing the available grace”

    No, that is the heresy of Calvin. St Augustine teaches that, after the fall of Adam, God wanted to save some, through an absolute will based on his mercy alone, entirely pure and gratuitous, leaving the other part in the state of damnation in which it was, and in which he could justly have left the whole. Nevertheless, God does not command the impossible, and grants even to those who do not actually observe His commandments the power of observing them. Theologians call this grace truly but merely sufficient: “truly” because it really confers the power; “merely” because, through the fault of the will, it fails in its effect, with respect to which it is said to be inefficacious, but sufficient.

    St Thomas teaches that “Since the love of God is the cause of the goodness of things, no one would be better than another if God did not will a greater good to one than to another.” [ST Ia, q. 20, a. 3] Now, it is evident that the man who, in fact, observes the commandments is better than the one who is able to do so but actually does not. Therefore he who keeps the commandments is more beloved and assisted. In short, God loves that man more to whom He grants that he keep the commandments than another in whom He permits sin. This theologians call “efficacious grace.” St Paul says, “For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

  • Michael-
    No, that is the heresy of Calvin.

    Which is why I objected.

    Philip-
    I’m trying. (Mandatory joke: in more ways than one.)
    Rephrasing the same thing in different ways sometimes works….
    Situation isn’t helped by the gap between what one says and another hears; a lot of popular stuff seems to use “forgive” to mean “I don’t hate you.”

    I’d guess that the Little Flower reacted to outside things, rather than it being about herself. Being willing to forgive. (And the related “let go of the anger” thing.)

  • *ahem* Returning once again to our original topic… here’s an interesting “Dear Abby” letter I saw posted online just a few minutes ago:

    http://news.yahoo.com/animal-lover-appalled-camouflage-wedding-050112316.html

    “DEAR ABBY: My nephew is getting married next year. I was very excited because I love him and I’m a baker. I had planned on making the groom’s cake as I did for his brother’s and sister’s weddings. The problem is, they have decided on a hunting theme for their wedding — including a camouflage wedding dress for the bride.

    “Abby, I am an animal-rights activist. I’m against any form of hunting. I am also involved with several animal-protection groups. My nephew and his fiancee know how hard I work for animal rights — just the thought of a hunting theme for a wedding makes me ill.

    “I don’t even want to attend, let alone make a cake. What can I do so there will be no hurt feelings if I don’t want to attend or participate? — BAKER IN THE MIDWEST

    “DEAR BAKER: The theme for your nephew’s wedding is certainly unique. The concept of a camouflage wedding dress is practical because the dress can be worn after the nuptials, which isn’t the case with many bridal gowns.

    “Feeling as strongly as you do about not attending, write the happy couple a warm letter wishing them a lifetime of happiness together and include a nice wedding gift — I’m sure there will be no hurt feelings.”

    Since the letter writer describes herself (to make things simpler I’m going to assume she’s female) as a baker, implying that she does it for a living, I’d love to know whether she’s ever refused to bake cakes for hunting/camo themed weddings before and if so, could the rejected couple now sue her for said refusal.


  • Remember how bothered the Jews were at the claim of Jesus to forgive sins, believing that no human could forgive sin.of course they didn’t know Jesus Is Lord.
    I think on a human level we can forgive sin if by that we mean:
    Excusing a fault or an offense; pardon.
    renouncing anger or resentment against. Or absolving from payment of (a debt, for example). (Dictionary meaning) even if the other person is not sorry nor asks for forgiveness . We can still ignore or forget it of we want to. But we can do nothing about the lingering effects of sin, already committed, nor about the guilt still retained by the sinner. We can forgive, let it go, forget about it, but we can’t take away the persons guilt – even if we were to decide to continue to prosecute the issue. Only God can deal with that, perhaps in purgatory also our continued unforgiving attitude doesn’t increase his guilt- has no effect but to keep us tied up. Forgiving is a benefit to the forgiver.
    We don’t have to worry about “cheap grace” since grace giving is not ours to do. God will balance the books.

  • Since the letter writer describes herself (to make things simpler I’m going to assume she’s female) as a baker, implying that she does it for a living, I’d love to know whether she’s ever refused to bake cakes for hunting/camo themed weddings before and if so, could the rejected couple now sue her for said refusal.

    I’d guess yes, and no. :D

  • Elaine Krewer

    Baking is not a “common calling,” something hitherto confined to innkeepers and common carriers (and millers, where the land is thirled or adstricted to a particular mill).

    Accordingly, a refusal would only be actionable, if the parties belonged to a “protected class.” Under the EU directives,: “Discrimination comprises any distinction applied between natural persons by reason of their origin, sex, family situation, physical appearance or patronymic, state of health, handicap, genetic characteristics, sexual morals or orientation, age, political opinions, union activities, or their membership or non-membership, true or supposed, of a given ethnic group, nation, race or religion. Discrimination also comprises any distinction applied between legal persons by reason of the origin, sex, family situation, physical appearance or patronymic, state of health, handicap, genetic characteristics, sexual morals or orientation, age, political opinions, union activities, membership or non-membership, true or supposed, of a given ethnic group, nation, race or religion of one or more members of these legal persons.”

    Wide as this is, it would not appear to include membership of a hunt (“the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable” as Oscar Wilde called them, which, even as a joint MFH myself, I confess to finding amusing) I suppose it could be argued that someone who rides to hounds in camouflage (!) is suffering from a mental handicap and so protected, but that seems pretty thin.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour. This issue is confused by conflating persons and their vices. If the baker was told, and she knew, that her cake was to be used to support and encourage so-called gay-marriage, she is free to refuse, as if she was told her cake or work is going to be used to poison others. Discriminating against and prosecuting vice and crime is the duty of the state. As a citizen, all persons are called to protect our future generations, our constitutional posterity, and “to secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our (constitutional ) posterity”…from The Preamble
    Which reminds me…in Peter Pan, Captain Hook bakes a poison “green” cake to poison Wendy….no, not Wendy Davis… Wendy Darling.

  • Anzlyne: “Forgiving is a benefit to the forgiver.” Jesus took the whole benefit.

Follow TAC by Clicking on the Buttons Below
Bookmark and Share
Subscribe by eMail

Enter your email:

Recent Comments
Archives
Our Visitors. . .
Our Subscribers. . .