A few years ago I would have thought the title of my piece was too extreme- I bought into the charisma of Barack Obama- never publicly supported him- but I thought he was someone who could bridge some of the serious difficulties that pro-life Democrats faced within my political party. I read his books, I thought he respected the Catholic Church as much as a secular political liberal could be expected to. Around that time I was trying to work from the inside of the Democratic party- running for Florida State House as a pro-life Democrat, and later serving as Vice President for the Florida Democats for Life organization. This was also the time period where I was invited to become part of a national Catholic Democrats listserve which included such notaries as : Vicki Kennedy, Lisa Sowle Cahill of Boston College, Rev. William D’Antonio and Rev. Anthony Pogorel of the Catholic University of America, Peggy Steinfels of Fordham University, Rev. Thomas Reese of Georgetown, Vincent Miller of Georgetown/U. of Dayton, Dan Maguire of Marquette, Doug Kmeic of Pepperdine, Suzanne Morse of NCR, Chris Korzen of Catholics United, Alexia Kelly of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Steve Callahan of the AFL-CIO, and others (Eric LeCompte, Nicholas Carfardi, James Salt, Morna Murray, Fred Rotondaro, Kari Lundgren). I never agreed to keep all that passed before my eyes confidential, but I never publicly revealed the basic content until now.
My reason for going public now is due to the recent event where the Worcester Bishop Robert McManus weighed in to prevent Vicki Kennedy from speaking at the Anna Maria College commencement. The press I read portrayed the Bishop as being overly vindictive and Kennedy milked the rejection, playing innocent, as though she is doing nothing to try to upend the Catholic Church as we know it- as a Hierarchical Institution. It was my experience on the Catholic Dem listserve that Vicki Kennedy was essentially my nemesis. I defended the Church as a Hierarchy, and the official teachings on abortion et al, and she took me to task almost every time I wrote pro-orthodox Catholic commentary- with plenty of Amens from her fellow travelers on the listserve. I did receive a few positive private emails from some on the listserve, but on the whole it was a very discouraging experience trying to defend the Church as a convert, who would be at a total loss if the Catholic Church put no stock in the teaching authority of the Pope and the Bishops, and taught that contraceptives, legal abortion, and gay marriage were just fine and dandy things. So Soon after posting this on the listserve-
“It is deeply troubling to me that this Catholic Democrats listserve membership seems more intent on finding reasons to pull some kind of palace coup against the Catholic Church Magisterium and Hierarchy in general, than to address specific issues related to the Catholic interests in American politics. I am a convert to Catholicism, I knew what I was signing up for in becoming a Catholic, I accepted the teachings and authority lines as prescribed by the latest Catechism. I simply cannot understand why those who seem to relish openly trashing the Apostolic successors retain membership in the Church- that is something that I can only address as an appeal to someone else’s good conscience. Most of my family is of the Protestant variety, I understand that thinking and worldview but reject it, but they are acting in good conscience- they don’t believe what the Catholic Church teaches about her role, so they don’t invest in the Catholic narrative and authority line. Maybe what I’m finding here at Catholic Democrats are many good protestants but not orthodox Catholics as I understand things?
You can remove me from your rolls if it displeases many here that I don’t conform to the groupthink on display here, otherwise I will continue to offer my two bits to challenge the establishment views of liberal, anti-Catholic Hierarchical voices which parallel the hard Catholic Right- in their wrongheadedness- in my humble opinion anyway. One is certainly free to criticize the clerical/Hierarchical handling of sexual abuse cases over the years- but how this all fits in with being a Democratic Party member is something I can’t fathom. Tim Shipe”
My offer to leave was accepted after Vicki Kennedy wrote a smack-down on me; and shortly thereafter I severed my own Democratic party membership and ended my leadership role with Florida Dems for Life- I took Archbishop Chaput route of becoming a political Independent and remain such today.
To come up to speed- back a couple of years ago- I knew that the most powerful and connected Catholic Democrats in our country were interested in more than just getting more traction on Catholic social justice issues in our American political system- I would describe the agenda/mind-set of Vicki Kennedy et al for the most part as the following:
1. Obama embodies the Catholic social tradition- he’s a better guide than the out-of-touch Pope/Bishops 2. Democrats for Life leaders were not welcome – despite my own inclusion for a time- Kennedy seemingly successfully squashed the idea of Kristen Day being invited to be part of the listserve 3. The Bishops who were outspoken for advocating the primacy of the right to life for the unborn were demonized, mocked, ridiculed, and at times the idea of trying to bring on an IRS investigation on these type of Bishops was being encouraged by some ( especially if they dared to consider withholding Communion from Pro-choice Dem leaders) 4. Bishops were described as “self-designated custodians of ‘the tradition’”. 5. Catholic Dems could aptly be self-described for the most part as “intra-Catholic warriors” 6. The Clergy Scandals were to be used to help bring the end of the Bishops line of authority- teaching and otherwise 7. This authority should pass to those who know best- the secular-minded Catholic professors and their liberal political activist friends- since there really can’t be such a thing as a Holy Spirit-guided Catholic Church with Popes and Bishops playing a key role- I suppose they could still hold onto ceremonial roles like the Kings in Europe.
I can see clearly now that President Obama has been very conscious of this war for control within the Church- and his choice of Vice President and HHS Secretary- Biden and Sebelius, respectively, was a conspicuous power move to set in place the acceptability of dissenting Catholic leaders and thought into the mainstream of American societal structures and popular imaginations. The fact that Obama “evolved” on Gay Marriage with help from his Catholic buddy Joe Biden, and his determination to mandate contraception as a must-have “medicine” through the offices of Catholic Kathleen Sebelius- all of this plays right into the larger goals of the Catholic Democratic party elite. There has been no such evolution in his comprehension and compassion for the thousands of unborn humans killed every day in abortions, and the threat to religious liberties is finely focused on the authority of Catholic Bishops and the official teachings of the Catholic Magisterium. I believe the Catholic Dems elite would like to re-make American Catholic Bishops in the image of the Anglican church in England- with Obama playing a kind of King Henry VIII role in forcing power transfers ( counting on public/Catholic lay apathy).
My conclusion is this- I am not in disagreement with the Catholic Dems elite on an across-the-board basis- I am not a conservative ideologue any more than I am a liberal one. There are political issues where I go left and others where I go right or down the middle- I make the honest effort to stay as close to the official social doctrine teachings of principles, and even the prudential judgment application of those principles as the Bishops and Vatican officials advise. I find that the same powers-that-be that are given Holy Spirit assistance to teach firm principles, are also pretty darn good at putting forth ideas for applying those principles into the real world of political legislation and the like- but I acknowledge it’s not an exact science with one formula fits all simplicities, however. That’s how I would describe my own efforts in being a wanna-be orthodox, faithful Catholic on matters of social doctrine. Others may disagree- I have no doubt that the Catholic Dem elites I list above are well-intentioned- but I believe they are threatening great harm to many souls and to the future of our Catholic Church as the Hierarchical Institution – founded by Jesus Christ. Reforms should be taken up in a spirit that respects the obedience of Faith. I don’t abide by clergy abuses and incompetent administrative decisions made by Catholic bishops- but you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater- just as you don’t kill babies in the womb to solve the problems of women and their mates.
Since “gay marriage” is all the rage, especially since Biden and Obama decided to make public statements on the matter, it is virtually all I have been hearing about in my own online networks. Debates are raging, friendships are being tested, hostility is everywhere. One thing emerges out of this chaos more clearly than anything else: the gay agenda, which I define as a radical political program with the aim of legitimizing homosexuality in all spheres of human existence, is based on the hysterical repetition of outrageous lies. It is not unlike the completely fraudulent “war on women”, a war that was supposedly declared when a number of Americans publicly resisted the idea that they ought to pay for other women’s birth control.
In the case of “gay marriage”, the big lie is that there is some desire on the part of conservatives and Christians in this country to actually deny some right, some liberty, some freedom to people who identify themselves and live as homosexuals. As abhorrent, disordered and immoral as I find the “gay lifestyle” to be, the truth is that – and here I speak for virtually every conservative Christian I know or have read – we really are not the least bit interested in micro-managing the sex-lives of our fellow citizens. We have absolutely no desire to have uniformed gendarmes kick in your bedroom doors to make sure no acts of sodomy are taking place in the middle of the night. The only thing more repugnant to me than such acts would be the prospect of becoming comfortable with the sort of routine invasions of personal privacy that would be required to ensure that no one was living out their life as a homosexual.
To be even more specific, to the gay couple we say: we do not care if you visit one another in the hospital. We do not care if you grant one another medical power of attorney. We do not care if you jointly own property. We do not care if you leave property for each other inherit when one of you dies. We do not care if you own a home together and live in it. We do not care if you get dressed up, rent a local hall, stage whatever sort of ceremony you like, and even refer to yourselves as “married.”
We may object, on different grounds, some secular, some religious, to your adopting children. After all, there are now other human beings in the equation- and there seems to be at least some kind of moral consensus across political lines that the interests of children do sometimes take precedence over the rights and privileges of adults. In any case, its something we can safely set aside for the moment.
To reiterate, this time specifically to the radical homosexual: on all the issues that concern the consenting adults only, we don’t care. Of course we care in the abstract that you are leading lives of grave sin in open defiance of God, but then so do millions of “heterosexuals” who fornicate, commit adultery, use artificial contraception, sterilize themselves, and so on. Not every sin can or should be a matter for the state to concern itself with, and we are content to let God judge in these matters; but no sin, and this brings us closer to the main point here, can ever be called a virtue, no evil can ever be called a good, by any Christian with a conscience, or by any citizen who cares about the integrity of society.
You can live as you want, engage in whatever sort of contracts you like, conduct any sort of ceremonies you please. But there is one thing you cannot have, and it is the one thing you seek through this radical political agenda, these hysterical protests and complaints about Christians: our approval. It cannot possibly be about anything else, because it is really the only thing you are missing. You want to live in a world in which everyone regards what you do and how you live not only as normal, but as a positive good. And your attempts to legalize “gay marriage” are about this and this alone. It is not about “equal rights” that you already possess, it is not about the freedom to openly identify as gay, which you already have. It is about using the power of the state to force society to recognize your living arrangements and lifestyle choices as legitimate. It is about policing the thoughts and opinions of the American people. It is about sharing prestige with properly and truly married couples. It is about envy and resentment, and a deep, abiding hatred of religion in general and Christianity in particular.
Let me be blunt: your disordered lifestyles are not equal to the traditional marriage or the traditional family, which have served as the foundation of civilization since its very beginnings. You do not deserve equal prestige, and nor, for that matter, do “straight” couples who actively choose not to procreate. And you have no right to such things. You have no right to have the state give you extra benefits, tax breaks, or anything of the sort – you have no right to have your romantic choices ratified by society. You don’t have the right to go through life without being heckled or bullied, as you heckle and bully the Christians you hate, as you mock with the most disgusting outrages imaginable all that we hold sacred.
In the face of your tyranny, your bullying, your mockery, your boundless hate, we will continue to persevere.
As the US continues it’s “national conversation” on same sex marriage, it’s fairly standard for someone to suggest that it’s time for the state to get out of the marriage business and have marriage be a strictly religious/personal arrangement. This seems like a fairly neat way to sidestep the issue of having to reach a state consensus on what marriage is, with the inevitable one-side-tramples-the-other problem that suggests. However, I’d like to suggest that it’s an impractical and illusory solution.
To start with, I think we need to look at why the state is involved in marriage in the first place. I’d suggest that the reason has little to do with managing morals or family values, it has to do with the essential function of government: being an arbiter in disputes, primarily about property. In this regard the state ends up needing to define marriage and know who is married in order to answer two questions: who owns what and whose kids are whose.
Say two people have been spending a lot of time together for the last five years. Now they’ve had an argument and want to not see each other again, but one of them claims that some things in the possession of the other are actually his. Are they? The state gets pulled into these questions because its job is to arbitrate disputes rather than leaving people to solve them the old fashioned way (which was by raising themselves up on their hind legs and bashing each over the head with flint axes.) →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Some things truly do not need any commentary, but this is too sweet a target to forego the obligatory ducks in a barrel:
1. Somebody buy our rag, please!: Newsweek has been suffering financial woes for a very long time. Since 2007 it has lost 50% of its subscribers. I assume that the management at Newsweek now thinks they have nothing to lose from being an open arm of the Democrat party, rather than a hidden arm of that party, which was their usual mode of operation in the good old days, for them, when the magazine actually managed to make money.
2. Bubble people: The powers that be at Newsweek obviously live in an ideological bubble where calling Obama the First Gay President will help him. Most of the country does not inhabit that bubble.
3. Halo Twofer: The halo above the President is of course no accident. The folks at Newsweek regard Obama as a saint, if not higher in the celestial hierarchy. As for gays, they are by definition on the side of the angels, a somewhat patronizing attitude on TV these days where gays are trotted out to deliver lines filled with wit, wisdom and tolerance, occupying the slot previously alloted in television land decades ago to ministers, priests, nuns and rabbis.
4. Not a Put On: No clever satire is intended by Newsweek. They are in deadly earnest. More is the pity.
5. The meaning of Gay: Judging from my teenage daughter’s use of the term, “gay”, among the younger generation, frequently means “lame” or “weak”. In that sense Obama is most assuredly a gay president, albeit far from the first one. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Of all the things in Obama’s
performance interview where he came out of the closet and ended his farcical opposition to gay marriage, his citation of the “golden rule” as one the impetuses behind his “evolution” was most revolting. Msgr. Charles Pope details why Obama’s usage of the golden rule as a prop was problematic.
It is a common problem today that people often present simplistic portraits of Jesus Christ to support a variety of agendas. And the portraits of Jesus are not only simplistic, they are incomplete (usually intentionally so), and fail to accept that Jesus cannot be reduced to a simple sentence or two.
I would argue this is what the President is doing here. As if to say, “Jesus, was basically a nice and affirming person, who spoke of Love, and so beautifully and taught us to do unto to others as we would have them do to us. “Surely,” the thinking goes, “this Jesus would affirm and rejoice over two Gay people getting “married.”” It is as if this were all Jesus was or said, “Love…Do unto others”. Never mind that he had some pretty high standards when it came to sexuality (Matt 5:27-30; Matt 15:19; Mk 10:11; Rev 22:15; Rev 21:8) Never mind that he told his apostles he had other things to teach them and would send his Holy Spirit, and never mind that His Holy Spirit inspired the Epistles writers like Paul to speak clearly in the ancient Biblical tradition about the sinfulness of homosexual activity, fornication, and adultery  “Never mind all that,” says the modern world, and our President, “I chose the Jesus who said only, ‘God is love, and be kind to one another.’”
Msgr. Pope also touches upon something that has always annoyed me, and that is the left’s depiction of the hippy Jesus.
The modern tendency on the left, from which the President speaks has been to reduce Jesus to a rather harmless hippie who went about talking about love and inclusion and healed people. Gone from this harmless and politically correct Jesus are volumes of verses that help complete the picture: a Messiah who claimed authority in our lives, who spoke quite clearly of sin, yes even sexual sin, and who warned repeatedly of the coming judgment, and the reality not only heaven, but of hell.
But Jesus is not either of these descriptions alone, he is both. Orthodoxy is in the balance, not choosing one or the other or tipping in one direction.
Much more at the link. Msgr. Pope discusses at length the heresy of picking and choosing the parts of Scripture one adheres to. Clearly the cafeteria is open, and Catholics aren’t the only ones at the buffet.
Actually I am rather surprised, not by the fact that he supports gay marriage, his alleged opposition was the most transparent lie in contemporary politics, but by the fact that he announced his switch in positions now. As the thumping that gay marriage took in North Carolina yesterday indicates, gay marriage is not popular in swing states crucial in November. Additionally, his support ensures that there will be a plank in the Democrat platform calling for gay marriage throughout the nation and that this will become a major issue in the fall. I assume that Obama and his advisors think that this will excite his base, but this makes zero political sense to me. Homosexual activists are most powerful in deep blue states that Obama has in the bag. They are relatively weak on the ground in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania where this election is going to be decided. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
In a Presidential election year, primaries become much less newsworthy after the presidential nominees for each party are decided. However, last night’s elections were of interest, and the results are bad news for President Obama:
1. President Obama won the West Virginia primary with approximately 60% of the vote. His opponent, who got approximately 40% of the vote, was Keith Judd, or as he is also known, Inmate No. 11593-051. Judd is serving a 14 year term for extortion in a Federal prison in Texas. Democrat Senator, and former West Virginia Governor, Joe Manchin refuses to say if he voted for Obama in the primary.
2. There is a strong push in the Democrat party to have the President come out in favor of gay marriage. Biden recently came out in favor of it, citing the old sitcom Will and Grace, which I am sure played a huge role in his decision to support changing an institution as old as Man. There is a move afoot in the Democrat party to have a plank put in their party platform calling for gay marriage. The party convention will be held in North Carolina. Last night the voters of the Tarheel State approved a constitutional amendment, 60-40, banning gay marriage and the fake gay marriages called civil unions. The Democrat party in North Carolina is in chaos as a result of the party chairman of the state party being accused of gay sexual harassment. It is rare for a party to wish to raise a social issue that will harm them in the general election, especially in the key swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, but that is apparently what the Democrats are in the process of doing. Pass the popcorn!
I’ve been told by more than a few people who support “gay marriage” that my take on it is somewhat unique. Given that I am virulently opposed to “gay marriage”, this is no small victory. It may be my absolute lack of fear when it comes to self-criticism (which may spill over into self-loathing if I am not careful), my willingness to unload heaps of criticism on those with whom I agree (lovingly of course), and/or my high level of intolerance for self-congratulatory nonsense that is responsible. I don’t really know. But I will tell you what I think about “gay marriage”, a phrase I will never utter or write sans-scare quotes, and you can decide.
First and foremost, I’ll acknowledge that a lot of criticism of “gay marriage” just misses the mark. Just the other day I witnessed a college-age conservative Catholic attempting to argue to a mob of atheists, some gay, some straight, that homosexuality was not a valid expression of human love. Woven in were concepts from modern Catholic teaching on the theology of the body and things of this nature. Setting aside the validity of such arguments, I have to say that attempting to argue that what someone experiences as “love” is not really love is going to be a pretty tough sell. I can’t imagine it working at all, especially coming from a stranger. Arguments that homosexuality will naturally lead to the acceptance of pedophilia or bestiality don’t tend to go over well either.
One of the great farces in modern political times is President Obama’s “opposition” to gay marriage. His opposition is given with a wink and a nudge. One of the reasons gay marriage supporters haven’t pilloried Obama on this issue is that everyone knows that he is completely insincere in his convictions, or lack thereof.
Here’s further proof of that.
Obama’s top political advisers have held serious discussions with leading Democrats about the upsides and downsides of coming out for gay marriage before the fall election, a Democratic strategist who has discussed these matters directly with Obama’s campaign inner circle tells me.
This does not mean that it will happen, and there are plenty of reasons to assume it won’t. Indeed, it would be political malpractice if Obama’s top advisers didn’t discuss every permutation and possibility, no matter how far fetched. However, the fact that it has been discussed seriously at high levels means it’s not out of the question.
So Team Obama is basically poll testing his position on gay marriage. Presumably if they see there’s enough support, he can proudly finally come out of the closet.
It’s a good thing his likely opponent is a man who would never dream of running his positions before focus groups in order to come to the right conclusion.
The great conservative hope, at least according to the likes of Ann Coulter, recently appointed a gentleman named Bruce Harris to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Harris is openly gay – a point that Christie made sure to highlight when he introduced Harris as his nominee. Unsurprisingly Harris is a supporter of gay marriage, and has been very vocal on this issue. Blogger Paul Mulshine reprints an email that Harris sent to Republican legislators in the state:
As a Republican elected official and someone who has worked hard (and successfully) to get Republicans elected in Chatham Borough, it disturbs me that same-sex marriage has become a Republican versus Democrat issue (understanding there are some Democrats who do not support same-sex marriage). I was encouraged to see former Governor Christine Whitman’s op-ed piece in the Sunday, November 29, 2009 Star-Ledger supporting same-sex marriage, I hope you read her article and will seriously consider her suggestion.
You have met me and my partner of nearly 30 years, Marc, on more than one occasion at various political gatherings. The New Jersey Supreme court has determined that our relationship is entitled to the equal protection guarantees of the State Constitution. The New jersey Civil Union Review Commission determined that civil unions do not provide the equality the State Constitution mandates.(Please take a few moments and visit www.gardenstateequality.org. which has two short videos that provide sad examples of the failures of the civil union law.)
When I hear someone say that they believe marriage is only between a man and a woman because that’s the way it’s always been, I think of the many “traditions” that deprived people of their civil rights for centuries: prohibitions on interracial marriage, slavery, (which is even provided for in the Bible), segregation, the subservience of women, to name just a few of these “traditions.”
I hope that you consider my request that you re-evaluate your position and, if after viewing the videos, reading Governor Whitman’s letter and thinking again about this issue of civil rights you still oppose same-sex marriage on grounds other than religion I would appreciate it if you you’d explain your position to me. And, if the basis of your opposition is religious, then I suggest that you do what the US Constitution mandates – and that is to maintain a separation between the state and religion.
Surely Chris Christie knew of this.
That led me to ask the obvious question at a press conference Wednesday: Did Christie know how Harris stood on Lewis v. Harris?
Christie said of Harris and his other nominee, Phillip Kwon of Bergen County, “I did not ask them about specific cases.” He pointed to two other cases of concern to conservatives, the Abbott school-funding decisions and the Mount Laurel decisions on affordable housing, and said “to the extent that they’ve taken positions on those issues, they’re going to have to let us know that.”
The governor sure did his due diligence in this important duty, didn’t he?
Of course this brings out the band of merry GOP apologists, such as this commenter at NRO.
Good grief, throwing Christie under the bus ALREADY? He’s not even to the Greyhound station yet.
Is there anyone who in your view IS pure enough to be a Republican president? Talk about making perfection the enemy of the good ….
So now it a sign that you’re some fire-breathing purist to expect a Chief Executive to actually do his research before making critical appointments. Supreme Court appointments – be they federal or state – have long-lasting impact well beyond the life of a governor. Judicial appointments are among the three or four most important job functions of any president or governor. Even if Harris recuses himself from any matters pertaining to gay marriage, it is clear from this email that he is not what you’d call a sparkling originalist. As such, Chris Christie has failed in this vital aspect.
Unfortunately we have so lowered the bar of expectations that some will just overlook this minor inconvenience. After all, Governor Soundbite has so many cool Youtube clips of him berating his constituents, and as this entire election season has proven, bluster is a lot more impressive than actual accomplishments.
Newt Gingrich’s lesbian half-sister, Candace Gingrich-Jones, has taken advantage of her half-brother’s moment at the top of the polls in order to get an appearance on a pseudo news program. In the most anticipated public political pronouncement by a relative of a presidential candidate since Meghan McCain like totally said something like totally profound, she indicated that her brother’s opposition to gay marriage means that she will be voting for Barack Obama. This will undoubtedly send shockwaves through our fair polity and could possibly sway hundreds if not thousands to shrug their shoulders in complete apathy.
This wouldn’t even be worthy of comment if it did not perfectly symbolize the complete stupidity of the American left. Newt’s sister won’t vote for him because he’s opposed to gay marriage, so instead she’s going to vote for a guy who is also opposed to gay marriage.
Oh, forgot about that, huh? Yeah, you see Barack Obama is still on record as opposing gay marriage. Yet that hasn’t stopped the left from basically talking out of both sides of their mouth. You see, Obama’s official position on gay marriage is trotted out whenever they want to persuade those bitter clingers that he’s not so radical after all. Then, after they issue their press releases and mouth their talking points, they all just wink at each other and nod in some kind of secret, knowing way that he’s not really anti-gay marriage. In his heart of hearts dear old Barack is with them after all. He just has to tell those rubes out there in the hinterland that he is on their side. Well, they’re just a bunch of stupid homophobes, so it’s totally okay to lie to them in order to serve the greater good.
Basically either the left is lying to us about Barack Obama’s position on gay marriage, or they’re just lying to themselves. If it’s the latter, they’re not alone in this. After all, in a world of Doug Kmiec and the Catholic left, Obama sycophants will believe just about anything about their guy in order to justify supporting him. Cults of personality are such amazing things to behold.
At this early stage of the game, I’d say that my top choices for the GOP nomination are two Ricks: Perry and Santorum. The latter has as much chance as I do of actually getting the nomination, but he’ s also the one who I am most sympathetic to ideologically.
I say this all as a preamble because I’m going to disagree with parts of both of their comments from this past weekend. Rick Perry had this to say about New York’s decision to permit gay marriage:
Perry, who is considering running for president, at a forum in Colorado on Friday called himself an “unapologetic social conservative” and said he opposes gay marriage — but that he’s also a firm believer in the 10th Amendment, the Associated Press reported.
“Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me,” he said to applause from several hundred GOP donors in Aspen, the AP reported.
“That is their call. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business.”
Perry’s argument on behalf of federalism is completely legitimate. For now I’ll leave that specific debate aside and focus on the tenor of Perry’s statement. While one can argue that a state has a right to do x, it does not follow that the state should be free from criticism. This is similar to something that Rudy Giuliani said, and which I criticized last week. All that federalism means is that individual states have wide latitude to formulate their own laws, free from interference by the federal government. Federalism does not mean that citizens of other states cannot criticize these decisions. This idea that federalism entails complete silence on the doings of other states is akin to those who hide behind the first amendment when they say something silly and earn public ridicule. Just because you have the right to do something or say something it doesn’t mean that you should do something, and citizens of other locales absolutely have the right to speak out against these decisions and perhaps persuade the citizens of the state in question to change their mind.
That said, I have a slight issue with Santorum’s response:
That prompted a response from Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who tweeted overnight: “So Gov Perry, if a state wanted to allow polygamy or if they chose to deny heterosexuals the right to marry, would that be OK too?”
It’s not unfair to employ the logic of a slippery slope argument. There are already rumblings from polygamist groups who want to legalize polygamy now that the floodgates have opened. That said, there are a couple of problems with this rhetorical strategy. To me the slippery slope argument is the last refuge when all other arguments fail. It doesn’t really address the actual issue at hand, and in fact there’s a subtle implication that the subject under consideration is not all that serious a concern.
I guess what bothers me about Santorum’s tweet is that it doesn’t tackle the issue of gay marriage head on. I acknowledge that this is just a tweet, and Santorum has no doubt argued well on behalf of traditional marriage before. But this smacks too much of a dodge, as though gay marriage isn’t that bad – but polygamy and the outlawing of heterosexual marriage, now that’s bad. If the issue under discussion had been abortion, would Santorum have raised the specter of something semi-related? I doubt it.
I’ll admit I might be nitpicking here, and that Santorum is simply mocking the absurdity(in his view) of Perry’s federalist stance. Again, you’re not going to capture a lot of nuance in a single tweet – which says something about the nature of twitter, but that’s for another rant. I just fear that too often defenders of traditional marriage rely upon the slippery slope argument too facilely. If gay marriage is as bad for society as we think it is, we should argue against it on its own merits (or demerits) instead of attacking semi-related subjects.
My colleague Paul Zummo wrote recently here at TAC responding to presidential candidate Herman Cain’s recent remarks about mosques: The Constitution Isn’t a Suicide Pact. It is not my intention to either defend or criticize Herman Cain, nor to talk about radical Islam, per se, but Zummo’s article touches on a topic that is too frequently ignored. Whether we are talking about abortion, terror-supporting mosques, so-called ‘gay marriage’, pornography, or any other topics where issues of morality come up in politics, we should recognize that people of faith are always going to be butting heads in the public sphere with those who claim that the Constitution gives us the freedom to do evil. Does the Constitution give us the freedom to do evil? No. It doesn’t.
Does the Constitution give religions the freedom to preach terror? I would argue that the answer to that is no. This is what I’m sure Herman Cain was referring to, and I agree with him on the point, however ineloquent he may have been.
The Constitution must not be read in a vacuum. It was authored by people of faith, for people of faith. It proceeded from the Declaration of Independence and has foundation in the Declaration’s principle that all men are created equal by the one Creator recognized by Jews and Christians universally. The Founders were certainly aware of Islam, but I doubt they would have thought that Americans would stand for allowing Islamists to put our lives at risk under the guise of ‘freedom of religion’.
Jews and Christians to this day continue in their shared acknowledgment that we owe our rights to the same Creator. This is why we say that America is a Judeo-Christian state. Even so, we should welcome those of other faiths, provided that they live in the same respect for human dignity that is inherent in the Judeo-Christian ethic.
Because the vast majority of Americans – whether Jew or Christian – understood from the beginning that our rights come from God alone, it was understood universally, as well, that we do not have freedom to do evil. Instead, we are all bound to be what we believe the Creator has called us to be. The first Americans understood this clearly, whereas today, the Constitution is frequently held up as a document that protects the freedom to do evil. As of late, the call is for evil to be enshrined as good, and for good to be condemned because it challenges evil. The latest clear example is the recent ‘gay marriage’ law passed in New York.
The primary example of this enshrinement was the 1973 Roe v Wade decision which legalized abortion. Slavery might have been similarly enshrined as a Constitutional “right” by the Dred Scott decision had people of good will not risen up to correct the wrong. As more and more people rise up to correct the wrong which was the Constitutional enshrinement of abortion, a new movement seeks to enshrine another evil: “gay marriage”.
Let us not make the mistake of enshrining evil as good, be it in giving radical Islam protected status as “religion” or in giving gay marriage protected status as if it were a legitimate union for the good of society.
Much is at stake in our time. Let’s pay attention and not throw any babies out with the bathwater.
Despite my opposition to his presidential candidacy in 2008, I’ve always liked Rudy Giuliani. Most of that stems from having grown up in New York and seeing the city’s renaissance under Mayor Rudy. Also, despite his socially liberal views, Rudy generally refrained from head-on confrontations with social conservatives. He always struck me as the type of guy who understood that his positions were in the minority within the party and so, unlike other social liberals, Rudy focused his fire on the left and largely kept mum on social issues.
He may not agree with the vote in New York to legalize gay marriage, but former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said the Republican Party should butt out of the bedroom and stick to fiscal policy.
“I think the Republican Party would be well advised to get the heck out of people’s bedrooms and let these things get decided by states,” Giuliani said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We’d be a much more successful political party if we stuck to our economic, conservative roots.”
There are so many problems with this statement that I almost don’t know where to begin. First of all, we need to retire the “stay out of people’s bedroom” meme. It’s a silly cliche and it is used to shut down debate. As is the case with abortion, I don’t think too many marriages take place in the bedroom. The implication is that this is ultimately an issue that revolves around sexual morality, but that misses the point. Nobody is urging that gays be prohibited from doing what they want behind closed doors. Gay marriage opponents simply do not want the definition of marriage to be changed. In point of fact, the libertarian position on this issue would not necessarily be for marriage to be opened to gays, but rather for the state to get out of the marriage business altogether.* The people advocating government involvement in this area are gay marriage advocates, not opponents.
*The merits of this particular argument have been debated here and elsewhere, and I’m not particularly concerned with continuing that discussion here. I just bring it up as an example of what the libertarian position is, not what it ought to be.
Giuliani also seems confused as to which side is making all the noise. Conservatives aren’t the ones who started this debate by advocating for a change. We’ve been the ones fighting a rearguard action to fend off those who would fundamentally alter the definition of marriage. Saying that we’re the ones who need to be quiet about the issue is completely hypocritical.
Rudy then tries to have it both ways, later saying that he’s personally opposed to gay marriage but that he supports the democratic process in New York. Well which is it, Rudy? If you think that it’s a bad idea, why are you telling others who share your view to shut up about it? Do you think that you can play both sides by feigning opposition while ultimately taking the side of gay marriage advocates? More importantly, Giuliani reverts to another tired meme that is constantly trotted out during this debate. Just because one believes in the principle of federalism it does not mean that one should not inveigh against states making bad decisions. Curiously the same people now talking about the glories of federalism didn’t seem to have the same opinion about remaining silent on state laws when it came to the Arizona immigration debate. Just because a state has the right to do such and such doesn’t mean that you can’t lobby the people and legislators of said state to reach a different conclusion. This is akin to the first amendment argument wherein people use the freedom of speech as a crutch when criticized for saying something stupid. Freedom is a two-way street, and we are allowed to criticize bad ideas and work for change within the states.
Finally, the political calculation is just off. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that the man who waged one of the worst presidential campaigns in history is offering bad political advice, but time and again polls show that it’s on social, not economic issues that conservatives are more in line with majority opinion. It’s one of the great fallacies of our era that conservatives should concentrate on economic issues in the interests of electoral gain. There’s a reason New York is the first state to enact gay marriage through the legislature. If being pro-gay marriage were a winning issue, then more states would have permitted it through the democratic process by now. And of course this ignores the more important issue about abandoning principles in the interests of political expediency.
Update: Semi-related, here is a story linked at Creative Minority Report about Vermont Inn Keepers being sued for refusing to host a gay marriage reception.
What now Rudy? Should gay marriage advocates stay out of Catholic innkeeper’s bedrooms?
According to Three Fingers of Politics, you have to have been “living under a rock” not to know who Mila Kunis is. I had actually never heard of her until I read an article at Pajamas Media about her by my friend and former editor, Dave Swindle. The fact that Kunis is a very well-known movie actress who makes this claim about promiscuity and communism — in one breath, no less — is enough to get this Catholic’s attention:
GQ: Your new movie is called Friends with Benefits. Ever been in one of those relationships?
Mila Kunis: Oy. I haven’t, but I can give you my stance on it: It’s like communism—good in theory, in execution it fails. Friends of mine have done it, and it never ends well. Why do people put themselves through that torture?
It’s certainly refreshing to hear someone of notable fame expressing good judgment in regard to what we Catholics (and many others alongside us) recognize as two great evils: communism and promiscuity.
Swindle, who is himself a member of Generation Y, writes:
Don’t expect the trend of a rebellious youth culture to continue indefinitely.
That is certainly good news, if he is right. Still, he makes the argument from a perspective that is based on reason alone. I don’t think Swindle holds exclusively to the “reason only” philosophy, but since he uses reason only in his argument, I’d like to address that.
Swindle makes the point that it’s not conducive to self-preservation for one to be “sticking one’s privates in a blender“. Is this what Kunis was referring to when she said “torture”? I’m not sure. Maybe she was talking about the torture of hell. Would it be too presumptuous of me to suggest that? I have to ask because I don’t know anything else about her. Whatever her intention may be, those who base arguments on reason alone do have an easier time convincing people of their arguments than we Catholics do, I suppose, as we have to argue for “moral reasoning”, not just “reasoning”. Making the argument against promiscuity based on health consequences, or perhaps even sociological arguments regarding the practical benefits of bonding, is something we Catholics are charged with, too, but we are charged with the further burden of explaining the moral dimension that is bound to reason. Unfortunately, that part scares some people away…and always has.
Consider this history lesson from Fides et Ratio:
With the rise of the first universities, theology came more directly into contact with other forms of learning and scientific research. Although they insisted upon the organic link between theology and philosophy, Saint Albert the Great and Saint Thomas were the first to recognize the autonomy which philosophy and the sciences needed if they were to perform well in their respective fields of research. From the late Medieval period onwards, however, the legitimate distinction between the two forms of learning became more and more a fateful separation. As a result of the exaggerated rationalism of certain thinkers, positions grew more radical and there emerged eventually a philosophy which was separate from and absolutely independent of the contents of faith. Another of the many consequences of this separation was an ever deeper mistrust with regard to reason itself. In a spirit both sceptical and agnostic, some began to voice a general mistrust, which led some to focus more on faith and others to deny its rationality altogether.
In short, what for Patristic and Medieval thought was in both theory and practice a profound unity, producing knowledge capable of reaching the highest forms of speculation, was destroyed by systems which espoused the cause of rational knowledge sundered from faith and meant to take the place of faith.
Man’s own propensity toward self-interest (e.g., avoiding promiscuous behavior to preserve bodily integrity) works against him, in the end, because mistrust of religion becomes inherent in the way he observes facts. Reason inevitably becomes less important to him than self-interest. An example of this is Planned Parenthood’s rejection of science to promote an abortion agenda, something they would themselves have characterized as unthinkable a few decades ago.
I happen to know that Swindle believes, as we Catholics do, that man has a fallen nature, but I’m not sure he defines “fallen nature” the way we Catholics do.
Human nature since the fall of Adam. It is a nature that lacks the right balance it had originally. It is a wounded but not perverted nature. Since the fall, man has a built-in bias away from what is morally good and toward what is wrong. He is weakened in his ability to know the truth and to want the truly good. With the help of grace, however, he can overcome these natural tendencies and become sanctified in the process.
Let’s take a look at the particular subject: bad health consequences due to promiscuity. Certainly, even animals which possess perishable souls and no moral reasoning will avoid things that they believe are dangerous to their health and safety. Often, too, animals have long-term mates with whom they form a bond. But animals do, overall, engage in rampant “promiscuity” while not suffering from disease as a result. Imagine that. God has, by and large, reserved these consequences (“tortures”) first and foremost for humanity. Faith tells us “why”. Science may only tell us “how”.
Back to the “living under a rock” point. Personally and subjectively, I tend to think that “living under a rock” would be an appropriate term for those who actually know who people like Mila Kunis are…but then, I’m with the Catholic Church on the dignity of the human person…not Hollywood. Perhaps it’s understandable that Hollywood seems like a place “under a rock” to me. A dark and lifeless place. “Glitter” is not “life“. I take no offense at the suggestion, however, that I live “under a rock” because I didn’t know of this woman until she said something notably moral.
Fortunately, I know that Swindle knows that I love him, respect him and appreciate him. We are friends, so he won’t take our difference of perspective on “why Kunis’ comments are good” as a personal slam. In fact, we both agree they’re good for the same reason…but mine has a moral dimension, too. An important point, though, is that we both know and understand her remarks to be a good thing. I find comfort in knowing that Swindle and I (and perhaps Kunis?) will almost certainly vote for the same person in the general presidential election because we are both disgusted by the socialist philosophy, as well as any government policies that would directly promote promiscuity, not to mention any number of other ills in government that we both believe to be pulling our country into an abyss, economically and otherwise.
Isn’t that comforting? It is comforting to me.
On second thought, there is one troubling point he makes about Generation Y, on page 2:
And yes, after multiple generations that exploded the divorce rate in this country, you’ve got plenty of young people who are taking the institution of marriage a bit more seriously. (But don’t expect this to necessarily translate to being against gay marriage.)
Maybe Generation Y should look to the animal world for guidance on that one?
At least, here’s hoping that all of us who are generally opposed to the pro-promiscuity Left, socialism, etc., will eventually vote for the same person. I think we will…but then, there’s always a write-in option if the Republican supports gay marriage.
A round-up of some of the best punditry in the Catholic Blogosphere, courtesy of ThePulp.it:
“Why Is Mugabe Visiting the Vatican?” – James Kirchick, New Republic
. . .Mark Stricherz of Catholic Vote wrote about this here. . .
God & Political Science – Timothy Shah, Daniel Philpott & Monica Toft, PD
Exposing the Death Dealers – Amy Welborn, Crisis Magazine
Pro-Lifers Help Win Canadian Baby Battle – Maryann Gogniat Eidemiller, OSV
About Face on Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ – Joan Frawley Desmond, NCRegister
Abp. Jose Gomez: You Have a Duty to Confront This Culture – Cal Cth Daily
Fig Leaves & Falsehoods (Lying & Planned Parenthood) – Janet E. Smith, FT
Quaeritur: Selling a Rosary & Other Sacred Things – Father John Zuhlsdorf
Paternalistic Violence in the New World – David, The School of Salamanca
Monster Baptism & Chemical Pregnancy – Doctor Stacy Trasancos
The Sistine Chapel, In the Depths of Wales! – Richard Collins, The Guild
If you liked this roundup of the best posts from around the Catholic blogosphere, visit ThePulp.it for daily updates twice a day.
The same-sex marriage debate is heating up in Maryland, and our Bishops continue to fight the good fight. Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore, and Bishop Francis Malooly of Wilmington together wrote a statement condemning the State Assembly’s vote to approve of same-sex marriage, and urged Catholics to continue mounting opposition. This drew the ire of Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director of something called New Ways Ministry, which is is described as a “Catholic [sic] ministry of justice and reconciliation for lesbian/gay Catholics and the wider church community.” He writes: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading