15 Responses to Cows and Governments Open Thread

  • Cheer up all,

    God gave us memory so that we could have roses in December; and peace and prosperity in 2014.

  • That is the spirit T.Shaw!

    Life under Obama. You have two cows. One is taken away because you are a one percenter. The other is taken away to pay for Obamacare. You are given a job with a green energy company that produces energy from cow droppings. It goes bankupt after receiving 750 million in subsidies. You spend the next four years initially getting unemployment and living in your Mom’s basement playing cow themed video games. Your Mom secretly wishes she could trade you for two cows.

  • Alas, I am bereft of clever thought this sunny (but frosty) midwest morning. Clearly, practicing law has taken its toll. Coffee first is needed, then I may return to offer wit (but not wisdumb).

  • All I could think of when I saw the picture of milk and the title about bovines is how much suckling at the teat of the public treasury is going on. At the risk of being offensive, I am not certain we will get all that much milk from bulls since cows are being avoided in our environment of sexual political correctness. Now that my mind has descended beneath the level of curb side, Confession is in order.

  • US “Capitalism”

    You have 2,000 cows. You hire lobbyists to prevent anyone from ever owning just two cows (or a cow and a bull) because complying with regulations would be too expensive to comply with health, safety, &c, &c, &c regulations. To top it off ask for price subsidies.
    Then bemoan the death of the family farm.

  • Modern liberal feminist university:

    You have two cows. You bemoan the oppression of the cows at the hands of the bulls. Calves also oppress the cows by drinking the milk. No cow should have a calf because that is oppressive. The cows should be put on birth control at the taxpayer’s expense. Planned Calfinghood will take care of any calves that dare to be conceived. The two cows should be allowed to marry, because any relationship with a bull constitutes rape. The more butch of the two cows sues to be allowed to fight in a bull ring in Spain. It dies. The surviving cow becomes a professor of wymyn’s studies. It is indistinguishable in appearance from the human professors of wymyn’s studies.

  • Eye of the Tiber. Definitely worth checking out.

  • Pinky, Eye of the Tiber is hilarious! I hadn’t come across that blog before.

  • So why then do we want the government to take away our fellow citizen’s money?

    If we raise taxes on the rich, we end up paying. They just raise the prices of the goods they sell (and we pay), or they ratchet it down and buy less, or they they shut down or move away. We lose.

    A rising tide really does lift all boats. Class warfare creates the sort of socialist utopias that are unraveling as we speak, in Europe.

    When will we wise up. Never, That’s when.

    Thanks.

  • On 6 November 2012, 50.1% voted to continue to plunder the rich, the US Treasury, and posterity. And, they voted for “revenge.”

    This is hugely unsistainable and will collapse. Likely, the end will not be gentle or peaceful.

    Thank you, 50.1%!!

  • Feudalism:
    Some milk taken by the Lord.
    Pure Socialism:
    Your cows put with others, you take care of all, gov. gives you milk you need.
    Bureaucratic Socialism:
    Your cows with others cared for by chicken farmers, you care for chickens, gov. gives milk and eggs specified in regulations.
    Facism:
    Gov. takes cows, pays you to care for them, sells you the milk.
    Pure Communism:
    Neighbors help you care for your cows, and you share milk.
    Russian Communism:
    You care for them, gov. gets the milk.
    Cambodian Communism:
    Gov. takes cows and shoots you.
    Dictatorship:
    Gov. takes cows and drafts you.
    Pure Democracy:
    You have cows, neighbors decide who gets milk.
    Representative Democracy:
    You have cows, neighbors choose someone to tell you who gets milk.
    Libertarian Anarcho-Capitalism:
    You have two cows, sell one, and buy a bull.
    Bureaucracy:
    Gov. what to feed them, when to milk, pays you not to milk, then take the cows, shoot one, milks the other, throws out milk, you fill out forms re: missing cow,
    Pure Anarchy:
    You have cows, milk them, and either sell at fair price or neighbors take them and kill you.
    Surrealism:
    You have giraffes and take gov. required harmonica lessons.

    When there are no more cows left, will there be giraffes and who will care?
    Seems the best interest of the cows and family lies in the first choice.
    No wonder that Jesus added the Great Commandment to His Father’s Ten. If we can get to the point of having no other gods before God, then we can love our neighbor as ourselves. And the cows will be OK.

  • Well … found this at Instapundit.
    It deals with governmental things and mentions milk in the last sentence.

    ” , November 17, 2012
    In 37 Chicago Precincts, Romney Received No Votes

    NBC Chicago reports:
    The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that in 59 Philadelphia precincts, Mitt Romney did not receive a single vote. So Ward Room decided to look at the results in the president’s hometown, and see if he won as many shutouts here. The answer: no. Romney was rejected by every voter in only 37 Chicago precincts, an embarrassing result, given that segregation and Machine politics are two of our city’s most notable qualities.
    Any doubt there was some vote fraud? Check out this comment on NBC Chicago’s website:
    In critical swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois there are a lot of precincts in Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Chicago which reported 100% of their votes cast for Obama. These add up to many 10’s of thousands of votes for Obama and 0 for Romney. I repeat, 0 for Romney. I have read a number of articles about this and people knowlegable in Political Science and Statistics are starting to take notice of this.Statistically, even if among 10’s of thousands of voters all wanted to vote for Obama, it would not be possible to receive 100% of the vote because at least a few would make a mistake and vote incorrectly for Romney. Not to mention the fact that a least a few of those 10’s of thousands might actually disagree with Obama. These types of election returns are only seen in countries run by dictators.
    Just a reminder to those who want to get rid of the electoral college: corrupt Chicago voting practices could and would determine an election. Vote fraud occurs in Chicago because the U.S. Attorney doesn’t want to conduct a simple investigation of those 37 precincts. Is there similar hand writing on any of those ballots ? Did any dead people vote ? Since Chicago lost 6.9% of its population in the 2010 Census : were any of those 37 precincts in the declining population wards? Maybe, if Chicago had a legitimate U.S. Attorney some of these questions would be answered. No word on this story from “alleged” former crime fighter and Obama “protector” Patrick Fitzgerald. Is Barack Obama and the U.S. Attorney’s Office afraid of this milk story???
    Posted by Steve Bartin “

  • So PM are you saying that instead of talking about cows, we should have been discussing whether to count chickens before the eggs are even laid?

    Chicago Precinct Hen House:

    You have two American Leghorn chickens whom you expect to lay one egg each. You don’t want a leghorn victory, so you stuff a cork in each chicken’s cloaca, go to the store, and buy five dozen Rhode Island Red chicken eggs and distribute them between the two nests to ensure the desired outcome. If anyone questions this, you call them a racist for questioning a clear mandate for Rhode Island Reds. The local chicken breeder’s newsletter is silent on this event.

  • A.S.,
    The cows were fine and all, it’s just that I thought the many chickens involved in the farm were worth a place in the open thread. Maybe ID’s for eggs would pre-empt use of unreliable electronic methods.

    By the way of natural chickens, there’s a great population of RI R’s near here – they were free ranging during a Country Fair this past October, where they were the biggest hit for children when their tenders set up hourly chicken races by using feed for incentive. Plain fun and laughter.

Planned Parenthood, What Happened to the Money?

Tuesday, June 22, AD 2010

A US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report has brought out an interesting mystery in regard to the federal funds given to Worse Than Murder, Inc, aka Planned Parenthood:

A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on federal tax money funneled into Planned Parenthood and similar organizations raises more questions than it answers about the nation’s largest abortion chain.

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2 Responses to Planned Parenthood, What Happened to the Money?

Two Reasons Why Government Drives People Crazy

Wednesday, September 30, AD 2009

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1.  Lack of Common Sense: Lisa Synder, of Middleville, Michigan, pictured above, decided to help out a few friends get their kids safely on the school bus.  For free she allowed three other moms to drop off their three kids at her house.  The kids wait for an hour and then Snyder and another mom escorted the three kids and Snyder’s child to the bus.  Some neighbor with way too much time on his or her hands complained to the State and now Snyder faces possible misdemeanor charges for running an unlicensed daycare center!  That’s what you get for being a good samaritan Lisa!  A Republican state rep.,  Brian Calley, is attempting to pass legislation so that the resources of the state are not arrayed against moms helping each other gratis to keep kids safe.

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16 Responses to Two Reasons Why Government Drives People Crazy

  • The Senate Finance Committee (with 5 democrats) shot down the Government Option.

    We still have hope.

  • Tito,

    Zombies are already dead but they keep coming at you. The so-called public option is a zombie.

    You cannot kill it until you kill its master. The master of the Zombie is socialism and socialism’s masters are ignorance and Lucifer.

    Without a fundemental addressing our the philosophy of government we are only chopping at the branches. The root is still sick and no matter how many sick branches you purge the tree will still die.

    This is why people who are becoming aware of the sickness, finally, are seemingly being driven crazy by government.

    We need leaders who follow the rules – The Ten Commandments and the Constitution.

    We get the leadership we deserve. Obviously we don’t deserve much that is good judging by ALL the elected idiot’s actions.

  • The reason they attacked Lisa Snyder is because she’s white and all those kids are white. I’m telling you… it’s RACISM.

  • Pauli,

    I didn’t know you were a liberal. 😉

  • It should be fairly easy for these neighbors to identify the neighborhood kid-hating curmudgeon who called the law. Someone might be cleaning raw eggs and toilet paper off his house and lawn the day after Halloween.

  • You can criticize corporations all you want, but you have to admit there’s no private sector equivalent to this kind of meddling. Only government can be this boneheaded.

    On that note, I’ll share a little personal anecdote about a recent government experience of mine: I recently applied for a position with a large, local law enforcement agency as a statistical analyst. I have completed graduate work at the Ph.D. level in a very rigorously quantitative discipline (including extensive work in statistics, although it’s technically a degree in policy analysis). I’ve also done quite a bit of research on criminal justice policy and law enforcement — in fact, I co-authored a book about the LAPD. So I was probably a bit overqualified for the job — but hey, it’s the worst recession since the Depression, right? Any job is better than no job.

    Guess what? This agency said I was not qualified for the position because — wait for it — I didn’t have at least an associate degree in statistics! Never mind that I could probably teach statistics and econometrics at the university level — I didn’t go to a community college and get that stats major on my diploma.

  • Pingback: National Science Foundation causing online porn shortage!
  • Government always chooses form over substance and judging from the last election so do a majority of the people (of course most, if not all, were ‘educated’ in government schools).

    Credentials have their place; however, competence is often measured by the actors efficacy and not their assertions.

    j. christian, count your blessings that they rejected you. Sure it is better to have income than not have income; however, being trapped in a job managed by people who are more interested in your 13th grade math skills than your adult analytical skills will kill you — slowly.

    The biggest problem with the entrenched government fiefdoms is that if they actually become efficient and effective at their stated mission then they might actually end up undoing their own fiefdom. Preservation of the status quo and expansion of the budget rules the day with government. Incidentally, that also rules the day with corporations that seek government monopoly-guarantess instead of market competition.

    Many Americans cannot articulate that but they know it in their gut – that is why so many, and not just the right-thinking intellectuals (boy that is a loaded term, perhaps thinkers is better) are upset and seemingly being driven crazy by government.

    As a wise leader once said, “government is NOT the answer, government is the problem.”

  • Where did you get the 61.34% number? Fox News? Forgive me if I don’t take ol’ Grover’s facts and figures at face value. Fox is propaganda, pure and simple.

    #1 leaves me wanting more information. The way the information is presented makes me a little suspicious (not of the government, but of the context).

    #2 is simply picking the WORST example and then assuming that the entire federal government is the same across all agencies. I’ve seen a lot of “waste” in private business too.

    I guess nowadays a socialist is anyone who doesn’t hold the government in complete and utter contempt. There used to be a little more nuance in our political beliefs than there is now. Because I can’t hold the government with the same contempt that you all do (I’ve seen a lot of waste in private business- it just doesn’t get reported like government figures do- it doesn’t make me feel better just because my tax dollars didn’t go to it), I guess I must be a Marxist…

  • John,

    74.317% of what you said is hyperbole.

    😉

  • Distrusting government is an American principle.

    Socialism isn’t. Being an active socialist isn’t the same thing as being ‘tolerant’ of socialism but the result is the same.

    Private business does waste and it is punished for it by competative forces.

    Government is a monopoly – there is a reward for waste and no consequence.

    That is the difference. Humans are fallen and weak in the government and in private industry. One rewards our fallen nature, the other doesn’t.

    Distrusting government and encouraging anarchy are not the same thing. The drafters of the Constitution distrusted government because they knew it would be administered by sinners. They didn’t advocate anarchy becuase anarchy is free reign for sinners.

    The developed a balance – LIMITED government. Any logical, God-fearing, patriotic American loves their country, wants a limited government and inherently distrusts it.

    As for Fox News, if that is in fact where the statistic came from, may be better than most mainstream ‘news’ outlets, but it still sucks and is probably a tool for controlled opposition.

    Nevertheless, the fundemental philosophy of politics is far more important than temporal results and statistics.

    John, you may or may not be a Marxist, but accusing the rest of us of painting ALL government with that brush is ridiculous. I haven’t seen one post that espouses that. I also think you have to be blind not to see a Communist conspiracy working in the shadows under the guise of liberalism and progressivism.

  • John,

    The title of the post is “Two Reasons Why Government Drives People Crazy,” not “Two Reasons Why All Government Is Socialism.” True, the tone can be a bit contemptuous at times, but that’s the frustration talking — springing as it does out of anecdotes like the ones shared here.

    As for the percentage of the year worked for the government: I have no idea what the exact number is, but some groups estimate and publish it, and it’s certainly not a low figure when you add in federal, state, and local taxes on property, income, sales, etc. Not to mention fees, fines, and other hidden “taxes.” It’s a fair question to ask: Do we get our money’s worth from all this spending? Maybe there is a better allocation of resources, maybe not. With federal budget deficits running into the trillions, I’d say it’s worth asking.

  • I’ve seen a lot of “waste” in private business too.

    No doubt. However, when a private business fails, it tends to go out of business. When a government operation fails, it tends to get a bigger budget. That’s not a recipe for success.

  • No doubt. However, when a private business fails, it tends to go out of business. When a government operation fails, it tends to get a bigger budget.

    Plus, if a gov’t–well, any non-profit-based-funding group, I suppose– agency manages to slim down for a year or two– they lose their funding, which screws them when something big comes along that they _do_ need to spend on.

  • “This year the cost of government day was August 12, 2009, the day when the cost of government was paid for the year. We spent 61.34% of national income on government this year. I am curious as to how many of our readers believe we are getting our money’s worth.”

    We’re not, and as the blessed William F. Buckley, Jr. once noted, “Thank God we don’t get all the government we pay for.” Off to your rosary now, American Catholic but before you go, thanks for the opportunity to see more examples of why a constitutional republic based on any principle of equal rights for all citizens is inconsistent with a welfare state.

God or Government Spending: Choose One?

Sunday, April 5, AD 2009

Correlation isn’t causation. That said, I thought this from the Wall Street Journal was interesting:

A recent study of 33 countries by Anthony Gill and Erik Lundsgaarde found an inverse relationship between religious observance and welfare spending. Countries with larger welfare states, such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark, had markedly lower levels of religious attendance, affiliation and trust in God than countries with a history of limited government, such as the U.S., the Philippines and Brazil. Public spending amounts to more than one half of the GDP in Sweden, where only 4% of the population regularly attends church. By contrast, public spending amounts to 18% of the Philippines’ GDP, and 68% of Filipinos regularly attend church.

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One Response to God or Government Spending: Choose One?

  • Hmmm…

    I would be sad to discover that the only reason people ever went to church in the past was to get social services now provided by the government. That would be too simplistic, anyway.

    What I question is the direction of causality here. Did government programs simply push out private charity, or was private charity not up to the new demands of an industrialized society?

    I think it is true that material success tends to weaken religious conviction – in the US the more prosperous areas are the more liberal and less devout (if we measure this by church attendance) areas.

    This is because man gets in his head the notion that he “doesn’t need God” anymore – that he is entirely self-sufficient. Do people here remember Durkheim’s study of suicide, where he found that there was more of it in Protestant countries than Catholic due to higher levels of social integration in the latter? People have criticized the study but I think the essential finding is valid – where there is more social integration and community, there will be more religious devotion. People realize that they are not entirely self-sufficient or entirely alone, at the mercy of the state or the market. The presence of others, the feeling of being supported by something beyond one’s self, has a psychological effect.

Should The State Get Out of the Marriage Business?

Wednesday, March 18, AD 2009

As people wait for the results of the California Supreme Court’s review of Prop 8, Douglas Kmiec and one of his Pepperdine Law collegues have put out a proposal that the government get out of the marriage business entirely, and instead bestow “civil union” certificates on households of any configuration or persuasion.

Instead, give gay and straight couples alike the same license, a certificate confirming them as a family, and call it a civil union — anything, really, other than marriage. For people who feel the word marriage is important, the next stop after the courthouse could be the church, where they could bless their union with all the religious ceremony they wanted. Religions would lose nothing of their role in sanctioning the kinds of unions that they find in keeping with their tenets. And for nonbelievers and those who find the word marriage less important, the civil-union license issued by the state would be all they needed to unlock the benefits reserved in most states and in federal law for married couples.

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27 Responses to Should The State Get Out of the Marriage Business?

  • Just to be clear, you’re advocating that the government recognize what we call “natural marriage” because that is the only path that respects both marital dignity and does not allow — on a widescale — activity and arrangements sanctioned by the state as permissible when it contradicts our basic human nature? Yes? If so, I agree.

  • Yes.

    I suppose to be really precise: I’m saying that we as Catholics should advocate that the state define marriage as what we recognize as “natural marriage”.

    We shouldn’t just cede the point and say, “It doesn’t matter what the state calls marriage or if there even is a civil marriage, because we as Catholics define marriage in our own sacramental way which isn’t the same as civil marriage.”

    Because we as Catholics see natural marriage as a moral good and potential channel of grace, we should exert all possible efforts to keep marriage as it is recognized by the boarder society in keeping with our understanding of natural marriage.

  • How would the civil acknowledgement of permanent, gay unions actually do harm natural marriages?

  • is that a real question?

  • Yes. Based on DCs explicit reasoning, the question is still not answered.

    This says nothing one way or the other about my own beliefs on the matter.

  • How would the civil acknowledgement of permanent, gay unions actually do harm natural marriages?

    I’m not sure that’s exactly the right question. My claim isn’t that “gay marriage” would hurt natural marriages (as in, couples with natural marriages) but rather that from a Catholic point of view we should seek to maintain in the wider society a cultural understanding of marriage which is as close as possible to the Catholic understanding of natural marriage.

    Natural marriage is just that: Natural. A pair of human mates. And so as such it’s necessarily between a man and a woman.

    So my reason why it would be problematic to acknowledge gay unions as if they were marriages is that it sends the wrong cultural message as to what marriage is. And when people have a wrong understanding of what a fundamental social institution is, it will end up hurting them and society as a whole.

  • Mark,

    If the state sanctions something, it is considered to be a right, or a good. We would, in effect, be recognizing all couples as equal, when in a sense a same-sex union is not equal to a heterosexual union, though all people are equal in dignity. It is a false anthropological and ontological presumption.

    It is the epitome of relativism in that everyone vows to kill the debate rather than find the moral virtue to debate toward the truth in a civil manner. The sense of peace is a false one, based entirely on a false premise — that all unions are equal and that the state should make no sort of moral presumptions.

    Additionally, these unions are what creates families and it will open the wrong door in the debate over gay adoption. If the state treats all couples equally, then there is no reason why gays should be prevented from adopting; at best, religious and private institutions wouldn’t have to participate. In essence, the common good is entirely undermined. Revelation set aside, it occurs to me as a homosexual, that the psychological and sociological evidence have not confirmed (nor as a Catholic trusting in the truths of my faith do I suspect they will) that children being raised by same-sex parents will grow up no differently than children raised by parents of the opposite sex — which reflects the natural design in which children are biologically created. In some sense, children are reaffirmed as commodities that people have a “right” to and not as precious gifts. The reason that our culture is suffering right now is particularly founded in our misunderstanding of marriage and family — from the intrinsic feature of bearing and rearing children as a part of married life. Our contraceptive mentality has opened the door to see marriage just as a personal fulfillment with no intrinsic obligations as MM suggested and the result is, there should be no reason to exclude anyone from it.

    The point is this: if we were to have the state adopt a marriage neutral stance, we would be at the point of America over a generation ago when contraception was introduced as a moral-neutral choice for couples, which has done nothing but spiral into an out of control erosion of the family and marital dignity.

    The solution to our cultural struggle doesn’t strike me as a compromise more interested in “peace,” in the sense that no one argues or debates about it, but rather to seek by just means, a recognition of this basic natural institution of marriage that is knowable to some extent by reason. For if we continue to allow our culture to ignore and deny the existence of fundamental truths, we further obscure our sense of God and human nature and are only failing ourselves in trying to save as many souls as possible by relativizing the truth for the sake of not arguing about it.

    Such relativism is already expressed in the terrible misconceptions of American legal positivism. In the Supreme Court case, Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, it was stated in the ruling that: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” This may in fact be the moment where relativism was in itself enshrined into law, where the autonomous man now is convinced that we have the right to define — not discover — the truths, moral or otherwise, of the universe. Unless we are willing to admit that there are moral truths written onto the very fabric of our human nature and live according to them, there will be no true human flourishing and we only damn ourselves, if not by God’s mercy in the next life, certainly with more problems and moral qualms in this one.

  • Although I agree that the state OUGHT to affirm only natural, opposite-sex marriage as “marriage,” I also believe that given the state of current legal precedent, legal recognition of same-sex marriage is probably inevitable, barring some kind of miracle.

    In fact, civil marriage as we know it today already has lost all of the elements Catholic teaching says are essential to marriage — permanency, fidelity, and openness to children. No-fault divorce killed the first two elements, and abortion/contraception killed the third.

    Personally I think it was no-fault divorce (which freed couples of having to prove some kind of justifying serious reason to divorce, and allowed them to dissolve marriages by mutual consent, or simply at the whim of whichever spouse wanted out), rather than contraception (which, let’s face it, a lot of couples probably practiced on the sly anyway), that really started marriage on a downhill slide. No-fault divorce makes marriage one of the few, if perhaps the only, legal contract that CANNOT be enforced against the party that wants to break it.

    DC, you argue that recognizing gay unions “sends the wrong cultural message” regarding what marriage is. I say, no-fault divorce already did that. The horse is, in essence, already out the barn door.

    With that in mind, I could accept some kind of arrangement under which everyone — gay, straight, platonic or whatever — can legally enter a civil union or partnership that makes the participants each other’s next of kin, and is not called “marriage”, as a lesser evil to simply being forced to recognize same-sex unions as legal “marriage.”

    A complete separation between religious and civil marriage — such as exists in other countries where religiously observant couples go through two ceremonies and clergy do not sign off on marriage licenses or certificates — may end up being necessary if only to protect religious marriage from the encroachment of the state, which will, I am sure, eventually demand that anyone who performs legal, state-sanctioned marriages must not “discriminate” against gay couples.

  • Heck, if the state is going to get out of the marriage business, why go half way? Really get out of it–no civil marriage, no civil unions, no joint tax filing, no marriage penalty, no civil divorce, no guaranteed inheritance. Require everybody not related by blood who wants to form a partnership of any kind to go through the trouble of enshrining it in legal conracts and powers of attorney. Leave “marriage” to the churches, where it might actually mean something. Fewer people will marry–but chances are fewer will divorce.

  • Elaine’s right about no-fault–that’s what started this on the slide to hell. The real battle needs to be a gradual rollback of no-fault.

    I somewhat sympathize with cminor’s idea, but I’d like to try something else first–a two-tiered marriage system, like that which exists in at least one State (which one escapes me). Namely, you have (1) the old, broken no-fault system and (2) “covenant” (IIRC) marriage, which is fault oriented, and much more rigorous and difficult to end, especially where there are children. I also believe that there are more benefits for couples who choose the old route. You could call the latter marriage and leave the rotted-out no-fault system for “civil union” status.

    [As an aside, the no-fault system has always been why the so-called “conservative case for gay marriage” has been a flight of fantasy–it’s domestication powers are clapped out, let alone trying to transform a subculture.]

    The state still has an interest in marital bonds for reasons wholly independent of marriage, starting with those “new citizens” we call children, property, inheritance and the like. It’s grown organically for a reason. If you go to a pure partnership/contract system, you are ultimately proposing another social revolution, more sweeping than no fault divorce, with unforeseeable consequences. “What can it hurt?” is one of the more horrifying phrases in history.

  • Don’t mind me, Dale–I had my snark on. Is it Arkansas that has covenant marriage?

  • cminor:

    Yes, I think it is Arkansas.

    Oh, and don’t sweat the snark. It’s not like I never use it. 🙂

  • DP- don’t forget corollary to “what could it hurt,” as postulated by M. Shea:

    ‘How were we supposed to know?”

  • DC, you argue that recognizing gay unions “sends the wrong cultural message” regarding what marriage is. I say, no-fault divorce already did that. The horse is, in essence, already out the barn door.

    Elaine, I recognize the point that no fault divorce and contraception have already hollowed out civil marriage and left it with little resemblance to natural marraige, but I think it probably goes too far. Allow me to indulge in thinking out loud a bit here:

    It strikes me that the idea of natural marriage boils down to saying: mating matters. When a human person forms a mating bond (to sound all nature special-ish, if you don’t mind — it’s the Darwin coming out in me) the Church says that that person incurs certain moral and social obligations to fidelity and openness to life whether that person realizes it or not. (And indeed, whether that person is “married” in any formal sense or not. It strikes me this even applies to common law marriage type situations.)

    Now, since the Church holds that when you start a mate relationship with someone, you incur the moral obligations of natural marriage, it would seem logical from a Catholic that it would be good for both individuals and society if society sends the message that entering such a relationship comes with those obligations.

    However, a great many societies throughout world history (and virtually all non-Christian) have allowed some sort of divorce — though in some societies it has been very much frowned upon. How much does that undermine the nature of marraige?

    I’m sure it undermines it, but I’m not sure how much. Marriage remains a relationship which is permanent unless some intervening force (a divorce) comes into play. It’s “natural” end point is death, though divorce than intervene and cut it off early. Thus the “happy ending” for marriage continues to be a “till death do us part” idea, even if half the actual marriages end in divorce instead.

    Similarly, while I think it seriously weakens marriage that the use of contraception (and the idea that people only have children when the intend to) is so widespread, so long as marriages consist of a man and a woman, kids tend to happen. (This is anecdote, not data, but over the years I’ve seen a great number of female coworkers get married, proclaim that they won’t have children “till they’re ready” and then get pregnant as a “surprise” within the next 24 months. Yeah, well, “Surprise!” but if you have sex regularly, even attempting to use contraception, you often end up pregnant.)

    So while I agree there are a great many assaults on marriage in our current culture, I don’t think that natural marriage is such a lost cause as it is. However, I think that abolishing civil marriage entirely and replacing it with a generic “civil union” which was equally available to opposite sex and same sex couples, as well as anyone who happens to share living space and wants some tax breaks, would serve to break down the awareness of natural marriage a good deal more in our society than it already is. Calling it a “civil union” and making it equal opportunity would, I think, tend to strip out a lot of the long standing cultural baggage which currently adheres to the “marriage” term. And that would be to the detriment of society.

    Similarly, although it’s true that no fault divorce makes marriage impermanent (and thus violates its meaning) it would be a lot _more_ destructive if civil marriage were set up to expire and need to be renewed every year. Sure, you can divorce any time with no reason, but there is at least the built in assumption that it will last till death _unless_ something goes wrong.

    It seems to me that going to a civil union only system (open to other configurations than one man/woman mate pair) would be more on the destructiveness level of having an annual contract version of marriage than on the no fault divorce level.

  • A fault in these discussions is, I believe, an implicit sense that the government in the U.S. [the State] is a moral government; that somehow the U.S. is the New Jerusalem, the City On the Hill.

    Now the U.S. government, or its elected representatives, may have done some good things. It has also done some horrible things. Slavery comes to mind, and that continuation of slavery which were the Jim Crow laws. Now we have child murder and killing off the elderly, and the disabled.

    As Catholics, we tend to think that we have a place in this State, this Society. But it is a place on disdainful sufferance: whether from the Protestant denominations or their cast offs, the liberal progressives. Many Catholics look for, and believe they have gained, acceptance from these groups. It is rather like the sufferance gained by Jews under Gladstone – “as long as they know their place”.

    Look around and you will find that the Catholics who have gained some acceptance have done so at sacrifice of their principles. One has but to read the articles in COMMONWEAL, The NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER, AMERICA [“THE” Catholic weekly – ah, the Jebbies].One has but to pay heed to the excuses by “catholic” college and university presidents that they wish to keep up with their academic colleagues.

    I believe it will be clearer if one remembers the treatment of the Church under the Roman emperors. At the moment, the Church in America has not yet been inflicted with open oppression. But it is blind to believe that it could not happen. And especially if so many Catholics act like the bishops under Henry VIII. “What can it matter?”,

    To the question at issue – marriage by two males or two females – state marriage in this country was the product of Protestant theology, itself a degenerative derivative of Catholic theology. Then divorce became easier; then the use of contraceptives [“what can it matter?”]. Now the prevalence of baby murder. And now the growth of pregnancies without “benefit of the banns”.

    It is difficult to keep human nature within bounds. Because it is difficult, it is said to be impossible. That is a cop-out.

  • Gabriel, I seem to remember reading an old Catholic marriage instruction book that my parents picked up (back in the 1950s) which quoted various papal encyclicals as saying, in effect, that since marriage was a divine institution the state really had no right to regulate it in the first place.

    I realize that what the popes in question were referring to were, most likely, civil laws allowing divorce and remarriage. Still, it sounds kind of ironic in light of the Church fighting so hard to MAINTAIN state regulation of marriage today.

    Also, didn’t Martin Luther insist that marriage was NOT a sacrament, but purely a civil matter? If that is the case, perhaps we can indeed thank the Protestant Reformers for our current situation.

    I thought it was Louisiana that proposed or tried “covenant” marriage; I don’t know whether they still have it or not.

    If I were queen I would launch a massive public education campaign aimed at reminding people of the benefits to society of as many children as possible having BOTH a mother and a father. I would also remind same-sex couples that there is nothing preventing them from drawing up private contracts with the aid of an attorney, or even acting as their own attorneys, to confer upon each other all the legal benefits of marriage, such as inheritance, health care decision making, insurance benefits, etc. Therefore their civil rights are not being violated by marriage being reserved for opposite sex couples.

  • While a debate on purely intellectual grounds is of great value, let’s try and approach this with the mind of the CHURCH:

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030731_homosexual-unions_en.html

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

  • Elaine,
    I can’t speak for all Protestants, but my dh, who was raised Methodist, says that in that church marriage is not a sacrament.

  • Elaine,

    I concur with your opinion of no-fault divorces, but I’d also like to add that contraception played a major role as well. As the procreative act had been torn asunder from the unitive act, a mental divorce between the two seeped into the mainstream where the act of getting married has become ultimately meaningless.

  • Elaine,
    I believe our problem stems from the short time [and it was short] in which the Church was heeded about such matters. The point I am trying to make is that the laws of the Church come first, the state laws second.
    Whether or not the State gets involved in marriage speaks to the morality of the State, not of the Church. For all that we are U.S. citizens, we are Catholics first. Fortunately we have [unlike other denominations, and even unlike Judaism] a central authority which speaks slowly and carefully and clearly on moral matters.

    Just as we are meant to rely on doctors when we have a medical problem, so we rely on the Holy Father when there is a moral problem. We Catholics are extremely blessed in this. This blessing we may have to pay for with the scorn of the mediums and the semi-catholic.

  • Gabriel,

    Assuming that we eventually have same-sex marriage in the future, it would certainly accelerate the decline in the sanctity of marriage as being another ‘option’ to go through the motions. Something along the lines of where Norway and Sweden have regressed to.

    That being said, we as Catholics (and I agree wholeheartedly that we are Catholics first and Americans second) can be shining examples of what a healthy and fruitful marriage is. We can be very counter-cultural and further raise our profile within secular society. We can certainly be winning more converts over to our faith and side in the long run.

    Besides, we procreate in more proficient numbers than contraceptive marriages do.

    Yes, I have a rosy view of the future, but I like it!

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  • Tito,

    Much of the problem with the changes is linguistic. Perhaps [if anatomical language is permissible] marriage should be defined as including the possibility of a man putting his engorged penis into a woman’s vagina. It does not include putting the penis into an anus, or sucking the penis, or licking the anus. The proponents of gay “marriage” use the respectability of marriage to distract from these common homoerotic actions.

    [Before anyone gets to annoyed by the words, I refer to 1 Kings 25:22 where David threatens “any that pisseth against the wall”. Which is to say, any male].

  • I should add to my comment that the Church does not recognize a marriage when the man is incapable of “putting…”. Or the woman of receiving.

  • I just love how everyone assures me that I agree with homosexual marriage.

    Gee, it’s so nice that there are mind readers willing to throw away MY beliefs in order to get in touch with what “younger people” think these days– gleefully ignoring that we don’t, in fact, all believe whatever they’ve decided to hobble us with.

    The only reason the gov’t really needs to be involved in marriage is because the union of a man and woman tends to result in new little citizens, and it’s in the gov’ts interest to make sure those little citizens grow into law-abiding, stable, productive big citizens.
    A stable mother-and-father type home is the most effective way to do this.

    I really wouldn’t mind some kind of a contract to fix the most common complaint of homosexual activists– I really don’t think you should *have* to be married to someone in order to visit them at the hospital. Sexual activity has nothing to do with that– the older widows and widowers that I’ve known who are cared for by non-relatives who have to jump through a dozen hoops to get the folks who are acting as family…. oops, I’m digressing…..

    Anyway:
    When two men can accidentally find themselves pregnant, then I’ll consider if homosexual marriage might be a civil rights issue.

  • Also, please bear in mind that these are the best legal minds of the law school that produced a nationally known expert in (breaking) federal corruption law — none other than former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who liked to boast about having gotten a C in his constitutional law course.

  • But what happens when one questions the functions of marriage based on public versus private interests? A good intro is here:

    http://squarewondotorg.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/prop-8-and-circular-reasoning-part-iii-bound-to-the-consequences-or-the-rules-of-freedom/