Tom Hoopes at CatholicVote.org recently posted his assessment of what lessons the “gay marriage” debate has taught those of us on the pro-tradition side. I was going to write about this myself, but I’ll go ahead and examine his four lessons as a starting point. My intention is be constructive, because as Hoopes correctly points out in his opening lines, the pro-equality side of this debate has been very successful at defining the parameters and central issues of the debate thus far. We need to assess and regroup. If Mr. Hoopes would like to reply to this, I would certainly welcome it.
“1. We learned that being grossed out by homosexuality hurts us.”
Hoopes recalls a discussion with someone raised by homosexual parents:
“What people like my mom see in the religious right is people who say, ‘Ooo, this is icky and disgusting and horrible,’ reflexively, without explaining why,” he told me. “Then my mom and her friend look at their own lives, at their sacrifice and friendship and generosity and say, ‘Well, these people are just hate-mongers.’”
“There is no reason we should feel special disgust at homosexual acts compared to any other sexual sin. And there is no reason we can’t appreciate the mutual friendship and authentic love in a long-term homosexual couple. If we know what marriage is, a thousand such couples shouldn’t in any way threaten us.”
“Disgust” is a very peculiar phenomenon in that it is neither irrational nor easily expressed with words. Animals in nature have the physical senses to warn them of potential dangers; human beings in society have certain social senses to ward of certain dangers as well. I can’t explain why rotting garbage smells “bad” (even if I can offer a scientific account of why it smells the way it does); I affix the label “bad” to it because it is something I want to avoid, and I want to avoid it because I have an involuntary gag reflex that triggers when I inhale the odor.
Homosexual behavior is repulsive to us because it is harmful to society (more on that later), and we are social beings. The comforting narrative that homosexual activists have developed – that any aversion to homosexuality on the part of a heterosexual is a sign of repressed homosexual desires – is a way of making their positions and lifestyles unfalsifable. If you accept them, great. If you don’t, it is a sign that you secretly do. There can be no legitimate opposition. If you think gay is gross, you probably are gay. A fascinating self-defense mechanism, but one not supported by a shred of serious evidence.
Next, homosexuals aren’t averse to displaying their hearty disgust with heterosexuality (their derogatory name for us is “breeder”) when it suits their own desires and interests. They also go out of their way to provoke anger and disgust with their unjustifiably obscene public marches through major cities, which I consider to be acts of violent ideological aggression against Western Christian civilization. So I’ll take their complaints about our disgust seriously when that word is publicly denounced and banished from their lexicon, and when they aren’t actively trying to provoke disgust in society at large. To imagine that you can deliberately dress, speak and act in ways that you fully know and intend to make people uncomfortable and offended and then complain about people’s discomfort and offense has a proper label: sociopathy. To acquiesce to it is a sinful act of cowardice.
One other thing is required: an acknowledgement that the pro-tradition side has developed rational, secular arguments in favor of its position, instead of a default assumption that it is all either based on “eww gross” or decontextualized passages from the Pentateuch.
As we enter a new year, I want to offer some thoughts on both recent events pertaining to the struggle to roll back abortion and the Culture of Death, as well as the historical significance of these ongoing efforts. In a sense, I will be delivering first the somewhat bad news, but then the encouragingly good news.
The disappointment lies in the political defeats of the 2010 election season, though to be quite honest, I and many others fully anticipated these defeats. In Nevada, Missouri, California, Florida and Montana, and there may be other instances I’m not aware of, propositions that would establish that life begins at conception (known as “personhood” or “human life” initiatives/amendments) failed to even appear on the ballot. Activists could not obtain the required number of signatures in these states.
The one personhood/human life amendment that did make it to the ballot, Colorado’s Proposition 62, was rejected by 70% of the voters in that state. One bright spot was to be found in Alaska, where a parental notification measure was passed with 55% of the vote. These defeats echo a similar wave of defeats suffered in 2008 across several states. Though this strategy has obviously failed, in almost every instance pro-life activists are preparing for another round of personhood propositions in 2012.
Please understand that I have nothing but admiration and respect for the pro-life activists who engage in these campaigns. They give up time and money to participate in the greatest moral cause of our generation, and for that alone they are to be commended.
But it is now time for the leaders and activists in the pro-life movement to reject the “personhood” ballot initiative movement. These efforts have failed more than once, they have diverted scarce financial, political and human capital away from more realistic pursuits, and the continued defeats could easily lead to a chain-reaction of demoralization within and desertion from the pro-life ranks.
On my personal blog, I discuss a disturbing video I saw on YouTube of a pro-choice “reporter” confronting pro-life protesters with some rather simple questions.
The King’s Men is an organization for Men to (re)discover what it means to be a man, a real man, a Catholic man as well as a manly Catholic.
As men we lead and protect the family.
We need to be active in the life of the Church.
We need to learn more about our Catholic faith and much, much more.
In today’s society and culture the role of men have been degraded, feminized, or ridiculed. Our roles as men have been degraded to eliminate ‘gender bias’ by militant secularist humanists. We have been feminized to the point of denying our natural gifts of being a leader, provider, and protector. And we have been ridiculed by being attacked as misogynists.
This has taken such a toll on our role as men, we have forgotten what it means to be a husband, father, and a leader in the Church.
Part 1 of 4:
One of the many things that makes Louisiana the greatest state in the Union is that due to its high population of Catholics it is the most pro-life state on the issue of abortion. This allows Louisiana to develop and pass pro-life laws that legislators in other states can adopt.
The latest laws are no exception, though perhaps they are too late. You may remember how in the healthcare debate, Catholics promoting the bill often pointed out that insurance often covers abortion and that the federal bill was doing little to expand coverage for abortion over the current private insurance system. Some in that camp obviously believed that the Republicans were too wedded to big business/insurance to actually change that.
I was glad they pointed this out, as it exposed a situation which I believed pro-lifers would soon rectify. Indeed, Louisiana is very close to doing just that:
House Bill 1247 by Rep. Frank Hoffman, R-West Monroe, would bar private insurers from covering “elective” abortions, including by women who are victims of rape or incest. The only exception would be for abortion procedures performed to save the life of the pregnant woman
Sen. Gerald Long, R-Natchitoches, who handled Hoffman’s bill, said it was filed in response to the health-care overhaul bill approved earlier this year by Congress, which gives states the right to “opt out” of covering elective abortions. He said the legislation is meant to affirm Louisiana’s long-standing opposition to abortion.Hoffman’s bill, which passed 28-3, must go back to the House for agreement with changes made by the Senate before it can go to Gov. Bobby Jindal‘s desk.
Hopefully more pro-life states will follow Louisiana’s lead.
But it does clearly show the problems with the positions adopted by Catholics who promoted Obamacare. They gave up on the pro-life movement’s ability to actually change things. While sometimes the GOP does justly cause pro-lifers to be close to despair, Louisiana shows that sometimes real pro-life change can come if only we work for it.
In recent months, primarily due to the health care debate, much attention has been given to the contentious issue of public funding of abortion. Though it is true that the status quo, for the most part, has been not to directly subsidize abortion, Americans have been both directly and indirectly subsidizing abortion in a number of ways virtually since its legalization in 1973. Continue reading
In my previous post, I argued at length against both traditionalist Catholic and left-Catholic critiques of American history, and Catholicism’s place within it. Now I believe it is time to shift from the historical to the contemporary. A recent article in Politico by Ben Smith, “Tea parties stir evangelicals’ fears” (which might have been better titled, “Ben Smith seeks to stir evangelicals’ fears”), makes what I consider to be a rather weak attempt to stir the pot and inflame tensions between libertarians and evangelical Christians. You know he’s reaching when he’s hunting down “Christian conservatives” whose primary concern with the tea party is that it is unduly harsh on the noble personal character of President Obama, who, according to one of these evangelical leaders, “provides a tremendously positive role model for tens of millions of African-American men.”
My eyes were rolling so hard I could practically hear them squishing around in their sockets.
The more substantive claim worth addressing is that there is a secular libertarian streak in the tea party movement that is partially or wholly incompatible with the conservative Christian social agenda, which one of the evangelical critics claims has “a politics that’s irreligious”. When Smith was schooled by an article covering a poll that broke down, and dispelled some of the more ridiculous myths about the tea party movement, he continued to maintain that the tensions he pointed out could become problems in the future. So they may.
It has been said that all politics is local.
And so it is.
I have had some issues with whom to vote for in the upcoming Texas gubernatorial elections. Especially with the Republican primary coming up and Debra Medina gaining fast on current Governor Rick Perry.
Insurgent Republican candidate Debra Medina was a asked a question by Glenn Beck on his radio show if she would deny that there was any government role in 9/11 and she hedged.
Mr. Beck followed up with a direct question and she still hedged.
Hattip to commenter restrainedradical. One of the two Tebow pro-life Superbowl ads has leaked. I can see why the pro-aborts fought tooth and nail to keep it off the air. In tandem with the other Tebow pro-life SuperBowl ad, it is devastating to them. For background to the ads go here. For the rest of the pro-life Tebow story, go to Focus on the Family here.
And here is the second ad:
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. The pro-aborts by their hysterical reaction made sure the Tebow story of how his Mom refused to abort him got broadcast over America for free. Now these two anodyne ads featuring a loving Mom and son make the pro-aborts look like the intolerant bigots they truly are!
Recently the City of San Francisco got to experience a peaceful and powerful Pro-Life march on January 23. In what is being billed as the largest gathering of Pro-Lifers in San Francisco ever, an estimated 40,000 volunteers from all ages, cultures, and nations descended on what is known to be the most egregious community of new Carthaginians in the country.
The March for Life in Washington, D.C. embodied the pro-life movement’s annual commitment to renew the fight against public policy and cultural attitudes that undermine and violate the sanctity of human life. This, for some, is not always the most pleasant experience.
A friend of mine who traveled to Washington, D.C. attended a pro-life student conference where the primary focus of the discussion was the future of the conservative movement in the wake of the current Democratic administration and Congress. My friend, Joseph, who is very lost in the world of politics did not care, nor could he fathom why at a pro-life conference the discussion could not drift away from advocating for lower taxes, tighter national security, and “less government in our lives.” He emphatically claimed that he “did not care about those things.” He would rather discuss, staying on topic, what can be done to promote a culture of life and to end the horror of abortion.
This altogether reminded me of the Texas Right to Life Gala back in October 2009. It was literally a Republican banquet, with the politicians present scoring points and boasting their rhetoric. The keynote speaker talked about supporting small businesses, lower taxes, opposing big government, the problems of “the welfare state,” national security, and a host of other traditionally-conservative concerns. Abortion was most certainly mentioned and only discussed within the greater picture of why less government is good, but it (abortion) and other life issues were not the focus at all. In fact, the keynote speech was about the evils of liberalism and why we should fight it by supporting the Republican Party. Suffice to say, I did not enjoy the event at all. It was designed for conservatives and this, in my view, is not good for the pro-life movement. Continue reading
My ignorance of sports is vast. However, I believe I now have a favorite quarterback. Focus on the Family has paid for a 30 second ad during the Super Bowl featuring former University of Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother Pam. When Pam was pregnant with Tim she contracted amoebic dysentery. Harsh antibiotics were administered to her to rouse her from a coma. She was counseled to have an abortion, being warned that her baby would be stillborn or live only a few hours. She refused to have an abortion and Tim Tebow came into the world.
“When the time comes as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I’ve often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God and a terror will rip through your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there will be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, ‘Spare him because he loved us,’ and God will look at you and say not, ‘Did you succeed?’ but ‘Did you try?'” – U.S. Congressman Henry Hyde
Deal Hudson at Inside Catholic wrote recently about the divisions in the pro-life movement over the Personhood Initiative, a nation-wide effort to legally define “personhood” as beginning at the moment of conception. The testing ground for the initiative was Colorado, where the movement’s founder, an admirable 19 year-old by the name of Kristi Burton, hails from. The lowdown, according to Deal, is that,
Colorado voters turned down the amendment by a stunning 73 percent to 27 percent, in spite of support from Focus on the Family, American Life League, and legal advice from the Thomas More Law Center. But the effort had failed to gain the support of either National Right to Life (NRTL) or the Colorado Catholic Conference.
Whether or not that extra support would have resulted in a less unbalanced result, I cannot say. For those wondering why the Catholic Conference, and many American bishops are hesitant to embrace the PI, the concern was apparently that if it were taken to, and shot down by, the Supreme Court, it would have the effect of “actively reaffirm[ing] the mistaken jurisprudence of Roe.” According to Deal, however, some Catholic bishops are reconsidering their position on the PI.
Not long ago, in the context of the debate over the efforts of Bart Stupak and the pro-life Dems, I wrote about pro-life pragmatism. I argued that the much-derided “incrementalism” is actually the most viable way of winning the long-term war against the abortion industry in light of the facts about where the American electorate stands on abortion. With respect to the PI, and with all due respect to the founders and supporters of this movement, I must reaffirm that position.
One of the latest noteworthy political rumors is that Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) is considering a run for Governor of Michigan. A Stupak victory would be a decisive pro-life victory for Michigan and drastically change the abortion policies promoted from the state’s Governor’s mansion.
Democratic Representative Bart Stupak, a leader of a drive to toughen anti-abortion restrictions in President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul bill, said he is “seriously” considering running this year for governor of Michigan.
Stupak told reporters last night he is “really concerned where we’re going as a Democratic party of Michigan,” and “I may very well be the strongest candidate because, as you know, I don’t do everything my party tells me.”
He said his independence, shown in the health-care debate by his insistence that an overhaul bill clearly ban federal dollars from being used to pay for abortions, “works well” in a general election contest.
Still, he said he won’t join the gubernatorial race if a “heavy duty” primary battle develops for the Democratic nomination. In such a case, his opposition to abortion rights would alienate too many voters.
Michigan Lieutenant Governor John Cherry earlier this month announced he wouldn’t run for the top job, leaving Democrats without an obvious frontrunner. Governor Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, is barred by term-limit laws from running again.
If Stupak joins the race, it would force Democrats to defend a House district that includes Michigan’s entire Upper Peninsula, an area generally friendly to Republicans. Stupak, a former state trooper first elected to Congress in 1992, was the driving force behind abortion restrictions included in the House’s draft of a health-care bill that now threatens to delay a final agreement.
Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska said ‘no-go’ on the most recent health care bill that Harry Reid and the Democrats have compiled. This most likely will derail President Obama’s efforts to have a Senate health care bill done by Christmas.
“As it is, without modifications, the language concerning abortion is not sufficient,”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-Life Secretariat just released a statement denouncing the defeat of the Pro-Life Nelson Amendment. In addition the USCCB will not support any health care bills that diminishes the Stupak Amendment that was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Here is their released statement in its entirety:
December 9, 2009
Bishops Call Vote a Grave Mistake and Serious Blow to Genuine Reform
Say the Senate Should Not Support Bill in its Current Form
Hope That House Provisions on Abortion Funding Prevail
BISHOPS DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED BY SENATE VOTE
TO TABLE NELSON-HATCH-CASEY AMENDMENT
WASHINGTON—“The Senate vote to table the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment is a grave mistake and a serious blow to genuine health care reform,” said Cardinal Francis George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “The Senate is ignoring the promise made by President Obama and the will of the American people in failing to incorporate longstanding prohibitions on federal funding for abortion and plans that include abortion.”
Bishop William Murphy, Chair of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said: “Congress needs to retain existing abortion funding restrictions and safeguard conscience protections because the nation urgently needs health care reform that protects the life, dignity, conscience and health of all. We will continue to work with Senators, Representatives and the Administration to achieve reform which meets these criteria. We hope the Senate will address the legislation’s fundamental flaw on abortion and remedy its serious problems related to conscience rights, affordability and treatment of immigrants.”