Monday, 16 January 2012

Same-Sex Marriage

Click on this image to enlarge text
In the not too distant future the ruling members of the Vatican will hopefully  don sackcloth and ashes when they realize the immense harm and pain they have caused their own flock as well as the rest of the world.

Noted author and religious scholar Karen Armstrong  in her latest book, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life’ (2011) makes this brief but powerful comment about the Catholic Church:

“In the Roman Catholic Church, popes and bishops have ignored the suffering of countless women and children by turning a blind eye to the sexual abuse committed by their priests”. 

Catholic apologist today like to distract its members from the real issues (primarily concerning sins committed in the pelvic area) by pointing fingers into the other direction and claiming that they are merely victims of religious persecution.
One recent example of identifying other isolated victims comes to us from the Catholic NewsService  whose author Mark Pattison writes  "several US Bishops (along with more than three dozen U.S. religious leaders) signed a joint document voicing their concern that they are being forced to treat same-sex unions 'as if they were marriage."

   This very un-Christian letter or document takes up the argument, not so much on religious grounds, but rather on the impact same-sex marriages will have on legal and domestic grounds.  For example the signatories warned that ‘Religious employers would "face lawsuits for taking any adverse employment action -- no matter how modest -- against an employee for the public act of obtaining a civil 'marriage' with a member of the same sex”.  The real question then should be ‘exactly whose rights are being denied? Since the details are readily available to the readers, I will leave it to them to form their own opinions.

When this item first appeared online through various Catholic websites I quickly posted my thoughts on the subject as follows:

"Reading this letter is like reading the instructions for building a fortress or assembling missiles. The overwhelming essence this message conveys is one of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of offending the authorities, the legal system, the insurance industry and an even greater fear that legalization of same-sex marriage will somehow undermine or even destroy so-called family values. Nothing can undermine what we hold true in God!

Has anyone noticed that there are several key words missing in this text? There is not a single reference to God or love? Be assured that when fear steps in the Holy Spirit steps aside. This has allowed some of our more vocal religious leaders to rely on temporal support for their argument rather than trusting in the unconditional love of our Creator. Allow me to paraphrase the last paragraph of this document accordingly: The value of marriage (mixed or otherwise) when honoured between two loving people and blessed by God transcends any society or government. God rather than worldly institutions and opinions must be the only true foundation of all societies".

As expected several conservative individuals immediately jumped in at the opportunity to properly denounce people with homosexual tendencies.  These fervent Christians are convinced that they have the full support of God, the magisterium and a vast majority of similar thinking laity.

In response to my posting one contributor wondered if I was crazy because I talked too much about God's unconditional love.  At the same time he/she voiced the opinion that I lacked the intelligence to provide an explanation that would reach God's logic.  When I suggested that perhaps other readers might benefit from his/her definition of God’s unconditional love, I received this reply:

 “If all that is required for a marriage is love, then why limit it to just two people, why not love between two of more people?  Why discriminate against these other kinds of love? On the other hand, keeping marriage between a man and a woman, as a means to bond and create a family is consistent and logical.  Once you get rid of this definition, then pretty much anything goes”.

At this point most readers would probably recommend  I not respond to such an outrageous comment.  Sorry, but I did.

“Dear . . .  From reading between the lines it appears you have a problem with persons with sexual preferences or attractions that are different from yours. There are cultures and traditions in many parts of the world where a marriage involves more than two people. Is that wrong? If so, why and according to whose standards? Many biblical heroes and figures such as Abraham and David had more than one wife or concubine. The list is quite long. If the sole purpose of keeping a marriage between a man and a woman for the purpose of creating a family what do you say to those families where one of the two partners is infertile? To jump to the simple conclusion that if we DON'T limit your definitions of love then ‘anything goes’! If that is all it takes to break your connection with God then He is no more than your average weak human being. Or at best a god created in our own poor image.
As for lust that is something that is equally shared by both heterosexual and homosexual couples. But your comment begs the question ‘how will the average God fearing individual know, when and if homosexuals or lesbians, etc. are indeed involved in that sinful sexual act? The catechism is at least more generous than you toward people of the same sex by telling us that we must love them – perhaps for some not the act. We could all do with trying to be more compassionate and less judgmental toward each other. Lets therefore again focus on the real meaning of God’s unconditional love”.

And that was the last I heard from our very convinced anti-gay friend. May the spirit of compassion and understanding fill his heart and bring him peace.

Before you leave this page, I would ask that you click and enlarge the picture that accompanies this article in the begining.  It has some interesting things to say about marriage taken from the Bible.  

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