February 3, 2009

Stumbling Down the Logical Aisle

Justin Katz

Ray Hodges' ruminations on the morality of same-sex marriage are reasonable and presented with an even temper. Just so must be the tone of any dialogue on controversial matters. Unfortunately, his argument is a wholly erroneous construct, collapsing under the weight of misapprehensions, categorical non sequiturs, and an a priori conclusion.

The flaws emerge right at the beginning, when Hodges notes that his "question about gay marriage is not why [he, as a Catholic,] should be concerned about legalizing an immoral activity." Of course, the sexual acts to which he refers are already legal. The dispute, in the civic sphere, is whether those sexual acts are sufficiently indistinguishable from those associated with traditional marriage to negate all legal methods of treating the latter as unique. By the end of his letter, having determined to his own satisfaction that homosexual behavior is not immoral, Hodges admits no additional considerations prior to the leap to marital equivalence.

To take up that further argument, however, would rush past the fact that Hodges errs in hinging his reasoning on the false synonymity of "natural" and "moral." Indeed, immorality — sinfulness — comes so naturally to humankind that, we Christians believe, God offered a law to His chosen people (who had a terrible record of obeying it, thereafter) and ultimately went to the length of sacrificing His own Son to free us from the inevitability of sin and death. Natural law, in the Catholic Catechism, is not related to the popular notion of appearing in nature, but to "the original moral sense which enables man to discern by reason the good and the evil, the truth and the lie."

Even in secular terms, one need only trace the effects of humanity's foibles on civilization to see that morality seems most often to be a denial of "natural" tendencies. Marriage, itself, is meant to regulate the natural urge, especially among men, to stray from the families whom heterosexual activities tend to create. It is a foundational institution in our civilization's progress away from raw nature.

Mr. Hodges is free to brush aside core teachings of his Church, such as the critical importance of tradition, but the rejection of a theological worldview does not constitute a case for the innovation of same-sex marriage. We all want to be compassionate, and most of us wish to increase the world's sum of happiness, but radically altering the meaning of marriage is not a path toward either end.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

[Five-steps-too-far comment deleted. — JK]

Posted by: Mike at February 3, 2009 8:10 AM

Oh and let's not forget the progressive's "couple of the year".
Sedonio Rodrigues and Raymond Grenier of Bristol, a "married" couple who had their progressive friends turn over 4 little boys from DCYF for their enjoyment. When the regressive Bristol police had the nerve to listen to these little boys tears about the repeated anal rapes ("superior behavior" in progressivespeak) the progressives of the state banded together to get the progressive "LGBT favorite" Patrick Lynch to cut them loose with no jail time. Remember when Lynch got cornered on Helen Glover's show about this case and stammered out a reply including the non-sequitor that at least these progressives would be required to register as sex offenders?
Well, you will be "shocked" to learn that Lynch lied and these 2 progressives did NOT have to register as sex offenders. Search the registry your self:

Hey Rhody-are the 2 progressives pal yours?

Posted by: Mike at February 3, 2009 8:24 AM

Theological worldview? What's that?

"Marriage, itself, is meant to regulate" - where did that come from?

Aren't we, generally, on this blog against regulation? If we seek the truth with Jesus' love as the only measure, shouldn't all state regulation of love be banned? Isn't true love enough to prevent man/woman from "straying", just as our freedoms make other good choices more virtuous?

Posted by: George at February 3, 2009 9:34 AM

Theological worldview: An understanding of the world based on a theological construct.

Regulation needn't be thoroughly government-described. Political libertarianism is only feasible in a society that has cultural controls in place (see John Adam's suggestion that democracy is suitable only for a moral people).

Enforcing a mere definition that requires no more than that the relationship be between one man and one woman (not otherwise closely related) is a very light government touch, indeed, compared with the necessary invasions that would be required to ensure that "marriage" remains a relationship between intimates, let alone to compensate for the damage done by an utter destruction of marriage.

Posted by: Justin Katz at February 3, 2009 10:23 AM

Justin, there are many worldly forces to which a marriage may succumb. When the marriage is spiritually grounded, worldly forces have no power against it. Man's idea of marriage may be threatened simply because it is man's idea. Being man's idea it is merely an illusion. A spritually grounded marriage based on unconditional love has no enemy. Barney Frank has the power to destroy my home's value, but he has absolutely no power over my marriage.

The debate would better serve the state of marriage if it were focused on how it can be improved instead of obsessed with some people's perception of what might lead to its destruction.

Posted by: George at February 3, 2009 11:43 AM

There Mike goes again, embarassing himself to the point where Justin has to give him a timeout.
Mikey's jihad against gay marriage is probably a more eloquent argument IN FAVOR of gay marriage than anything I can possibly say. Society benefits when Mikey's kicking, screaming and tantrum-throwing goes unrewarded.
Back on topic, as long as nobody's pointing a gun to the head of the Catholic Church, fundamentalist Islam, etc. and ordering them to recognize gay marriage in their own affairs, gay marriage does them no harm. George and I probably come from different ends of the political spectrum, but he makes a pretty sound argument.

Posted by: rhody at February 3, 2009 2:10 PM

Hey Rhody (Sedonio?):
"as long as nobody's pointing a gun to the head of the" progressives and "ordering them" to recognize polygamy "in their own affairs" it "does them no harm".
Yet progressives persecute polygamy with the intensity of their anti-Christianity.

Posted by: Mike at February 4, 2009 8:07 AM

The idea of "christianity" has been distorted and twisted by extemists at both ends. The dogma that has led to crusades, inquisitions and witch trials is man-made to suit agendas. The idea is to be Christ-like. I haven't seen any evidence that Jesus would take such a fearful and mean-spirited stand.

Posted by: George at February 4, 2009 11:19 AM

[Invitation to self-harm deleted. — JK.]

Posted by: rhody at February 4, 2009 3:01 PM

"Fearful and mean-spirited" can be a matter of perspective. No doubt there were some among those whom Jesus rebuked for one thing or another who thought Him unreasonable.

Posted by: Justin Katz at February 4, 2009 7:35 PM

Apologies, Justin. It's just that if a certain individual is going to gratuitously call someone out here in such crude terms, it's going to draw a response. It's your forum and I cannot tell you what to do, but there's an individual here who has gone above and beyond the pale.
If this individual's behavior is going to be permitted here (without allowing those the individual attacks here to respond), are you condoning said behavior?

Posted by: rhody at February 4, 2009 9:23 PM

There's nobody whom I snip more often than Mike, but I'm not seeing how you're an innocent bystander to the escalation in this thread.

Posted by: Justin Katz at February 4, 2009 9:32 PM

Oh, I haven't escalated. If this garbage wasn't permitted, I wouldn't have anything to respond to in a way you find distasteful.
Just take it as an example of what happens when someone is allowed to call an individual out like that AND it's allowed to stand.

Posted by: rhody at February 4, 2009 9:50 PM
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