Shits, it's 3:58!
This is kinda random, but I really appreciate the fact that I don't adopt any sort of "blog persona" when I write in here. I can't stand people who are overly pretentious, or who act like they're the smartest or most interesting people alive. My blog might be dry, or sometimes random, but I think we can all agree that it's me, pure and simple.
OMF, Halloween! We had like, three trick-or-treaters come to our door, lol. VG Cats had a funny Halloween comic.
I know it's 4 am, but I slept for an hour and a half on Antoine's couch earlier tonight, so it's okay. Actually, it's probably not okay. I should go to sleep. What the hell is the matter with me?
Today's been kind of weird. I haven't gotten much done in regards to homework. I did, however, take my oral exam for Political Science, and I got a good grade! So excited! Also, we sorted out the crap with the Internet/cable bill, so things are okay for now. That took care of a lot of stress!
Gee, it looks like I get to write a letter to the Madison Catholic Bishop next!
It has always bothered me a lot when Catholics are very gung-ho about their anti-homosexuality. Because according to Catholicism, the reason homosexual sexual relations are wrong is because there is no chance for the couple to reproduce. So if a Catholic is going to condemn a homosexual because of their immorality, then they should also condemn every person they know who is having sex while using birth control. Which probably includes themselves.
The first thing I did was make a Facebook group. I didn't have time to go through my entire Friends list, so I just added people in Madison who go to St. Paul's...and also Eli Judge, who's in charge of my campus' chapter of Students for a Fair Wisconsin. If you'd like to join, go here. The group is global. You should invite other people, too. The group is supporting a boycott of mass in Madison on Sunday, November 5th. I already have two members (including me)!
The bill isn't just about gay marriage - I don't think most people who intend to vote yes realize that it also bans civil unions for all people in the state of Wisconsin, whether they're straight or gay.
Labels: college, politics, religionscribbled mystickeeper at 3:58 PM
Way to stand up for equality. Just so you know there's going to be a 5th National March on Washington(dubbed March for Marriage). It's happening on March 21st, 2008 and will focus primarily on marriage equality. Check out the website www.marchformarriage in a week or two. It's still under construction right now.
“As the shepherd or leader of our Diocese, the bishop is the chief teacher of the Catholic church in our 11 counties.” - says the editor of the Catholic newspaper.
Yes, follow your shepard, you sheep. Don't you love how they always say "I'm sick of reading this bologna?" So I guess civil rights is bologna now. we're not the ones talking about society collapsing because people get to have legal benefits with their chosen partners. It's not like this will change the frequency of homosexuality, gay marriage would just ensure that they get treated the same.
I'd like to hear someone actually defend the pro-ban argument in a way other than "because I think marriage is between a man and woman and it would be bad to think otherwise."
Ouch. Mocking religions is definitely the best way to ensure that everyone gets treated equally. How about a little respect from the people that are so enlightened that they need no historical perspective or direction on moral issues. Why can there be no distinctions in the world? Just because you recognize someone is different and you don't feel your society must be changed to cover that difference and every other difference that arises is that terrible? Isn't embracing differences about accepting those differences instead of trying to convince other people through legislation that they don't really exist? (keep in mind I'm not talking about "civil unions" here. I'd be down with a don't ask don't tell policy that allows you to do whatever you want behind closed doors and doesn't cause you to get financially screwed.) I should also mention that I consider rebuttals comparing this to race discrimination lacking. One man one woman marriage has transcended essentially all cultural boundaries in both time and space while race discrimination in the 1960s was mostly a US issue where people were deprived of rights they actually were entitled to by preexisting laws.
Of course, I think there's something to be said for the "why does this need to be a law" camp where I find myself. Isn't this a matter for individual churches rather than the state or national government? That's the part I don't understand.
All I'm looking for is that the government get out of peoples sexuality - all of these churches can be as bigoted and hateful as they please. It's none of my business, really.
Paul: I don't think it was Steph's goal to mock Catholicism (indeed, she is Catholic herself). I think what she meant was that she felt it was inappropriate for a priest or bishop, who preaches the word of God to a captive audience, to be issuing mandates to their "sheep" on how to vote. You feel differently on this issue.
Personally, I'm only for Catholic intervention in politics as it relates to Liberation Theology (which I'm absolutely certain you disagree with). I'm okay with the Church encouraging people to fight oppression and obtain the right to vote. Once they have that right, though, the Church shouldn't tell its members how to vote and how not to.
I do like how you said you need no historical perspective on moral matters, and then at the end of your comment, justify the support of banning anything that is not marriage between one man and one woman because it "has transcended essentially all cultural boundaries in both time and space."
I understand that race discrimination in the 1960s was at the time a mostly US issue (except for, I don't know, South Africa being ruled by white people), but was bi-racial marriage only an issue then? If I use the Bible to guide my moral judgment, then can't I point to the passage where Miriam and Aaron admonish their brother Moses for marrying an Ethiopian woman?
It's not just the United States that had such heinous laws, but Israel, Germany, and South Africa as well. I know - since this transcended time, space, and cultural guidelines, it must be a moral truth.
Just because "everybody's always done it that way," doesn't make it right. I mean, cripes, the role of women as submissive, thoughtless beings transcended nearly every culture (and definitely has a lot of basis in the Bible, if we're going to go there) in every time period on the planet until the last couple of centuries. Does that make it right? No.
You're right that moral truths don't change. But as people evolve and come to have a modern moral standard, they come to identify social laws and mores that are simply not right.
I must not have been clear in my post. I was admonishing people who act as though they do NOT need a historical perspective or any moral guidance apart from their own conscience to make a decision.
By accepting guidance from a church you are opening yourself to a body of thought that is beyond your own, which I feel makes you think more critically about an issue.
In anthropology we studied marriage across culture. Our book pointed out that polyandry is not unheard of in places like Tibet and polygamy is very common across all cultures. Isn't it equally fair to redefine marriage to include these groups? I know this argument has been made many times, but I've only heard people brush it off and say polygamy is bad and not the same issue.
Wasn't the whole idea of marriage to sanctify and legitimize men and women getting together to raise a family? I think that we as a society have a right to say that we will recognize certain unions for the common good and we will not recognize others that are not for the common good (I'm just saying gay marriage doesn't meaningfully contribute to the future good of the group, not that gay people are against the common good).
Of course there have always been gay people and in some cultures they were not oppressed, on the contrary they were given a unique status in the community (I'm thinking southwest American Indians here). Yet I'm not aware of any culture that considered a homosexual union to be on par with a traditional marriage open to the rearing of children.
Jackie you are quite wrong about women being submissive and thougtless across cultures. There are MANY examples of matriarchal societies were the roles of men and women are nearly opposite of the European model we are used to. If you are looking for specifics here I should be able to provide them with a little time. Every other civil rights issue I can think of has some historical precedent, but not gay marriage as far as I'm aware. Are we really more enlightened than any other civilization that has ever lived?
I also find the use of rhetoric such as "hateful and bigoted" applied to opponents of same sex marriage unfortunate. Hateful is not giving a damn what someone does. Many believe it is actually charitable to prevent people from doing things that are against the "natural law." It is analagous to excommunication being an act of mercy rather than an act of hatred. This is of course a whole other issue that has started many a war.
'sorry for the rambling nature of this post.
My view of marriage is that it is socially acceptable, government regulated sex.
I guess I've just never seen a case for why homosexual sex should be regulated different from heterosexual sex.
Procreation is a bad argument, because no one is similarly arguing that senior citizens or women with hysterectomies should be regulated differently.
But if there are studies related to same sex couples raising children, it might be interesting. I have anecdotes, but as I'm fond of saying: data is not the plural of anecdote :-)
There can be distinctions in the world, but in sensitive places where they breed apathy and prejudice, it is a better idea to abstain from marginalizing members of society. Inclusion is a very good method when you're trying to break stereotypes, fear, and reduce violence against high-risk populations (think LGBT hate crimes.) Not to mention, other than reproduction (which I will adress later), there is no need to distinguish between gay and straight partnerships.
Financially screwed? Homosexual people only make up 5-8% of the population (if you need documentation I can whip it out for you via the NHSLS). Keep in mind not all of them will want to be married. You can't tell me that that will drastically affect your taxes. Even if it did, is money more important than making people comfortable in their own world? (I've got a textbook of scientific studies for you to read if you're convinced that homosexuality is a choice, the truth is that nothing is proven but there's substantial evidence toward genetics and biology). Good to know money is more important to some people than civil rights. Besides, if you're going to play the cash card, you'd have to include civil unions, too. Allowing civil unions adds to your tax tab, too, especially since there would be the possibility of any straight person getting one, not just 5% of the population of Wisconsin. You want lower taxes? There are plenty of other ways to reform government spending that don't create inequality.
If race discrimination was mostly a U.S. 1960's issue, how do you explain the former/current hate between: china/japan/korea, arians vs. nearly everyone, portuguese vs. indigenous south/central americans, or the majority versus northern spain? These are the big ones everyone knows but I guarantee you there are racial tensions in many nations. Hate and fear are dangerous, but natural, primitive responses of human beings. It's something we need to fight, not brush under the rug and shout "tradition!!"
"By accepting guidance from a church you are opening yourself to a body of thought that is beyond your own, which I feel makes you think more critically about an issue." - no, ACCEPTING is not thinking critically. You should always listen to opinions (I'm still waiting for a good one in regard to this ban that doesn't involve money or superiority complexes), but then weigh the evidence and decide for yourself. It is the responsibility for a large, influential body, such as a church, to propose issues objectively, so as to protect the younger or naiive members of society from blind compliance. Some people aren't capable of educating themselves on issues or are just too lazy. It is underhanded to take advantage of that. Besides, churches have a unique position with the ability to condemn people to eternal damnation, even though it is difficult to differentiate between the individual opinion of a religious leader and God himself. How much is Father Such-And-Such and how much is Jesus? People aren't likely to question, religious leaders are supposed to be people they can trust, not people working their own agenda.
I've always been of the mindset that we should use history and tradition to learn from our mistakes, not perpetuate them. You cannot use tradition as proof of what's right, especially in a constantly evolving society. I can also provide documentation that among college students in Wisconsin, more and more think homosexuality is ok. The entire scale has shifted, so much so that 20% in each ranking have moved toward a positive view. This makes a dramatic change. When large groups of people steadily change their minds, it is not just a social reorganization that should be ignored in the legal system.
I agree with Antoine. Besides, reproduction of the species was an issue in the early days of the nation. They encouraged you to breed when the state wanted to outnumber their opponents in a war featuring hand-to-hand combat. They encouraged you to breed when they were trying to build a nation. They encourage you to breed when aliens are wiping out our population. War has switched to impersonal, mechanized combat, our nation has been built, and as far as I know aliens aren't taking us out. Most people these days don't have a persistant urge to reproduce for the sake of making more people. So aside from ensuring that the human race doesn't die out (which would only be possible if EVERYONE was gay) and trying to avoid an economic downturn (which certainly cannot be caused by 5% of the population growing old and not producing heirs to care for them and make money for the nation), pairing for reproductive purposes has become a thing of the past. Regardless of what the Bible says, our society and culture has moved on from sex for the sake of offspring to love and companionship. NOT TO MENTION THIS BAN, PASSING OR NOT PASSING, DOES NOT AFFECT THE NUMBER OF HOMOSEXUAL PEOPLE TO BEGIN WITH, reproductive purposes should not be a factor in whether or not homosexual groups have equal legal rights.
You're wrong about matriarchal societies, Paul. Yes, there are some, but in anthropology you actually learned that the ratios are far off in favor of patriarchal societies. It must have slipped your mind. In traditional Chinese culture, women were bargaining tools, used for bearing sons, second class citizens in the institutionalized social hierarchy. In latino culture, women are publically held to different standards than men, the machismo/marianismo idea. What about traditional Muslim groups? When the government turns a blind eye to women being stoned to death for things men can get away with, that is a fine example of women being second class citizens. These are just the more striking male-female gender roles, by and large, with the exception of a few African tribes in which women are aggressive, women were (and still are in some places) culturally forced to submit to men.
You would also remember that polyandry is quite rare, (Tibet is one of the only countries listed in the textbook) and polygamy is more common. Polyandry is usually only instated when land is scarce and several sons need to split their parents' property. Having one woman and several men of the same family reproduce prevents territory from being split into tiny, inefficient, portions. It is entirely functional and in our government there is a greater need to protect individual's rights than to split up property or reduce the male to female ratio gap.
Some countries have honored positions in society for transgendered individuals. You are right, certain native american tribes are among them. They go as far as calling it a third gender, which I think is awesome. Contrary to your accusation, there is a place for homosexual people in contributing to future good. In nature there is a "childless auntie" role, much like an aunt or grandmother would play in traditional heterosexist society, for helping socialize and raise children, sharing the burden. Not to mention the surplus of orphaned children in foreign countries could be reduced by allowing more childless homosexual couples with legal rights adopt them. (Don't even start; children raised by gay parents are no more likely to be gay than children raised by heterosexual parents. Their mental health is not different from children of heterosexual parents and neither are their social skills and relationships. Would you like citations?)
By and large I find your opinions to be typical of a white, male, christian. Whether you want to admit it or not, I was in denial for a long time too, there are benefits to being male, there are privledges to being white, and there are most definitely privledges to being straight. Yes, you work hard for what you've got, but not as hard as someone who identifies in any of those ways differently from you, if they were in your shoes. There are all kinds of benefits we take for granted every day because the majority is on our side. And do you know where the hardships for minorities come from? DENIAL and TRADITIONAL positions of government and society. (I hear Tim Wise is an excellent source on white privledge.) Until we break those traditional, automatic views we cannot move forward as a fair nation. Yes, it means you will be less likely to get a job in the future, you will have to compete more for housing than you do now, and you will not be embraced solely for they way you were born, but wouldn't you rather be recognized entirely for your character than at the expense of other people just as good as you but with a different skin color or sexual orientation? It's selfish to believe you're superior for your ascribed status in areas where your born identity plays no part. Personally, I feel guilty taking things I haven't earned.
When I said "polygamy" in the third from last paragraph, I meant "polygyny is more common"
First and foremost, you misread me when you quoted "financially screwed." I was trying to say that I don't think U.S. law could justly forbid people in a gay union from reaping the same financial benefits as married people. So in other words, it is not fair that gay people are financially screwed in that way. I completely agree that civil rights should come before money. It is mean and selfish to put money first. I have never advocated that position, nor would I ever.
My point in bringing up how other cultures have dealth with homosexuals is the fact that they recognize them for what they are. They don't try to integrate them into heterosexual institutions like marriage, instead they accept their homosexuality at face value and don't try to obliterate it into the vacuum of heterosexual marriage. It seems that this method preserves diversity instead of saying that gays can't be equal unless they are just like us and get "married." It is a situation like other minorities. Must they be forced to integrate so that life can go on, or can they preserve their own identities in a society where they are vastly outnumbered. I feel like by advocating gay marriage we are saying conform to what the majority knows and understands best or else there's really no place for you in this world. I guess I question why some gays themselves want to marry, apart from economic reasons. Aren't they really trying to be something they're not? Marriage certainly doesn't perfect a gay union or somehow make it more legitimate.
Thus, I feel it is hypocritical to praise a unique role for homosexuals as you do while advocating that they integrate into the majority's way.
I agree that homosexuality could be entirely genetic. It has a long history among humans and it certainly shows up in the animal world. I don't really see how this changes the issue. Some would argue that personality is genetic as well. Whether you believe it is moral to embrace a homosexual lifestyle is a completely religious matter.
As far as blind acceptance goes, let me explain. If you are Catholic you believe that Jesus is God and is always just. You also believe that, anticipating the fact that he wouldn't be in direct dialogue with humans after the resurrection, Jesus conferred on Peter the authority to make moral judgments in his name and found his church (Keys to the kingdom, whatever you loose on earth, etc.). So by Jesus's command Peter became the first pope and has subsequently passed on this role to every pope to become the vicar of Christ on earth. If you are Catholic you believe that when speaking by the virtue of his position the pope cannot err in matters of faith and morals. This belief that the Church, under the guidance of the pope, is the authentic interpreter of Chirst's teachings is what sets Catholicism apart as the Church founded by Christ. I am not a moral philosopher. I don't have the time or resources to inform myself of every issue that comes up. Thousands of people have alreay thought critically about these issues and I have confidence that Augustine and Aquinas and all the others who devoted their lives to reasoning through moral issues were able to come to reasonable conclusions. Therefore, I don't have reservations about accepting guidance from a church that has arguably been the greatest institutional champion of human dignity in history.
The Church teaches that every person, regardless of their sexual orientation is made in the image of Christ and must be accorded the respect that that belief demands. Like all sex that is not open to procreation, the church believes that homosexual sex is sinful. It is not necessarily sinful to tolerate homosexual unions or homosexual sex in the world, but it would be sinful to advocate, promote, or condone it just like it would be to promote adultery or fornication or whatever. So you can complain that the church is mean to homosexuals, fornicators, adulterers, and people that have sex with chickens, but at least they're consistent. If a Catholic cannot accept their church's teaching or authority they would probably better off praying about it instead of writing an angry letter to their bishop saying that their views are right.
You also assert that inclusion will prevent violence against minorities. Ideally yes, but 40 years after the civil rights movement blacks are still subject to a lot of hate crimes. You could even say the same for women who still disproportionately suffer abuse. I think it is very naive to think that allowing gay marriage will end hate against homosexuals. Unfortunately history has shown us that the best way to avoid persecution is to become the majority.
So we're looking back at history. What mistake are we trying to avoid again. That time when we said polygamy is not acceptable in the US?
I never said that the majority of societies are matriarchal. I said that there are many examples of matriarchal societies, and I stand by that (many African tribes, some ancient Greeks, and others). I thought that when I said "polyandry is not unheard of" I was indicating that I remembered it was pretty rare. But just because it may not be functional in the US doesn't mean someone who feels that marriage is between two men and a woman shouldn't also have the right to redefine marriage to their liking. It's all about being fair to everyone.
So in all of these societies where women are oppressed is the government supposed to change the culture through legislation? Or is the government supposed to reflect the culture? What would be the impetus for a law affirming women's equality where none of the people actually believe women are equal?
In the end it is all relative. I take the automatic and traditional position and say that disabled babies should not be euthanized. Some doctors in Europe feel differently. What's right, the traditional position or the newly emerging belief of medical professionals? If you believe that nothing is absolutely right or wrong you could equally say that murder is ok or stealing or adultery. Someone has to be right, so I'm just giving history the benefit of the doubt on gay marriage.
Funny how you decry stereotypes and then conclude by classifying my opinions as "typical white, male, Christian." Perhaps some more inclusiveness could break down this barrier.
I admit that I don't punish myself for being born white in a predominantly white society. But I don't think I'm more privileged than many minority groups. I think homosexuals can lead a fulfilling and successful life right now and I think many have.
There are many things that I would like to respond to, but I guess I take the most issue with the paragraph that was so obviously directed at me - the vaguely general statement about "a Catholic [who] cannot accept their church's teaching or authority." As this whole debate was inspired by my declaration that I would write a letter to my bishop, I can only conclude that this general statement was in fact intended for me.
First of all, it isn't any of your business what a person who is grappling with their faith does and does not do to fix it. Personally, if a person doesn't struggle with the teachings of their church at least a little bit, it means they're not actively thinking about it. My faith would mean absolutely nothing to me if I hadn't got to where I am today by wrestling with complex issues such as these. How can you blindly accept rules without thinking about them? I cannot do that within good conscience - not when the stakes are so high. Indeed, I highly doubt that God would want me to. So, Paul, while you are perfectly content to allow church officials to do your thinking for you because you feel that they are wiser than you are, I cannot do the same thing.
And for your information, my goal in writing a letter to the bishop would not be to say that I personally am right, but that even if the Catholic Church is right, that members of the Church should respect the fact that not everybody is Catholic. People who do happen to be Catholic can be instructed on what faith means and what the Church believes, but as for telling Catholics how to vote? Inappropriate. I wasn't intending to write a letter to the bishop outlining why he should change his opinion on gay marriage, but thanks for putting words in my mouth.
As for my personal choice that I have to make based on what would be best for me and how to wrestle with the fact that I "cannot accept [my] church's teaching or authority," I will now quote a passage from Huckleberry Finn because it describes my dilemma exactly. This is from the part where Huck is grappling with whether or not he should turn in Jim, a runaway slave. Huck's society and the Christian faith both tell him that it's sinful not to do so.
It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray; and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was, and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from me, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting on to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth say I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger's owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie - and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie - I found that out.
The most important part about my relationship with God is honesty. Without it, what is the point? What's the point in trying to "fix" the most important relationship in my life if I'm asking for something that I don't want? I can feel what is true inside of me, and I do believe that the Holy Spirit dwells inside of each person, and tugs them toward the truth. I will not let what I know to be a moral truth be obscured by what society says is right or wrong - or, indeed, what even people inside of my church says is wrong.
What I pray about to God is entirely business, but on this I will agree with Huck Finn - I cannot pray a lie. And if this makes me horrible blasphemer, than I can only echo the words of Huck: "All right, then, I'll go to hell."
You would probably be better off sticking to the argument at hand, and not telling me how to be Catholic.
I guess where we differ is that I don't see a gay person as fundamentally different in their world-view and life goals as a straight person - it's just about whom they wish to fuck.
You also commented that "Marriage certainly doesn't perfect a gay union or somehow make it more legitimate," which is definitely true.
But I would also agree if the same comment where about any marriage, gay or straight.
It's my opinion that gay folks want to marry for the same reasons straight people do: to enjoy the civil benefits of a government recognized pairing, and to enjoy the social benefits of stable monogamy.
Marriage can mean a lot more than that to a lot of people, but I don't see why I should force those reasons on other people, or have them forced on to me, via the state.
Jackie I completely agree that it is irresponsible to accept blind directives. I thought I made it clear in my last post that I don't do that. Take evolution for example. The Church has not yet codified any doctrine addressing natural selection, but the popes have made personal statements suggesting that they favor some kind of intelligent design view. I have a serious problem with that , but I trust that the church would never err by making a dogmatic proclamation that belief in natural selection is heresy. If somehow that did happen I would feel a need to synthesize my view with that of the church, whether I could ever do so I don't know, but that would be my ultimate goal. I personally find it laughable to think that my mind should always trump the collective opinion of Western civilization.
Any Catholic who is advoacting gay marriage is saying that they've closed the argument. There's nothing left to think about or wrestle with. It's a done deal that they are right and the church is wrong so they can legitimately encourage a position contrary to the Church's teaching. If one even acknowledged the possibility that the church could somehow be right but they just don't understand how it would be preemptive to actually promote their position right?
I guess I question how many Catholics who hold the church's teachings in outright comtempt ever make any effort to come to some kind of understanding with those teachings instead of acting externally to effect dissent among others in the style of American politics. The reports of people walking out of Mass when hearing the bishop's message shows the gross ignorance of even many church-going Catholics.
I don't know whether you ever listened to the bishop's message. I did and I didn't feel that any marching order to vote in a certain way was given. It was unquestionably non-partison--opposing the death penalty and embryonic stem cell research, while favoring the the man and woman prerequisite for marriage.
I am absolutely dumbfounded when I try to think of the error committed by the bishop in advising Catholics in a catholic setting not to promote sin. This couldn't be a more perfect job description for a Catholic bishop.
The whole keep your faith personal idea that is so often advocated in the United States is the complete antithesis of Jesus's command to spread the gospel (always with charity of course). The isolationist view of religion seems to come from the Puritans and Protestants and has unfortunately infected Americans' world view. The same is true of people's personal relationships with God. Catholicism, in the spirit of Jesus himself, has always stressed that we must act as a community. We come together as a community to praise God and we also must confess because any sin against God is also a sin against the community. Many people say they are spiritual, but not religious and opt to bypass the institutional church for a completely personal relationship with God. That's ok but it's not Catholic. It is Protestant and American.
I apologize if I offended you. I just believe the exact opposite-- that it is another person's business what someone does or does not do when they have a problem. I would hope that people and especially other Catholics will dialogue with me about issues I struggle with, like evolution.