February 1, 2013

The Marriage Debate and the Nature of Things

(Photo credit: California Faultline/Wordpress)

(Photo credit: California Faultline/Wordpress)

By George Weigel

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago is, arguably, the most intellectually accomplished bishop in the history of the American episcopate. Earlier this year, when the Illinois legislature began to consider changing state law to “accommodate those of the same sex who wish to ‘marry’ one another” (as the cardinal put it), Professor George gave the readers of his column in the Chicago archdiocesan newspaper a lesson in metaphysics—and, I suspect, a high-voltage intellectual jolt:

Sexual relations between a man and a woman are naturally and necessarily different from sexual relations between same-sex partners. This truth is part of the common sense of the human race. It was true before the existence of either Church or State, and it will continue to be true when there is no State of Illinois and no United States of America. A proposal to change this truth about marriage in civil law is less a threat to religion than it is an affront to human reason and the common good of society. It means we are all to pretend to accept something we know is physically impossible. The Legislature might just as well repeal the law of gravity.

 

The crucial term here is “naturally.” And if people were shocked by the cardinal’s suggestion that a same-sex “marriage” law would be as fatuous as a statute repealing the law of gravity, it’s because our philosophically challenged culture has lost any grip on what “nature” means, beyond that physical world we venerate through such civic rituals as recycling.

There is little sense of the givenness of things, in the twenty-first-century postmodern West. And where there is no culturally affirmed conviction that some realities simply are, there will be a parallel intuition that everything is fungible, plastic, malleable: anything can be changed by an act of will. The legal ne plus ultraof this cultural phenomenon came in 2007, when the Spanish government allowed Juan to become Juanita on his/her national identity card by simply declaring (absent any surgical alteration) that he was now she. Cardinal George was suggesting, correctly in my view, that same-sex marriage is the same, essentially incoherent denial of givenness manifest in Spain’s Gender Identity Law 3/2007.

In his Christmas address to the Roman Curia last December, Pope Benedict XVI raised similar issues. We deplore the “manipulation of nature” today “where our environment is concerned,” the pope noted; but when it comes to human affairs, human “nature” has become a matter of our “choice.” Which means that we no longer experience ourselves as unique composites of matter and spirit. The “matter” of our humanness is mere ephemera; we are merely, as Benedict put it, “spirit and will.”

Who are the big losers, the pope asked, when societies and cultures lose their grip on the reality that “man and women are complementary versions of what it means to be human”? The family is certainly a loser: for if there is no “duality of man and women” that is accepted as the Way Things Are, than “neither is the family any longer a reality” established by anything other than our willfulness.

The biggest losers, though, are children, the pope argued. If children are simply a lifestyle choice in a “family” that is nothing other than a willed arrangement for mutual convenience, children lose their rightful place and their rightful dignity. Citing the chief rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, Benedict argued that children are, in this bizarre new world, no longer the subject of rights. Rather, “the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain.” The freedom to be creative, which finds its most awesome expression in procreation, has been reduced to the freedom to create myself, however I imagine myself to be.

The marriage debate is thus about more than the legal definition of marriage, although that is serious enough. It’s a debate about whether there are any givens in the human condition, or whether willfulness and self-assertion trump reality at every point. If they do, what happens to democracies built on self-evident truths?

Read the original article at First Things.


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  • Gus Ravenwheel

    And where there is no culturally affirmed conviction that some realities simply are, there will be a parallel intuition that everything is fungible, plastic, malleable: anything can be changed by an act of will.

    I would declare that there ARE some givens – some things that are inately and observably “Good” and “True.” One of those Things is this: A marriage relationship – one in which two adults commit to one another before God, family and community to be faithful, to love, to respect, to support one another… – that this marriage relationship is inately and obviously Good. Good for the family, good for the community and good for society.

    Look at and consider the man who loves his partner (male or female) – how he would support them, raise a family with them, respect them, give to them, give up for them, carry them when they are down, spend adoring, intimate time together… and vice versa. All I can see in that is beauty, grace, love, truth… whatsoever things that are obviously Good.

    Absent any evidence (and I have never seen any credible evidence. Ever.) to the contrary and the inate and obvious Truth of the matter on the face of it, why would anyone conclude otherwise?

    • Tim Vernon

      Two people of the same sex cannot “raise a family.” It is impossible to create a child from two eggs or two sperm cells. They may adopt children, or they may conceive one via turkey baster. It cannot be “their” child. Two lesbians may call themselves “mothers,” but that is absurd. Still need that sperm, and that requires a man – and his DNA. No court can change that, no legislature can make it possible for two people of the same sex to create new life together. That is why it’s appropriate to put “marriage” in quotes when referring to these situations. They make think they achieve “equality,” but they haven’t. They will never be equal in their ability to make a new life together. Two women may post pictures of “our” baby on Facebook, but it’s a joke. That child is not their child, never can be. They cannot combine their genes and pass them on – thank God.

      Man + woman = their child, genetically and otherwise, generally conceived in an act of love

      Gay + gay = NOT their child, “borrowed” DNA from an outside party, most definitely NOT conceived in an act of love. Passing semen around in containers is hardly “love.”

      That vile Melissa Etheridge conceived a child with sperm from the notoriously drugged-out David Crosby. This would sound like something from a bizarre science fiction movie, but unfortunately it’s real. Sadly, the people most likely to produce a “baster baby” are the worst sort of people. Decent people wouldn’t dream of doing something so bizarre.

      What a warped world we live in, turning the creation of life into a lab procedure. Pity the children in those situations, deprived of two loving parents who are its REAL parents. It is incredibly cruel to create a new life under such circumstances, to regard a child as nothing but a means of a gay couple thumbing their noses at normal couples.

      • Mark

        What’s also tragic is the huge amount of money selfishly spent by homosexuals (including some single women) in order to unnaturally conceive children. ART (artificial reproductive technologies) can get extremely expensive.

        What if that money were spent to help the many thousands of AIDS orphans in Africa? Or hungry children in The Dominican Republic? This is yet another moral outrage in this whole warped scenario.

        What drives this is an extreme selfishness rooted in a desire to force civil society to accept abnormal behaviors in order for a small percentage of people can FEEL better about themselves. These people are willing to turn society on its head in order to get their way. And many people in society will go along with it just to keep the peace…but they haven’t really thought about the matter deeply, and they haven’t truly considered the long term consequences.

        On one level this is simply a matter of semantics and definitions. You don’t call same-sex coupling “marriage” any more that you would call a cow a horse. They are fundamentally different. Even liberals, assuming an above-room-temperature IQ (presumptuous these days, I know), can understand that.

        For decades the same liberals who have given us the “shack-up” culture told us that marriage is an outdated social institution. Now they’ve suddenly found that it’s extremely important? Give me a break.

      • Tim Vernon

        Mark, I think we know that they didn’t suddenly “discover the joys of marriage,” it’s all part of the agenda to make themselves appear respectable. They still prefer the shackup culture, they just want the respectability of the marriage certificate.

        “Gus” dodged the main point of my earlier post and claimed I was anti-adoption, even though I did not say or even hint I was anti-adoption. The point of my post was that despite the “gay marriage” project moving ahead like a steamroller, there is not nor ever will be “marriage equality” in any real sense, because it is simply impossible for two men or two women to be equal to a normal couple in the ability to join together and create new life.

        I have a niece who works with an adoption agency, and she tells me that some of her conservative co-workers have shifted their stance on abortion, because they are seeing so many babies adopted by “gay couples” and even gay singles. My niece still thinks abortion is wrong, but she’s seen the horrible alternative. Gone are the days when a woman could hand her baby over for adoption, knowing that a decent married couple had been thoroughly screened and would provide a loving home for that child. Now it may well end up with two men or two women who have zero interest in the child’s welfare, they just have something to prove to normal couples, plus an undeveloped mind to indoctrinate. The data is in, given the excellent work of that professor who has had his name dragged through the mud over the detailed research he did on the children of “gay couples” and the sort of dysfunctional homes they are forced to endure, including frequent sexual abuse by the “friends” of their “parents.” Sad situation. Abortion is bad, adoption may be even worse, wouldn’t it be good if women would practice responsible birth control (paid for out of their own pocket, not mine) or (perish the thought!) stop sleeping around.

      • Gus Ravenwheel

        Tim…

        Now it may well end up with two men or two women who have zero interest in the child’s welfare, they just have something to prove to normal couples

        Do you have ANY evidence in the real world that gay couples adopt children for bad reasons any more frequently than straight couples? I’m sure that there are couples out there who DO adopt for bad reasons, but given the cost and trouble and investment involved in adoption, I have to believe that is pretty rare and I certainly see NO evidence in the real world to suggest that this is a problem for gay folk.

        I rather suspect that this is just an emotion-based argument because you want to believe it to be true, rather than anything that you have any actual evidence for.

        As such, I would suggest that this sort of slander is just obscene (actual “obscenity” as opposed to pretend “ooh, two gay guys kissed! Yuckee!” “obscenity”) and would suggest you either put up actual evidence to support your claim or admit you made an error and back off the false and slanderous statement. Because “slander” is not part of the kingdom of God.

        Tim…

        The point of my post was that despite the “gay marriage” project moving ahead… there is not nor ever will be “marriage equality” in any real sense, because it is simply impossible for two men or two women to be equal to a normal couple in the ability to join together and create new life.

        Evidence, man. Provide evidence. HOW SPECIFICALLY is it “impossible” for a gay or lesbian couple to be “equal” to a “normal” couple? Because they can’t have babies?

        Well, neither can all straight couples. Look and understand:

        THE ABILITY AND DESIRE TO PROCREATE IS NOT THE DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE. PEOPLE WHO ADOPT AND PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO CHILDREN CAN ALSO BE MARRIED IN A VERY REAL AND RATIONAL SENSE.

        Do you have any evidence to contradict THAT? Be specific.

        Or, do the right thing and just admit you misspoke and move on.

      • Tim Vernon

        OK, I’ll do the right thing and admit you misspoke.

        “Any evidence? Be specific.”

        Don’t pretend you haven’t heard of this, the moonbat left media have been crucifying this poor guy for several weeks now. Mark Regnerus, professor of sociology, U of Texas, extensive in-depth study called New Family Structures. Not pretty stuff, but the world needs to know the truth. The moonbats say it’s biased, yet, oddly, the studies done by gay professors are objective. (Sure.) The university has stood by him, which is quite amazing, since there’s a loud and obnoxious gay clique at UT and they hate dissenters. No decent person would ever put a child up for adoption after reading about what children in these “families” are subjected to.

        You have some reality issues. I’ll say this for the THIRD time, so try to focus: a “gay couple” cannot be “equal” to a married couple because two men or two women cannot create a child that is genetically theirs. And your lame response is “Evidence. man.” What are you talking about? You don’t understand simple genetics? Chromosomes, genes, DNA – heard of that? Man and woman can BLEND their genes, two men can’t. You think I made this up? What evidence do you want? I thought 4th graders understand genes. Yeah, you can SAY they’re equal, just like you can say a square is a circle, but it isn’t. your side may force the laws to give you equal standing (God help us) in a courtroom. But it’s just plain hard reality that Bob and Jim can’t join together and make a baby. John and Mary Smith can create Kimberly Smith–THEIR child in every sense. No turkey baster required, no sperm borrowed from Evan the interior decorator, no egg borrowed from Greta the truck driver. This is not “emotion-based.” Just plain fact. Bob and Jim may introduce little Tyler as “our son.” But he isn’t.

        Since you’re hung up on “evidence,” please cite any evidence that this isn’t so. Give us some examples of two men or two women creating a child together. I keep up with news, I haven’t heard of two men merging their sperm to make a baby, nor of one man providing the egg. Please enlighten us with scientific data.

        The fact that someone would call it “slander” to state a scientific fact like “two men cannot make a baby” shows just how intellectually bankrupt the left is. “Slander” doesn’t mean “facts I don’t like.” “Slander” means “untruth intended to do harm.” Telling the truth does no one any harm – well, except liberals.

      • Mark

        Tim, you hit the nail on the head time and again. Gus, so typical of people on that side of the argument, can not or will not address this issue directly and honestly because, if he does, his reasoning just doesn’t hold up. So, he must obfuscate, divert, marginalize and straw-man his opposition to death, effectively rope-a-doping until his opponents just throw their hands up in frustration. He is a pathological smoke-screener and propagandist.

        Again I will reiterate the fact that it is very difficult to find objective research on this topic because there is a fair amount of subjectivity inherent in the subject matter, thereby making it open to manipulation by the most disingenuous people in contemporary culture: leftists. There is a disproportionately high percentage of gays and leftists involved in psychology, so their “research” is immediately suspect (but, of course, they are quick to condemn ANY research that contradicts their agenda as “unscientific”).

        I’ve read several articles about Regnerus’ work. Since his findings, quantitatively rigorous though they are, do not fit the pro-gay narrative he has been ludicrously characterized and marginalized. It is obscene what has happened to this man.

        (As an aside I think this also happened to the very same psychiatrist who originally argued that homosexuality should be declassified as a mental disorder in the 1970’s…his sin? He made the mistake of later suggesting that some homosexuals had, via therapy and/or religious conversion, had their orientation changed…his case demonstrates that once you question homosexualist dogma you are immediately thrown under the bus… you experience all-out war waged against you).

        You will find children who grow up in very difficult circumstances who turn out pretty well. That’s more a compliment to God’s grace and good genetics than anything else. It certainly doesn’t mean that we should encourage kids being placed in situations that are clearly unnatural and which, based on new findings, can cause lasting psychological pathology.

        One other thing to keep in mind is that by the time research is conclusive, which could take many years, the damage is already done (just look at statistics showing the devastation of fatherless homes on the psychological and economic well-being of children, now TOO LATE to really rectify).

  • Gus Ravenwheel

    Tim…

    Two people of the same sex cannot “raise a family.” It is impossible to create a child from two eggs or two sperm cells. They may adopt children, or they may conceive one via turkey baster. It cannot be “their” child.

    As most adopted children will tell you, their mother and/or father is the person who raised them. Of course, in the real world, adoptive parents raise a family. It happens all the time in the real world, objectively speaking.

    Do two men or two women give birth naturally to children of their own seed? No, but that does not mean they can’t or don’t raise a family. Obviously, observably, in the real world it happens and when it happens, it’s a beautiful, wonderful, objectively Good thing.

    What specific, real world evidence do you have to contradict that?

    It sounds as if you are arguing that those marriages which don’t involve natural born children are not real marriages. Is that your point? Because if so, that is a rather goofy point. But I can’t believe that this would be your position, so perhaps you could explain yourself?

    In the real world what happens could be as simple and beautiful as this:

    Woman loves woman. Those two women marry, live together as decent, loving, respectful adults, contributing to society in real and meaningful ways – maybe they are teachers, or preachers or fire fighters or work at a bakery – and living in a neighborhood, walking their dogs, paying taxes, hanging out with friends and neighbors, being helpful productive members of society. At some point, these women reach the point where they’d like to have children. Not having a man to contribute the sperm to create a “natural” child, they do something perhaps even greater: They go to an adoption agency and adopt a child that is already born and they take that child home, providing a family for a child that was formerly family-less.

    How beautiful and wondrously Good is that??!! That is a great, great thing to do and contributes to society incredibly. Are you seriously denigrating people who adopt?

    I can’t believe anyone would be as petty as that, so perhaps you could explain your point.

    All I’m saying is that, in the real world, looking at real couples, marriage is an objective good for society. If you don’t have any evidence to contradict that, you can’t expect your “side” to win any converts.

  • Gus Ravenwheel

    Mark…

    What’s also tragic is the huge amount of money selfishly spent by homosexuals (including some single women) in order to unnaturally conceive children. ART (artificial reproductive technologies) can get extremely expensive.

    Do you condemn all uses of ART, including when husbands/wives do it, or only when lesbian couples do it?

    If you condemn it in all circumstances, then do so – but singling out lesbians makes it seem as if you have a political axe to grind and are less interested in truth and morality and more in spreading a particular partisan agenda.

    If the latter, then I rebuke that hypocrisy. If the former, then maybe a case could be made…

    What if that money were spent to help the many thousands of AIDS orphans in Africa?

    I think a case could be made that IF a couple (gay or straight) wants children, the most moral option would be to adopt, rather than spend great amounts of money for ART. A case COULD be made. I’m not going there, but at least a case could be made (although, I would note that adoption can cost a great deal of money, too – how do the prices compare?)

    But the problem is, this seems to be a rather selective critique of “spending too much money when there’s so much need in the world!” Do you also criticize those who buy expensive cars rather than simply functional cars? Big, expensive homes rather than simple sufficient homes?

    I have a suspicion that many (if not most) so-called conservatives who would decry ART because of the expense would simultaneously rebuke any criticisms of the wealthy for how they spend their money in a world full of need.

    Tell me truthfully, Mark: Do you give equal access criticism to all big expenditures? OR, do you think a wealthy person spending $1 million on a house is morally acceptable, but a couple that wants to have their own child spending $100,000 (I have no idea what it costs) for ART is morally mistaken?

    Pardon my doubt in your nature, brother, but I rather doubt that you’re being consistent. I will gladly apologize if I’m mistaken.

    • Mark

      You ARE mistaken. And I WILL await an apology. I criticize excessive, selfish spending by anyone, including myself. And I regularly go on medical mission trips to Latin America (which I personally finance).

      Having said that, I think people with legally earned money can spend it in any legal way they so desire.

      While I have a problem with ART in general, I find it particularly troublesome, indeed immoral and anti-Christian, when used in cases where both a mother and father will not be available to help rear the child. This is a very self-centered use of this technology. And it represents the production of yet another child in a world when there are already too many children in need. Such actions are those of people whose bank account exceeds their moral account.

      Additionally, if you look at the facts regarding personal giving, you will find that conservatives give more than liberals. Of course, there are exceptions, notwithstanding the fact that we all can (and should) do more (being charitable with other people’s money doesn’t count).

      There. I’ve answered your questions. Now, why don’t you stop obfuscating, diverting and otherwise avoiding the questions posed to you throughout this dialogue?

      • Gus Ravenwheel

        Mark…

        Now, why don’t you stop obfuscating, diverting and otherwise avoiding the questions posed to you throughout this dialogue?

        ?? What questions? I just looked back and don’t see any questions that I have not addressed (on the other hand, there are many questions I’ve asked that have gone un-answered.)

        Mark…

        While I have a problem with ART in general, I find it particularly troublesome, indeed immoral and anti-Christian, when used in cases where both a mother and father will not be available to help rear the child. This is a very self-centered use of this technology.

        For instance, how about these questions:

        Specifically where in the Bible or in Christian doctrine is it EVER called immoral or anti-Christian to have two men or two women raising a child? I’ve never heard of such a thing within historical Christianity (or really, anywhere).

        And do you really think that raising a child is self-centered??

    • Gus Ravenwheel

      I gladly and sincerely apologize, then. I am sorry for doubting your consistency on this point and I’m glad to hear that you’re not being hypocritical.

      I would just add that I’m not willing to go that far. I believe in simple living and strive to embrace that for myself. I am troubled by our extravagant living in the First World, especially given the poverty in the Third World.

      And yet, I’m not willing to harshly criticize any one element of spending as being immoral. I can’t see justifying spending $1 million + on a house for a small family with no special needs, but I’m not willing to say that those who’ve made the choice to do so are morally incorrect. Are you willing to do that?

      Likewise, I’m not willing to condemn someone who’d spend thousands of dollars to have a child of their own – gay or straight – and find it troubling that some would be willing to hold opinions on matters like that that aren’t really directly any of their business.

      I mean, at least with ART, the goal is to have a child to love and care for, and that is a good end goal. So, while perhaps (perhaps) a case could be made to criticize such, I don’t find that to be within the bounds of Christian grace to do so.

      • Mark

        So, you are troubled by people who hold opinions on things that aren’t “any of their business?” Right. That’s why you decided, as a pacifist, to offer military advice in a prior article. Apparently you don’t apply this restriction to yourself.

        Since you have freely commented on such topics, what is your expertise in child-rearing, marriage and and charitable work?

        You continue to ask questions that I have already answered, so I can only conclude that you are ignoring my answers or incapable of understanding them.

        The “questions” I was referring to are not necessarily punctuated as such, they are points that have been made in deconstructing your arguments. You have not responded to those points directly, you have chosen to address them obliquely on route to diverting the discussion into (typically) some emotional anecdote.

        In Matthew 19 Christ reiterated the Old Testament teaching that marriage is between a man and woman. At the time it would have been so ludicrous to think of marriage as between 2 people of the same sex that it was hardly even addressed, especially since homosexual activity was clearly condemned in both the Old and New Testaments.

        Gus, you will need to put on your thinking cap if you want to have any more dialogue with me. For example, don’t ask ignorant questions like “do you really think that raising a child is self-centered??” when I, of course, never said that (you are a straw-man master!). I was talking about the selfish desire to HAVE a child, perhaps as a clone of oneself, or as a pet-on-steroids, rather than raising a child. Many of the people who have the money to pay for ART also have the money to pay for someone else to raise their child (and that’s exactly what many of them do when the kid gets a little too inconvenient).

      • Gus Ravenwheel

        Mark…

        Since you have freely commented on such topics, what is your expertise in child-rearing, marriage and and charitable work?

        What difference does that make to my actual points? Why not deal with the points being made. You know that people can provide opinions and thoughts on topics on which they’re not personally involved, right?

        But in this case, I do have some direct experience. Child rearing:

        I’m a dad, married to my wife (my one and only) for nearly 28 years now. We have two children, a son who just graduated from college last May – he completed college in three years, not bad. I’ve a daughter who’s a junior in high school – they both attended public school, by the way.

        They both work (my son, full time and my daughter, being in school, only part time), they both attend church, the both volunteer for charitable work. They both are Christians and extremely bright and wonderful and giving young people, wise beyond their years.

        They are in a band together, with two other brothers, and have their first CD released, published by a local record label (if you’re interested, check out http://beadyband.com – they’re pretty good, I’d say, and the songs they’ve written, arranged, sung and played on multiple instruments themselves (they did have some buddies join them on horns and drums).

        In short, while we all struggle from time to time, they are exceptional children and I’m a proud papa, I think with good reason.

        Beyond that, my degree is in special education and I taught in public schools for one year, teaching kids with behavior disorders in a self-contained class. I decided I wasn’t going to be very good at that, so from there I moved into working in a mental health agency with troubled children. From there I’ve moved on to computer work, not related to children, now, but working with rural water agencies to help them map their pipe networks.

        Beyond that, I taught in my church’s Sunday School for children and then youth for a decade or so. My wife is a social worker and I help her out at a Christian non-profit that helps homeless families get homes occasionally (not too often, but some). Our church is an urban church that works with homeless and mentally ill folk regularly and I help out there occasionally in one form or the other (we have a really cool monthly coffee house for our homeless and mentally ill friends to have a place to come and enjoy coffee, snacks and an open mic entertainment, and BE the entertainment themselves, giving back much more than they receive.

        Oh, also, several years ago (before our kids were born), our family invited two homeless single mothers into our home where we let them live with us for a few years and helped them with their children and did what we could to be friends/community with them, and them with us.

        I’ve worked on two different boards of non-profits, working with churches across the city on issues of justice in our city (getting improved reading programs in our schools, working to find solutions for kids who are getting in trouble in school, etc) on one and working to promote bicycling, walking and mass transit on the other.

        Like that.

        Again, I don’t see how that has anything to do with my questions, for instance, this one…

        You made a claim: Specifically where in the Bible or in Christian doctrine is it EVER called immoral or anti-Christian to have two men or two women raising a child?

        You say you’ve answered my questions and I’ve missed it, but I simply don’t see an answer to this question any where. For instance. Demonstrate where you’ve answered that question and I will once again apologize for missing it and being obtuse, but I don’t believe you have addressed this at all.

      • Gus Ravenwheel

        I see that my comment is awaiting moderation, presumably because of two links in it. I’ll remove the links if that’s a problem…

        Mark…

        Since you have freely commented on such topics, what is your expertise in child-rearing, marriage and and charitable work?

        What difference does that make to my actual points? Why not deal with the points being made. You know that people can provide opinions and thoughts on topics on which they’re not personally involved, right?

        But in this case, I do have some direct experience. Child rearing:

        I’m a dad, married to my wife (my one and only) for nearly 28 years now. We have two children, a son who just graduated from college last May – he completed college in three years, not bad. I’ve a daughter who’s a junior in high school – they both attended public school, by the way.

        They both work (my son, full time and my daughter, being in school, only part time), they both attend church, the both volunteer for charitable work. They both are Christians and extremely bright and wonderful and giving young people, wise beyond their years.

        They are in a band together, with two other brothers, and have their first CD released, published by a local record label (if you’re interested, you can look up beadyband.com) In my admittedly biased opinion, they’re pretty good. And the songs are ones they’ve written, arranged, sung and played on multiple instruments themselves (they did have some buddies join them on horns and drums).

        In short, while we all struggle from time to time, they are exceptional children and I’m a proud papa, I think with good reason.

        Beyond that, my degree is in special education and I taught in public schools for one year, teaching kids with behavior disorders in a self-contained class. I decided I wasn’t going to be very good at that, so from there I moved into working in a mental health agency with troubled children. From there I’ve moved on to computer work, not related to children, now, but working with rural water agencies to help them map their pipe networks.

        Beyond that, I taught in my church’s Sunday School for children and then youth for a decade or so. My wife is a social worker and I help her out at a Christian non-profit that helps homeless families get homes occasionally (not too often, but some). Our church is an urban church that works with homeless and mentally ill folk regularly and I help out there occasionally in one form or the other (we have a really cool monthly coffee house for our homeless and mentally ill friends to have a place to come and enjoy coffee, snacks and an open mic entertainment, and BE the entertainment themselves, giving back much more than they receive. You can look up my church’s blog or information by googling jeff st baptist community in Louisville.

        Oh, also, several years ago (before our kids were born), our family invited two homeless single mothers into our home where we let them live with us for a few years and helped them with their children and did what we could to be friends/community with them, and them with us.

        I’ve worked on two different boards of non-profits, working with churches across the city on issues of justice in our city (getting improved reading programs in our schools, working to find solutions for kids who are getting in trouble in school, etc) on one and working to promote bicycling, walking and mass transit on the other.

        Like that.

        Again, I don’t see how that has anything to do with my questions, for instance, this one…

        You made a claim: Specifically where in the Bible or in Christian doctrine is it EVER called immoral or anti-Christian to have two men or two women raising a child?

        You say you’ve answered my questions and I’ve missed it, but I simply don’t see an answer to this question any where. For instance. Demonstrate where you’ve answered that question and I will once again apologize for missing it and being obtuse, but I don’t believe you have addressed this at all.

        Dan

  • Gus Ravenwheel

    Mark…

    What drives this is an extreme selfishness rooted in a desire to force civil society to accept abnormal behaviors in order for a small percentage of people can FEEL better about themselves.

    I know it’s easier to pretend to know the motivations of those you disagree with and to assign them evil motivations, but speaking for some who actually support marriage for gay or straight, I can tell you that factually, in the real world, the motivation is that we believe marriage to be obviously, observably good and think that’s true whether or not we’re speaking of gay folk or straight folk. There is no “desire to force” people to “accept abnormal behaviors,” because we do not believe sex is “abnormal.” A homosexual orientation is not the norm, but usually, when people use “abnormal” they are applying a judgment value to being outside the norm, and that is not supported in the real world, not that we see, anyway.

    As to helping people “feel better,” I don’t know that this is a bad thing. If I had a friend who was abused because they were black or because they were left-handed or blue-eyed or for whatever reason, I would work to stop the abuse and towards acceptance of being “black” or “left-handed” or “blue-eyed,” and that probably would have a result in people feeling better about themselves and the world around them. Would you suggest this is a bad thing?

    • Adrian C

      That wornout old liberal ploy: Compare anything to racism and watch the opponent fold up like an accordion. I’m surprised he didn’t throw in a quote from Martin Luther King to give it some real zing.

      Does this crapola actually work to shut down debate? Or is it just something liberals enjoy doing to “feel good about themselves”? Apparently the reason God created the universe was so that the “oppressed” could “feel good about themselves.” I got a better idea: stop thinking of yourself as “oppressed” and start taking responsbility for your own life. In other words: grow up.

      • Gus Ravenwheel

        As with the others, how about taking on my actual points rather than ad hom and strawman diversions?

        Have I said that I am oppressed? No, I have not.

        Did I say that the reason God created the universe was so the oppressed could feel good about themselves? No, I did not.

        What I DID say was:

        I would work to stop the abuse and towards acceptance of being “black” or “left-handed” or “blue-eyed,” and that probably would have a result in people feeling better about themselves and the world around them. Would you suggest this is a bad thing?

        Do you think working to stop abuse, oppression is a bad thing? Do you think helping make people better off (ie, “making them feel better”) is a bad thing?

        Rather than argue points I did not make or making unsupported and demonstrably mistaken ad hom attacks, how about dealing with my actual points? If you don’t understand the point I’m making, feel free to ask.

        But when you denounce a point that I did not make, then you just look a bit silly.

        Or here is what I was actually responding to…

        What drives this is an extreme selfishness rooted in a desire to force civil society to accept abnormal behaviors…

        I demonstrated by my own personal testimony that this is not factually correct, at least in the case of my community. Why not deal with the false and/or unsupported statements being made by your comrades rather than creating more false and/or unsupported statements?

        Grow up, indeed.

  • Gus Ravenwheel

    Tim, you seem to be stuck on being obnoxious and, well, a jerk. Since I have not said that two men can create a child together, why would I try to “prove” something I have not contended.

    Rather, I made the rational and observable suggestion that a same sex couple can raise a child together. And they can. I stated the obvious that a same sex couple can be a family. And they can.

    What YOU have to do is disprove the obvious and factual. Good luck with that.

    As to your “evidence,” here’s the author of the ONE study you cite…

    And when pushed, a lot of people who were critics of mine will say: “Yeah, we know that, obviously, family structure matters,” and then they’ll complain, “Why didn’t you find many stably coupled lesbians?” Well, they just were not that common in the nationally representative population.

    There were two cases where they said the mom and her partner lived together for 18 years. There was another several who lived together for 15 or 13 years. So, stability in the sense of long-term was not common. And frankly, it’s not all that common among heterosexual population. I take pains in the study to say this is not about saying gay or lesbian parents are inherently bad.

    source

    You are reaching a conclusion that the author of the ONE study you cite specifically says is not a reasonable conclusion.

    Any actual evidence?

    You say…

    What are you talking about? You don’t understand simple genetics? Chromosomes, genes, DNA – heard of that?

    Again, I did not claim that a same gender couple can create a baby together. The evidence I’m speaking of is evidence that they can not live a healthy, happy, beneficial loving life together. Where is THAT evidence?

    The evidence I’m speaking of is evidence that they can’t adopt and raise a child together in a beautiful, healthy family relationship?

    You are making claims that don’t hold up to real world evidence. And you are doing it in a way that not only betrays your lack of any actual evidence, it betrays a deep-seated hostility and inability to function in an adult-level conversation.

    If you can pull yourself together and provide some actual evidence for the claims being made – and do so in a respectful way – I’ll read your evidence. But if you insist on being abrasive and insulting, you’ve just contributed a bit more to making your “side” of the argument irrelevant and destined to be ignored.

    • Alex Soderberg

      No one could take that “source” seriously. It’s a pro-gay site.

  • Sandy N

    I’m not Catholic, but I definitely side with the pope on this issue. I know there are various “studies” about “same-sex couples,” but I’m not sure I trust those, they can be skewed in many ways. I do trust my own experience, however, and the children of these “couples” have horrible lives. A girl in my high school lived with her lesbian mom and mom’s “friend,” and that poor girl had every problem in the book and committed suicide at 19. I also know of 3 sons raised by a lesbian mom and “friend” and those 3 boys, who are now in their 30s, have nothing to do with their mother, probably will not attend her funeral when she dies even though they all live in the same town. Their stories debunk all this “normal” stuff generated by the liberal propaganda machine. It’s just immoral to put children in situations like these where they are abused by their parent’s friends who ply them with drugs and alcohol, pressure them into sex at an early age, expose them to promiscuity and drug abuse and physical violence. The fact that the parents may supply them with material comforts even to the point of luxury should not hide the nastiness underneath, predatory friends who have no scruples about taking advantage of children. Keep in mind that most child abuse is NOT perpetrated by any child’s biological mother and father. Yes, that happens sometimes, but the largest share of abuse occurs at the hands of live-ins, people with no blood connection to the child and see it as something to exploit. It’s a simple fact that any child is much better off with its true parents than with any single parent or any situation where a non-related adult is present in the home. Children are precious, we need to keep them safe.

    • Gus Ravenwheel

      Sandy…

      Their stories debunk all this “normal” stuff generated by the liberal propaganda machine.

      ? No, your anecdotal stories do not debunk research.

      Besides which, I see your anecdotal stories and raise you ten anecdotal stories where the children are as good as can be. Now what? Compare story by story or go by what the actual “research” says? People can trust their anecdotal stories over research if you want, but if you’re trying to convince other people to enforce by law ancient biases, you’ll have to do better than “My mother once knew this guy who had a friend whose aunt’s kids…”

      Sandy…

      It’s just immoral to put children in situations like these where they are abused by their parent’s friends who ply them with drugs and alcohol, pressure them into sex at an early age, expose them to promiscuity

      No, it’s immoral to suggest that all gay and lesbian folk are promiscuous. How about this, Sandy: You and I agree that raising children in a promiscuous and licentious environment – whether gay or straight. For THOSE parents, let’s try to find help for them – gay or straight.

      BUT, for the gay and straight parents who, like my friends, attend church, belong to the PTA, walk their dogs, garden, etc… in other words, for those gay and straight parents who are raising wholesome children, why don’t we encourage them with a supportive “Way to go!” – whether they’re gay or straight?

      You aren’t saying that ALL gay folk are promiscuous and evil, are you? That can be easily disproven, you know.

      • Sandy N

        So, if anecdotes are pro-gay, they are true, but if not pro-gay, they are false?

        That doesn’t work for me. For one thing, I know my anecdotes are true, and I don’t believe anything you say since you make your agenda clear. Everyone gets your message: normal couples can be bad parents, but gay couples can NEVER be bad parents, and you said it, so that’s that. I’ll stick with reality. I happen to know these three men in their 30s, and they didn’t all three lie about what a monster their mother was, also her trashy friends. As a Christian I believe that all human beings are sinners, but according to you, gays and lesbians are incapable of doing wrong. And also as a Christian, I find it funny that you regard morality as “ancient biases.” Maybe you didn’t notice, but this is a Christian website, so if it upsets you to encounter “ancient biases,” then visit some gay websites where everyone thinks exactly alike. Morality isn’t like cell phones, where newer is always better. if I have “ancient biases,” you clearly have “modern biases,” so the bias argument doesn’t go too far does it. It’s only been in the last 20 years or so that anyone was crazy enough to suggest that two men or two women could be “parents.” Even the ancient Romans and Greeks, notorious for their disgusting lives, understood that childrearing requires a mother and father. If two men wish to have sex with each other, fine, but that doesn’t mean they should marry, much less have children in the home. You seem to have the impression that because husbands and wives have sex, marry, and have children, that two men having sex should do the same. There is much more to marriage and parenthood than having sex.

      • Gus Ravenwheel

        Sandy…

        if anecdotes are pro-gay, they are true, but if not pro-gay, they are false?

        I did not say that. I said that anecdotes are one thing, but for every anecdote you have, I have one, too. Just because you know a bad gay parent does not mean that ALL gay parents are bad. You understand that, right?

        Sandy…

        That doesn’t work for me. For one thing, I know my anecdotes are true, and I don’t believe anything you say since you make your agenda clear. Everyone gets your message: normal couples can be bad parents, but gay couples can NEVER be bad parents

        I did not say that. Of course, there are bad gay parents, just as there are bad straight parents. The points I’m making are these:

        1. We can’t/shouldn’t just wave away research because it disagrees with our anecdotes. That is irrational.

        2. Just because there are some bad parents (gay or straight) does not mean that we should say, “Well, I know a bad (gay/straight) parent, therefore, we should not allow ANY (gay/straight) people to be parents. That is irrational and unjust.

        Sandy…

        As a Christian I believe that all human beings are sinners, but according to you, gays and lesbians are incapable of doing wrong.

        I did not say that. Of course gay and straight folk alike are capable of doing wrong. For instance, you’ve just made up several false things about what I said – totally opposite of my points. That is, at best, poor reading and comprehension skills. At worst, it is bearing false witness. You, my sister, are capable of doing wrong. So am I. So is everyone. But just because everyone is capable of doing wrong does not mean that we should not allow everyone to be parents. That is irrational.

        Sandy…

        And also as a Christian, I find it funny that you regard morality as “ancient biases.”

        I did not say that. Do you see a pattern here? Sandy, I am a Christian too. Saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the risen son of God. Thanks be to God. I do not regard morality in general to be “ancient biases.” But some of our cultural traditions (including some found in the Bible) are indeed cultural. For instance, the Bible never once condemns polygamy. Heroes of the faith had multiple wives and even concubines. According to the Bible, God “gave” David his many wives. Polygamy was a cultural tradition that was acceptable in biblical cultures. That does not make it right. Same for slavery.

        We NEED moral grounding in our lives. I’m arguing in favor of moral grounding. And one of those groundings I have is that good marriage is a good thing – for gay or straight folk – I can see no biblical nor rational reason to think otherwise. Another moral grounding I have is that good parenting is a good thing – whether those parents are gay or straight.

        Again, I would ask you: If there were two gay guys who were obviously, by all evidence, doing a great job of raising their children, would you advocate taking those children away from their parents? Or, can we agree that supporting good parents (gay or straight) is a good thing?

        Sandy…

        so if it upsets you to encounter “ancient biases,” then visit some gay websites where everyone thinks exactly alike.

        As a Christian, I believe in talking things through with others who disagree on matters of ethics. I find that valuable. Are you saying you wish that everyone would just talk with folk who agree with them? I don’t find that rational or helpful.

        Sandy…

        There is much more to marriage and parenthood than having sex.

        Of course there is. I never said otherwise.

        Sandy, as a personal favor, I would appreciate a response at least just to acknowledge, “Oh, I misunderstood Dan on several points… It’s a decent thing to do to acknowledge that mistake and maybe explain where I messed up…”

        Don’t you agree that we should confess our mistakes/errors to one another? That is an ancient moral grounding with which I agree. You?