Uniform units vs. interlocking units

bottles green public domain
Uniform units are more “free” with respect to each other than interlocking units are, but are less able to withstand the effect of external forces. This factory line works because the bottles are all the same. Interlocking bottles would disrupt the system.

Sexual liberty has expanded the power and authority of state enormously. One recent example can be seen in the  Obergefell decision to enforce gay marriage laws on states that did not want those laws. I have not read the decision, but a quick search for the terms “gay” and “lesbian” showed that each term was used 28 and 25 times, respectively. This makes it clear how the category of “sexual orientation,” a false category without scientific support, has influenced the highest court of the United States in a dramatic and detrimental way.

puzzle pieces public domain
Interlocking units are less “free” with respect to each other, but are more able to withstand the effects of external forces. If you push one, you push them all. 

This false category is a recent addition to a political movement that has been dismantling marriage and homogenizing individuals in the eyes of the state–making them all the same. The Obergefell decision contributes to this homogenization process, since marriage laws now must be read in a “gender neutral” way.

Consider how completely uniform units, such as bottles in a factory, are more “free” than interlocking units, but they are also more easily manipulated. This is a metaphor for what is going on in our country with sexual liberation. People want their freedom from any obligation that was not explicitly chosen. But sexual activity bonds us to the people we have sex with, as well as makes new life. So the state steps in to free people from those bonds and obligations. To continue the metaphor, it legally chops off the parts that are interlocking by refusing to recognize that those parts exist.

True liberty includes liberty from one’s passions so that one can do what one is called to do, and perform one’s responsibilities, without internal constraints and conflicts. The founders of the United States understood that we cannot separate liberty and virtue.

 

“Sexual liberty should win”

sexual liberty is the best

Upholding sexual liberty is the most important goal of the die-hard social liberal. There are many examples of this.

1) Chai Feldblum, now commissioner of the EEOC, said this about the supremacy of sexual liberty in an interview with Maggie Gallagher in 2006:

…when religious liberty and sexual liberty conflict, [Feldblum] admits, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.” … “Sexual liberty should win in most cases. There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases the sexual liberty should win because that’s the only way that the dignity of gay people can be affirmed in any realistic manner.”

Notice how Feldblum uses the phrase “sexual liberty” instead of “LGBT liberty.” I doubt it was an oversight. “Sexual liberty” is a broader category than “LGBT liberty.” It includes male/female couples and was pioneered by them, so of course they will resonate with it. It is useful, although not accurate, for Feldblum to situate “the dignity of gay people” under “sexual liberty.” That sort of liberty has already been accepted by the wider culture and the government. This helps people to think of LGBT issues as just one more manifestation of that liberty, not as something unfamiliar or strange.

porn stats2) Another example is how the Obama administration tried to force Catholic nuns to provide contraceptive coverage as part of their compliance with the health insurance mandate (the nuns won that fight).

3) Another example is President Obama’s executive order allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choosing rather than the bathroom of their biological sex (a judge has blocked that order).

4) Another example is how crisis pregnancy centers in California are required to tell people that abortions are available elsewhere. In response, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse coined the phrase, “pro choice puritans,” saying that “the Pro-Choice Puritans are haunted by the thought that some woman, somewhere, wants her baby.”

I can go on and on and on and on and on and on and on. Instead of doing that I’ll pose a question. Can you think of any examples where “sexual liberty” undermines people’s health, negates other people’s rights, or infringes on other kinds of liberty?

 

Catholics, works and salvation

You will often come across people who believe that the Catholic Church teaches “salvation by works.” If you encounter this, ask them what they mean. For example, if they are referring to “works of the Mosaic law,” or “works of the first covenant,” this is not true. The Catholic Church teaches that the Mosaic law is no longer in effect because it has been superseded by the New Covenant.

I am reading a book on the Catholic teaching on salvation to help me understand this point better, because “doing” is important in Catholic teaching, yet I know it is not the basis of our salvation. The book is called, “How can I get to heaven?” by Robert Sungenis. I am not very far into it yet, but so far Sungenis says that when Paul talks about “works” or “works of the law” in Romans, Paul is using those ideas to mean that we can’t obligate God in any way to owe us salvation:

“Paul is condemning justification by law only with respect to contractual obligation…” (p. 21)

Any reward or blessing we receive from God is only due to his grace, not due to an obligation that was somehow created in him by us behaving well. Sungenis goes on to talk about the role of works:

“… however, the law, as expressed and practiced in virtue, fully cooperates with grace in justification.” (p. 21)

He then quotes Romans 2:5-10 where Paul discusses the relationship of works to salvation:

But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for every one who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.

These good works are done under God’s grace, not in order to obligate God, but out of love for him: “…love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:10b).

For me, I think starts with the first commandment. We start by believing in God, loving him, then we love our neighbor as ourselves, then we learn what love really is so that we can do it the way God wants. Doing is important; the Bible is clear that we will be judged based on our works, which I think means we will be judged based on how much we loved and acted on that love. As it says at Fish Eaters:

We are saved by Christ’s grace alone, through faith and works done in charity [ie, love] inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Same-sex marriage is a luxury good being paid for by the poor

ricochet logoI used to be a member of a website known as Ricochet. I was a member for a couple years and let my membership lapse once. Another member whom I had gotten to know talked me into renewing. So I did for a year, but let it lapse again in March. I was very busy on another project and Ricochet can be very distracting. I’m finished with that project now but I don’t think I’ll renew my membership. I’m not really a good fit with the sort of site it is. Somebody actually pointed this out to me once but I didn’t believe him. In retrospect I think he was right.

Ricochet is a blogging site where people can join and write posts for other members to read and comment on. These posts are behind a paywall so that only paying members can read them. If the post is very good, it will get “promoted” to the front page where they are available for anybody to see and members to comment on.

Even though I’m not a member, once in a while I will go back and read some posts there on the front page. I did so just the other day. It was actually a podcast, not a written post. I’m not normally a podcast person but it was an interview of R.R. Reno, editor of First Things. I’ve read a number of his articles over the last few years and I respect his opinion. He was being interviewed about his new book, called Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society. Before listening, I scrolled down to the comments. I saw some familiar faces there and one of them remarked that he didn’t understand what Reno said when he made this statement in the interview:

“[Gay marriage is] a luxury good for the rich that is being paid for by the poor…”

Another member wondered the same thing. I listened to the podcast and discovered that Reno partially answered their question. Previous to the quote he made this statement:

Our moral transformations of the 60s has actually created a moral culture that benefits the rich and harms the poor.

And after it he said this:

…as marriage declines among the poor but remains relatively strong among the well-to-do.

I feel confident to state that Reno is saying that that same-sex marriage will accelerate the declining marriage rate among the poor. They (and their children) will not receive the benefits of marriage, and this is how they will pay for same-sex marriage.

We all agree that marriage has benefits for couples and their children. Social liberals and social conservatives disagree as to what same-sex marriage will do to the understanding of marriage and therefore the distribution of those benefits. Social liberals believe that same-sex marriage extends those benefits to more people; therefore, the declining marriage rate among the poor should decrease if they are correct–more of them will marry over time. But social conservatives believe the opposite: that same-sex marriage will slowly accelerate the declining marriage rate among the poor–fewer of them will marry over time. On the surface that might seem counter-intuitive. After all, allowing more couples to marry seems like more people would marry, not fewer. Let me break it down.

Social conservatives argue that same-sex marriage radically changes how people view what marriage is. It changes this view so much that fewer people will see the need to participate in marriage. Fewer married people means fewer people (and children) will receive the benefits of marriage. Let me quote from Robert George’s book, What is Marriage:

[The new view of marriage is] the union of two people (whether of the same sex or of opposite sexes) who commit to romantically loving and caring for each other and to sharing the burdens and benefits of domestic life.

People don’t need to get married in order to have those benefits–they can just live together instead. Plus, living together has an advantage over marriage: no risk of divorce.

If social conservatives are right, this new view of marriage will accelerate the declining marriage rate among the poor. Fewer poor people, including poor children, will receive the benefits of marriage. This is how the poor will pay for same-sex marriage. Here’s a chart I made that shows each sub-issue and each side’s view.

Same-sex marriage will: Social liberals say: Social conservatives say:
Decrease the marriage rate among opposite-sex couples over time No Yes
Harm the poor due to the declining marriage rate among them over time No Yes
Increase the abortion rate due to fewer women getting married over time No Yes

The jury is still out as to which side is correct on these sub-issues, and it may take a full generation for the effect to be measured accurately. Given that social liberals have a terrible track record when it comes to understanding sex and marriage at the marco level, meaning, that same-sex marriage is just one more “sexual freedom” along a path that is already well-known to be harmful to children and society, my money is on the socially conservative position.

Finally, I hope you noticed something important: I did not argue that marriage, in an objective sense, has changed. This was deliberate because it has not.

Why aren’t we asking where the father is in a story about an infant’s murder?

You know the old saying, “There’s no such thing as a dumb question.” Well, that’s not true. There is. The dumbest question of all is the one that goes unasked. For example, if a five week old baby is murdered by her mother’s boyfriend, we need to demand an answer to this question: where was the baby’s father? The story is horrible. And notice how the reporter doesn’t even bother to tell us where the baby’s father is. He probably didn’t even ask.

Man sentenced to 65 years for repeatedly slamming newborn’s head on pavement, killing her

… One night, following an argument with his girlfriend, Davis took the infant into his arms and walked outside, onto the sidewalk… Davis raised the child and slammed her down onto the concrete. Then he did it again. And maybe again — he can’t remember.

Anytime you see this sort of story, where there is an unrelated sexual partner who has harmed or killed a child, notice whether or not the reporter raises the issue of where the child’s father (or mother) is. I suspect it goes unaddressed the majority of the time.

Here is my theory as to why. It ties in with “sexual liberation.” Consider the circumstances in this case. The infant was only five weeks old, yet the mother had a sexual partner who was not the child’s father. So within the past year, we can assume that this woman has had at least two sexual partners, the baby’s daddy and the boyfriend. (I say assume since it is possible she used sperm from a sperm donor. But that seems unlikely to me.)

We all believe that we are supposed to be non-judgmental about people’s sexual choices. That’s part of what sexual liberty means. Nobody judges because we can’t judge liberty, right? We’re the USA, the land of the free. What can there be to judge about people exercising one of the fundamental rights upon which our country was founded? So, nobody questions this mother about her choices, and the man is not around to question. A reporter may not even think to ask the question, since he is operating under that false idea of liberty. But we can easily see where that idea of liberty has led us: daddies are optional. Stories like this one make the point painfully, horrifyingly clear. No daddy at home, no daddy in the story, and no daddy even asked about.

And now no baby either. I wonder if he knows his daughter is dead.

“Alternative” families are near occasions of sin for children

I am going to make a very bold claim: so-called “alternative” families are near occasions of sin for children.

In order for readers to understand this claim, I will first define a few terms:

  • Intact family structure (we have to understand the “intact” form before we can understand the “alternative” form)
  • Alternative family structure
  • Near occasion of sin

Definition of “intact family structure”

I define an “intact family structure” as when male/female couples put these three ideas together to form families:

  • Marriage
  • Sex
  • Procreation

God designed these three things to function together as a unified whole, not to be separated.

Regarding infertility: some male/female couples experience infertility due to no fault or actions of their own. I include those couples here, since their lack of procreation is not their doing but God’s. I leave that in His hands, and I know that He has a plan for them. I also include here married and infertile male/female couples who have caused their infertility but later realize their error in causing the infertility and turn from it.

Definition of “alternative family structure”

I define a “alternative family structure” as when adults create a family by separating one or more of those things from the others (marriage, sex, procreation). I exclude ethical adoption from the definition of “alternative family structure,” since its purpose is to find parents for children who need them, rather than finding/creating children for parents who want them as we see in the “alternative” form.

Definition of “near occasion of sin”

According to the Baltimore Catechism:

The near occasions of sin are all persons, places, or things that may easily lead us into sin.

Lying is sin, and having the structure of a family that fosters lying about what it is like to be separated from one’s parents, extended family, origins, and culture qualifies as a near occasion of sin, in my view.

One of the things I love about being Catholic is how we learn to make proper distinctions. That is what we are doing here, making proper distinctions.

Science vs. social liberals

Just as there are social conservatives, there are social liberals. I define “social liberal” as anybody who is liberal when it comes to social issues. It the opposite of social conservative. Regarding life, family and sexual issues, whatever the social conservative believes, the social liberal believes the opposite. Party affiliation is not necessarily an indication of somebody’s stance on social issues. For example, I believe that most Democrats are social liberals, but I also know that some are not. There are growing numbers of Republicans embracing social liberalism but typically the Republican party is the home of social conservatives.

Here is a chart I made to show how social liberals are at odds with science. It is reductive for a reason. I want to make it clear how a certain demographic (the older generation) exercises “sexual liberty” at the expense of another demographic (their offspring). The negative impact on their offspring is ignored, downplayed, or denied by social liberals.

Issue Science says… Social liberals say…
Does human life begin at conception? Yes No
Is sexual orientation innate and fixed? No Yes
Is “gender identity” fixed at birth? Yes No
Do children fare better with their own married mother and father? Yes No
Do fertile couples have a right to pregnancy free coitus? No Yes
Is divorce harmful? Yes No
Is pornography harmful? Yes No
Is gay sexual activity harmful? Yes No
Are men and women different? Yes No

I’m sure I could add more things to this list.

 

Things children of divorce aren’t supposed to think about: lost inheritances

There are many things children of divorce are not supposed to think about or question. One of them is how their inheritances get funneled in different directions during and after a divorce. In an intact family, the marital assets usually become the children’s inheritance at the appropriate time. In a divorce, the marital assets usually become diverted in other directions. I am aware of two ways this can happen.

1) The divorce industry. The divorce industry thrives on siphoning marital assets in order to legally separate spouses from each other. Here is a list of common expenses that occur during and after a divorce:

  • The total cost of the attorney’s fees. Rates can go up to $475/hr. according to LegalZoom.com.
  • Court costs
  • Costs for parent education classes
  • Mediation costs
  • Refinancing costs
  • Record deed fees
  • Mandated psychological evaluation and counseling costs
  • Interest on credit cards (parents were often struggling financially after the divorce, much more so than before it)
  • The cost of operating two homes vs one home

2) Remarriage after divorce. Another thing to consider is when one or both parents remarry. A new step-parent might have a legal claim on assets that were acquired during the former marriage. This claim can rise above the children’s claim depending on the state and/or if certain actions were not taken ahead of time to prevent this from happening. If or when the child’s parent dies, those assets can flow to the step-parent and the step-parent might not have any legal obligation to make sure the deceased spouse’s children receive those assets.

During and after divorce, marital assets no longer flow intact to the next generation. This another long term ramification of divorce.

Church fathers on contraception and abortion

I came across some quotes by church fathers on contraception and abortion. They were located on a site that is no longer active, and I had to retrieve them from the Google cache. The site was bibleandbirthcontrol.com. Here is a link to the cached page but I don’t know how long it will be valid. Below is copied and pasted from the cache. I did a tiny bit of editing, but only on the author names–I put the author names above the quotes rather than below them. The page also had quotes from Luther and Calvin, and I have included them as well for any of my Protestant readers who may be interested. This is not exhaustive. For more quotes, go here, here, and here.

St. Augustine:

“I am supposing, then, although you are not lying [with your wife] for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed. Those who do this, although they are called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but with a respectable name cover a shame. Sometimes this lustful cruelty, or cruel lust, comes to this, that they even procure poisons of sterility [oral contraceptives]” (Marriage and Concupiscence  1:15:17).

“You [Manicheans] make your auditors adulterers of their wives when they take care lest the women with whom they copulate conceive. They are unwilling to have children, on whose account alone marriages are made. How is it, then, that you are not those prohibiting marriage, as the apostle predicted of you so long ago [1 Tim. 4:1-4], when you try to take from marriage what marriage is? When this is taken away, husbands are shameful lovers, wives are harlots, bridal chambers are brothels, fathers-in-law are pimps.” (Against Faustus, 15:7)

John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans 24:

“Why do you sow where the field is eager to destroy the fruit, where there are medicines of sterility [oral contraceptives], where there is murder before birth? What then?  Do you condemn the gift of God and fight with His laws?  Yet such turpitude.  The matter still seems indifferent to many men—even to many men having wives. In this indifference of the married men there is greater evil filth; for then poisons are prepared, not against the womb of a prostitute, but against your injured wife. Against her are these innumerable tricks.”

John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew 28:5:

“In truth, all men know that they who are under the power of this disease [the sin of covetousness] are wearied even of their father’s old age [wishing him to die so they can inherit]; and that which is sweet, and universally desirable, the having of children, they esteem grievous and unwelcome. Many at least with this view have even paid money to be childless, and have mutilated nature, not only killing the newborn, but even acting to prevent their beginning to live [sterilization].”

Martin Luther:

“Moses numbers fertility among the blessings. ‘There will not be a barren woman among you,’ he says (Ex.23:26).  We do not regard this so highly today.  Although we like and desire it in cattle, yet in the human race there are few who regard a woman’s fertility as a blessing.  Indeed there are many who have an aversion for it and regard sterility as a special blessing.  Surely this is also contrary to nature.  Much less pious and saintly.  For this affection has been implanted by God in man’s nature, so that it desires its increase and multiplication.  It is inhuman and godless to have a loathing for offspring.”

“Today you find many people who do not want to have children.  It is even more disgraceful that you find princes who allow themselves to be forced not to marry, for fear that the members of their house would increase beyond a definite limit.  Surely such men deserve that their memory be blotted out from the land of the living.  Who is there who would not detest these swinish monsters?”

John Calvin:

“The voluntary spilling of semen outside of intercourse between man and woman is a monstrous thing. Deliberately to withdraw from coitus in order that semen may fall on the ground is doubly monstrous. For this is to extinguish the hope of the race and to kill before he is born the hoped-for offspring.”