Same-sex marriage is a form of iconoclasm

God designed marriage and the family as a reflection of the Most Holy Trinity and the Holy Family. Advocating for marriage to be something other than one man, one woman, for life is to advocate for a new sort of iconoclasm. Ultimately, it destroys the historical Christian icon of the family replaces it with something new. This:

holy family

becomes this:

gay-nativity-2

I found the second image by going to Google Images and searching for “gay nativity.” There are so many things wrong with that image, and I hope to blog about those details another time. But just to whet your appetite: the theological implications of two Christs (or three, if we include the original configuration); using marriage to segregate the sexes; the abolition of sexual sin; the enshrinement of sexual sin; undermining the divinity of Christ; the abolition of sex differences; the abolition of Mary, Mother of God; the child as chattel and the object of a contract.

Marriage is only between one man and one woman. As part of the ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Church, this teaching is dogmatic and infallible. It cannot change, ever. Not only that, but to teach otherwise is to lead little ones astray and to cause them to stumble.

I am passing along to you that which was handed to me. Christians who advocate for “marriage equality” are not doing that. They have made up a new teaching and are trying to get support for it by saying that it is consistent with larger themes of the Church such as mercy, charity (love), and justice. They distort those concepts and so are gravely mistaken. Do not listen to any of them and do not be frightened by predictions that the Church will change her teaching on this point. She will not. The true teaching will prevail. Praise God for that.

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What does Peter Hitchens have to do with the fateful Dred Scott decision?

Here is an excellent eight minute video of Peter Hitchens making an important argument for marriage. This argument has rarely been heard, yet it is perhaps the most important argument out there.

It is one of the arguments made by SCOTUS Justice Benjamin Robbins Curtis in his Dred Scott dissent. Justice Curtis was one of two justices who argued against that fateful decision, a decision that changed the course of our nation for the worse.

To see what I mean, first listen to the argument Hitchens makes in this video. It is very easy to understand. Then follow this link to Justice Curtis’ dissent, and do a keyword search (control-f) for the word “marriage.” The two arguments are identical. Justice Curtis argues that SCOTUS had a duty to recognize Dred Scott’s marriage that he entered into while in a free territory and with the consent if his master. I am not qualified to comment on the legal correctness of his argument, but from a moral standpoint, he is correct. The state has a duty to recognize marriage. Marriage changes our status and orients us away from the state, towards our spouse and any children we bear.

Hitchens doesn’t mention Justice Curtis’ argument, so I don’t know if he knows about it.

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.

Same-sex marriage and the fascinating “empty set problem”

… well, I find it fascinating! Not sure if anybody else will. lol

People who argue for same-sex marriage often, if not always, rely on what I call “the infertility argument.” This argument posits that because some opposite sex married couples do not bear children, this means that marriage is not procreative. This becomes the door, so to speak, that people use to justify same-sex marriage.

empty setThe argument has a really fascinating problem, one that is little-known. In fact, I’ve never seen it addressed so I think I am the first person to identify it. I call it, “the empty set problem.” The argument depends on a definite set of infertile opposite sex couples, but I will show how it is not possible to identify the actual members of the set. That is why I say it is an empty set. Let me be clear: the set of permanently infertile opposite sex couples exists. See the brackets on the left? The set is real. The problem is that its members cannot be identified with certainty.

Since all of the members of the set of same-sex couples have a literal 0% fertility, all of the members of the comparison set must also have a literal 0% fertility. To be fair and just, we must apply an equal standard to both sets. Unfortunately, proponents of the infertility argument are not careful in their thinking. They are content with theoretical members in their set of infertile opposite sex couples, members that they don’t have to actually identify. I also suspect that they would be content to have an unequal standard between the two sets, that they would be content to let the comparison set have something slightly above a literal 0% fertility, although I can’t prove this. I do know that they toss this set into the discussion, assuming it is full of members. But arguments depending on a set of real couples must have real, identifiable couples in the set and the standard for comparison must be equally applied.

Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine a football stadium, filled with married opposite sex couples. Now, go through this set couple by couple and identify two characteristics about them:

  1. Which of them are, and will forever be until they die, 100% infertile.
  2. Which will have one spouse die at some point in the future, and the other spouse goes on to remarry and does not bear children in subsequent marriages.

A medical doctor trained in fertility could do the first task but not with 100% certainty across the entire population, and the second task can’t be predicted by anybody.

Quite naturally, these tasks apply to elderly couples. For example, we must predict, with 100% certainty, which actual elderly couples will have the wife die, and then the husband goes on to remarry a younger woman and not bear children. I can’t predict that. Can you?

Now, let’s remove the football stadium and apply this to the entire population. Plus, in real life across the world, new couples are entering the actual set of married, opposite sex couples all the time. Now do those tasks again.

We can’t cheat by using statistics or speaking in generalities, and we must apply the same standard to both sets. We are talking about real couples, so real couples must occupy the set. I don’t think we can identify the specific couples with 100% certainty, but I might be wrong. Perhaps somebody can. Even if it can be done by somebody, the number of members in the set will be dramatically less than people realize.

If the set of opposite sex couples who have a literal 0% fertility rate is empty, this discredits the argument. But even if the set has a tiny number of couples in it, this does not validate the argument. Why? Because we can step back and demand that the burden of proof–that same-sex marriage does not change the character of marriage–rests with those making the argument. Few realize that its more honest proponents have already admitted that same-sex marriage does change the character of marriage:

“Same-sex marriage is far more radical than interracial marriage. It challenges our basic understanding of the institution.” William Saletan of Slate.com.

“Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we’re going to do with marriage when we get there . . . The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change.” Masha Gessen, biographer of Vladimir Putin, as quoted in National Review.red herring

Right on cue, once same-sex marriage became law we saw headlines like this: “California deletes ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ from marriage law.” No more husbands and wives in marriage is part of “gender ideology,” and it changes the character of marriage dramatically. I am so grateful that the Church categorically rejects this change.

The infertility argument was always a red herring based on a specious premise.

Slate’s hasty oversight undermines its prediction about Amoris Laetitia

william saletanOn April 8 of this year, Slate published an essay by Will Saletan regarding Amoris Laetitia (AL). AL is an important document recently issued by the Catholic Church regarding marriage and the family. The essay is called:

Pope Francis’ ‘Amoris Laetitia’ is a Closeted Argument for Gay Marriage

In his essay, Mr. Saletan predicted that the Catholic Church will eventually accept same-sex marriage. He argues that it might take “centuries,” but when it happens, he believes that the Church will quote from AL as justification.

After reading his essay, I noticed the date it was published: April 8, 2016. That is the same day AL was released. AL is 264 pages long. Did he read the whole thing and write his essay in less than a day? Pope Francis specifically requested that people take their time while reading and reflecting on the document:

I do not recommend a rushed reading of the text. AL 7

OK, so it is possible Mr. Saletan rushed through AL. That alone doesn’t mean his prediction is wrong. But I will show that he made a major oversight about Catholic teaching, and that this oversight undermines the basis for his prediction.

His essay contains a number of points about why he thinks the Church will eventually accept same-sex marriage. He talks about how same-sex couples love each other, are committed to each other, can adopt children, and so forth. But his prediction rests on an argument that I’ve seen many times. I call it “the infertility argument.” The infertility argument posits that because some people who are married do not bear children, this means that there is an exception to the procreative aspect of marriage. This supposed exception is the door, so to speak, that people like Mr. Saletan use to argue for allowing same-sex couples to marry. (This argumment has an interesting and little-known problem that I will discuss tomorrow. I call it “the empty set problem.”)

Even so, we can’t apply the infertility argument to the Catholic Church. The first paragraph of Mr. Saletan’s essay has a dramatic oversight about Catholic teaching and infertility:

But if you’re straight and infertile, the rule about transmitting life doesn’t apply. Your marriage is just as valid as anyone else’s…

He does not realize that the Church makes distinctions among married, infertile opposite-sex couples. To be validly married, couples must be open to life in their sexual activity. If they are not, then the Church has a concept known as “simulation against the good of children.” It is when a couple predetermines to engage in coitus in marriage while never achieving pregnancy or childbirth, then accomplishes this through contraception, surgery and/or abortion. It is grounds for receiving a declaration of nullity (annulment) from the Church. Nullity means there was never an actual, valid marriage, even though the couple has a marriage certificate from the government.

In setting up his argument, Mr. Saletan did not account for this group of couples. So this goes back to what I said about him being hasty. He didn’t investigate what the Church teaches about this, then made a prediction that misrepresented the Church.

Does this oversight invalidate the basis of his prediction? I think it does. How can the Church accept same-sex couples as married (who are 100% guaranteed, permanently infertile through their free choice to engage in sexual activity with somebody of the same sex), while at the same time finding other infertile marriages null? Couples of both types make a free choice to engage in sterile sexual activity. They are therefore the same with respect to marriage.

I wish he would represent the Church correctly by acknowledging that she makes distinctions regarding infertility among opposite-sex couples. Then he can try to rework his prediction, but I don’t think the argument can be made based on what I demonstrated here. And as I will explain tomorrow, the infertility argument in general suffers from a fascinating yet fatal flaw that I call “the empty set problem.”