- Boycott the Knights of Columbus
- A wedding sermon.
- An open letter to my parish community.
- Why was a college student in the car of drunken Archbishop-elect Cordileone at 12:26 AM, when Cordileone was arrested for a DUI?
- When the Church married Same-Sex couples.
- How It All began
- The Supreme Court’s Decisions and the New Mason-Dixon Line
- What the Vatican & American bishops DO NOT want you (and Politicians) to know.
- The Morality of Sex, gay & straight.
- San Francisco in archbishop Cordileone’s sight
Friday, June 17, 2011
Who decides what is legal in New York (& the USA)?
The New York Times reports,
Several Republican senators in New York are urging Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to consider changing his proposed same-sex marriage bill to better protect religious institutions, addressing a concern that has emerged as one of the bill’s chief obstacles as the legislative session comes to an end.
Conservative religious leaders and representatives of the New York State Catholic Conference made the rounds of the Capitol on Thursday seeking to press their case against the measure.
“We are relaying our very serious concerns to members of the Legislature regarding the religious liberty implications of Governor Cuomo’s bill,” said Dennis Poust, a spokesman for the conference. “It should be noted that we will continue to strongly oppose any redefinition of the historic understanding of marriage, regardless of the strength of the religious liberty protections. However, should the bill pass without adequate protection, it will have potentially far-reaching consequences for our ministries, both in terms of contracts to provide services and potentially to challenges to not-for-profit status.”
Dennis Poust, communications director for the New York State Catholic Conference, says it has a network of more than 60,000 people across the state emailing and making thousands of phone calls to senators' offices.
"We're trying to convince them, this is not right for the state," he said.
The bill does not compel any member of the clergy to conduct same-sex marriages, but some Republican lawmakers are concerned the legal protection is not strong enough.
New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan on Wednesday equated the actions of lawmakers to restrictive Communist regimes.
Actually, Dolan has far more in common with those dictatorial despots who use the power of the State to impose their vision of right and wrong involuntarily on powerless citizens. Make no mistake, this is not about "morality" it is about raw naked political and social power. It is about the power of individuals to live freely versus the power of institutions, like the Catholic hierarchy, to dictate how those individuals may live. Dolan's assertion is not merely absurd, it is an unsophisticated inversion of the truth meant to seduce and deceive the public and intimidate politicians. In his own words,
"Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America - not in China or North Korea," he wrote on his blog. "In those countries, government presumes daily to 'redefine' rights, relationships, values, and natural law."
So the question is: what's "natural" or "unnatural?" That, in turns, leads to a more overarching question: Is homosexuality a status or a choice?
Some thinkers, including several members of the Supreme Court, seem to reason that homosexuality is an inborn status.
Catholicism--and, indeed most religions--teach that while homosexuality exists, homosexual activity is a "disordered" choice against the laws of nature.
If homosexuality is indeed a status rooted in biology or genetics, then homosexuals, like left-handed people, act according to their nature. But if homosexuality is a choice rooted in behavior, then homosexuals act against nature.
Stay with me, because here the argument splits even further. Are we talking about civil rights or morality?
In terms of civil rights, individuals deserve and are afforded protections for both status (say, skin color) and choice (for example, religious affiliation).
In terms of morality, status is neutral, while choice has implications and consequences.
Catholicism argues that homosexuals deserve legal protections, but not because homosexuality is a status. Catholicism says homosexual activity is a choice. So while bishops support non-discrimination policies, they won't agree that homosexuals are protected because of their genetic makeup.
Catholic thinkers have grappled with this question for ages. Creighton University professors Todd A. Salzman and Michael G. Lawler are the latest voices on the Catholic circuit. Their 2008 book, "The Sexual Person," just earned a rebuke from the U.S. bishops' doctrine committee.
Salzman and Lawler's dense academic argument turns traditional Catholic teaching on natural law on its head. They redefine natural law, saying "nature" is personal and individual, and that sexual activity need not be directed at procreation (contrary to what the Catholic Church has always said).
Salzman and Lawler argue that what is "natural" for a heterosexual is not "natural" for a homosexual, and therefore homosexuals and heterosexuals must act in accord with their personal "natures".
In other words, if it's "natural" for a homosexual to perform homosexual acts, then--for that person--heterosexual acts would be "unnatural" and immoral. For the two professors, homosexual activity is only immoral for the heterosexual acting against his or her nature.
Bottom line: Salzman and Lawler are arguing that homosexuality is a status, not a choice. If that's the case, then everyone--including the Catholic Church--should line up in support of an entire rainbow of gay-related arguments and ideas.
Taken to their logical conclusion, Salzman and Lawler's arguments would mean that Catholic moral teaching must do a complete about-face and disconnect sex from marriage--even from procreation--altogether.
Brooklyn Diocese' Monsignor Kieran Harrington says every diocese is now aggressively getting the word out to Catholics across New York, which make up 38 percent of the state population, to encourage parishioners to contact senators.
“Every diocese is speaking out to congregations to realize how significant this is,” he said.
Harrington also accuses Gov. Andrew Cuomo and liberal lawmakers of misrepresenting not only the issue, but also those who would oppose it.
"They're trying to say people of faith are bigots, and we think that's offensive," he said. "If they are convinced we were bigots they wouldn't be giving a religious exemption. How can they be proposing an exemption for bigotry?...They can't have it both ways."
What the “good Monsignor,” (I am reminded of an old seminary saying regarding Monsignors, “You have to kiss purple to wear purple.”) conveniently omits is that the majority of “Catholics are more supportive of legal recognitions of same-sex relationships than members of any other Christian tradition and Americans overall.”
State Senate GOP Majority Leader Dean Skelos just said there is no decision to bring gay marriage out for a vote, our Glenn Blain told me. Skelos said they were still deliberating the religious exemption issue and working on changes to the bill. Staffs will continue to work on the issue during the weekend but since Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will be observing the Sabbath, not much official can be done until Sunday.
This is not a “cliffhanger” in the sense of loved ones waiting to hear from surgeons operating on a loved one. In that case, it is a question of skilled physicians and staff working feverishly to preserve life. In this case, it is a question of pope Benedict and archbishop Dolan working feverishly to preserve bigotry.
Bigotry is a term that is bandied about much by people on both sides of this issue. A danger in this practice is that we become desensitized to its meaning. Bigotry means, you don’t get the job, or you lose it because of whom you are. Bigotry means you are emotionally and physically abused EVERY day at school, year after year. Bigotry means that you are afraid to speak the truth about yourself to your parents and siblings. Bigotry means that you have to lie about yourself, simply to survive. Bigotry means that you turn to alcohol, drugs, comfort foods for some temporary relief and these themselves become new demons that you must wrestle. Bigotry means that one third of gay adolescents attempt suicide and many of them—tragically, succeed.
Let me say it here very clearly and unmistakably, archbishop Dolan and pope Benedict are actively promoting bigotry.
Sheldon’s comment about not working on the Sabbath recalls a question from a young Rabbi, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath—or evil? To preserve life--- or destroy it?” [Luke 6:9]