This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Gay Marriage and the Virginia Catholic Conference - Latest News

Yesterday, the parishes distributed the glossy from the Virginia Catholic Conference on the Virginia Gay Marriage Amendment. This fact was duly noted in the Washington Post. Given the bishops involved, I am not at all surprised at the content of their guide. They seem to be buying into the authoritarianism of the evangelical right wing. Politics does indeed make for strange bedfellows.

Much of the pastoral goes to how marriage is an essential institution. If one goes beyond the mythological nature of the story of Adam and Eve, which was itself a teaching tool rather than a rendition of history, one can see how the basic truths recited in the first few paragraphs of the Bishops letter can actually be used as a defense of Gay Marriage, since the marriage covenant is intrinsic to the human condition - regardless of sexual orientation.

Officially, the Church at large believes in civil rights for everyone. For instance, discrimination in employment and housing is not supposed to be allowed and is in fact a sin. I fear the bishops are moving away from even that basic level of decency.

As everyone knows, the Virginia amendment seeks to constitutionalize both the gay marriage ban and a rather miserable law designed to ban most domestic partner benefits, including those that have nothing to do with sex, like medical decisionmaking and joint property ownership. I guess intelligence and enlightenment are related, since anyone with a brain knows that state interference with these rights is a violation of the federal constitution (passing laws to overturn valid contracts is strictly verboten). Irregardless of any new marital rights for gays, the ban being considered in Virginia will fall on those grounds. Of course, this may be a safety valve to have what is a doomed amendment on equal protection grounds fall without actually granting a constitutional right to marry, so the sponsors might actually not be so stupid, although my guess is that the Court will rule on the equal protection issues as well as the contract issues.

As I have said before, celebrating gay unions is actually in the interest of the Catholic Church. To do so is to say that promiscuity is as evil for gays as it is for straights. Equating married gay sex and promiscuous gay sex is like telling gays to go hog wild and by the way, we hope you die. Luckily, marriage is the natural state of any couple, so it is written in the hearts of gays and lesbians as it is in others as well. You would think a Church that prides itself on the study of natural law would figure that one out. Of course, the Church's approach to discovering natural law is flawed, as the election guide shows. The Church claims to teach natural law authoritiatively. The problem is that natural law is based entirely on reason. Once you bring in authority, you are no longer teaching natural law because you are relying on something besides reason. The bishops contend that God would be disappointed with a vote against the amendment. This is silly. If anything, God is disappointed with the amendment itself, for the reasons I have set forth. Of course, God does not get disappointed. God is happiness itself. We do not have the power to make God less than happy. To contend otherwise is huberis. Morality does not exist to make God happy, but to make man happy on earth. Denying gays and lesbians the right to marry is hardly spreading happiness. Neither is discouraging discrimination.

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