The Supreme Court and Pandora’s Box

Watching the news stories of people celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision to override certain elements of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which in effect legalizes gay marriage, I can’t escape the analogy of watching people celebrate as the Trojan horse is wheeled through the gates of Troy. While this ruling will be perceived as a great victory by some people because it validates their desires, there is a host of evils hiding within that, once they are out, I guarantee you people will regret tremendously, and will begin to rue the day the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds and had the audacity to redefine what constitutes a marriage. Same sex marriage is just the tip of the iceberg. What is waiting in the wings is terrifying. Observe the following:

  1. A lawsuit being referred to as the “Sister Wives” lawsuit because the persons involved with the lawsuit are the ones who are in the TLC reality show of the same name, is being filed in Utah. Kody Brown and his four wives believe the bigamy law in Utah – which does not allow a man to have more than one wife – is unconstitutional.
  2. A woman who calls herself “Ashara Love” defending polyamory and pushing for the right to marry, explains: “We are the next generation after the gay and transgender communities.”  She belongs to a small group that believes people have the right to form their own complex relationships with multiple partners. The most vocal want the right to marry as a cluster. “We have rights to love any way we want unless we are harming other people,” said Love. “Like the air we breathe, we have a right to be and do and say whatever is our full expression, and this to me is a civil right.”
  3. On Nov. 16, 30-year-old office worker Chen Wei-yih married the love of her life — herself. The Taipei City-based woman, who is no longer single by her own admission, wanted to show other ladies who have hit their thirties without a manifested prince charming that they are not failures. “You must learn to love yourself before you can love others,” said Chen, who also embarked on a solo honeymoon to Australia. Chen explained that when a woman in Taiwan enters her thirties, getting married and having children becomes the main focal point among concerned family, relatives and friends, making a single, independent woman feel like a failure if she has none of those things. Chen explained that “although many people freely express their love for others through flowers, chocolates and expensive dinners, they are less inclined to pamper and shower the same love on themselves. By the same token, expressing your love for a man through marriage and a huge wedding banquet should be something you’re willing to do for yourself. Self-marriage seemed like the logical solution”, she concluded. Making it clear that she has had several boyfriends and relationships, some of which almost led to the altar, Chen described herself as neither unmarriageable nor against marriage to another person. She also considers this marriage non-binding, meaning she is free to marry someone else, but if that opportunity does not arise, at least she made the commitment to forever love herself.
  4. A blog entitled “Full Marriage Equality”, which defines itself as “Advocating for the right of consenting adults to share and enjoy love, sex, residence, and marriage without limits on the gender, number, or relation of participants” and states that “full marriage equality is a basic human right” makes a forceful argument to legalize consensual incest: “In the twenty first century family, we have made progress in leaps and bounds. Interracial couples are accepted, gay rights are improving and ‘acceptance’ is the catch-cry of our generation. But it seems strange that while we have come so far in breaking down these social barriers, we have built other walls. Incest, which was common amongst Ancient Egyptians and monarchs up until a few hundred years ago, is now a social taboo…the thing that really stands out though is that no matter the situation, two or more convictions for incest puts you on the Sex Offenders Register for the rest of your life. ‘Consent’ is not a valid defense. The love of your life can be standing in a witness box, telling the court he loves you, and that it was consensual, but it doesn’t matter…Incest is mainly illegal because there’s a law saying it is. It’s not exactly harmful to participants or their children. You just have to remember that incest and abuse are not synonyms.”
  5. Animal sex advocate Malcolm Brenner is republishing a memoir he wrote about a nine-month sexual relationship with a theme park dolphin. Brenner asks, “What is repulsive about a relationship where both partners feel and express love for each other? I know what I’m talking about here because after we made love, the dolphin put her snout on my shoulder, embraced me with her flippers and we stared into each others’ eyes for about a minute.” Activist Cody Beck compares talking about his attraction to dogs and horses to a gay teenager coming out. Harboring a crush on a Dachshund is “like being gay in the 1950s. You feel like you have to hide, that if you say it out loud, people will look at you like a freak.” Beck says that he and a network of zoophile or “zoos” are the logical extension of the sexual rights movement.

Of course, some people will scoff at the idea that any of these perverse acts will ever be legalized. But the reality is that, given the language used to argue same sex marriage rights – “my civil rights”, “the right to love whomever I choose”, “as long as it’s not harming anyone else” – what foundation is left to prohibit these actions? It is completely eroded away, and it is only a matter of time before the tide of public opinion becomes less hostile to people with these desires and more compassionate and understanding of their “needs” and fights for their rights to marry their sister or their dog. Pandora’s Box has been opened wide!

What I find most interesting (or appalling) in all of this is what has happened to the definition of marriage. If we put all this together, what is society proposing as the new definition of marriage? It would appear to be something like this: “Marriage is a bond of love between one, two or more persons of either sex or with a non-human that may or may not be expressed sexually, that can be permanent if you want it to be or temporary – whichever you prefer. It may be a pledge of fidelity to another person, unless you don’t want mutual exclusivity, in which case you are free to love as many people as you wish.” In other words, “create whatever relationship you’d like and call it a marriage.”

Contrast this with the Christian understanding of marriage that has been the foundation of Western society. That view is that God created Woman from the side of Man to show that the two come from one flesh: This one “at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…that is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body” (Gen. 2:23-24). Add to that the Catholic understanding that in marriage, a man and woman who give themselves to each other sexually are uniting their love with the very love of God, who through them may bring a new life into the world, thereby drawing them into union with the very essence and nature of God and by that act receiving tremendous grace and leading their souls to heaven.

If this new contemporary definition of marriage is allowed to grow and mature, what will we have achieved? There are many legitimate needs that some people face in a society where they cannot enter into marriage with a member of the opposite sex, but they can be met in various other ways without loosely defining any relationship we wish as a marriage. My question is this: is the contemporary ambiguous redefinition of marriage worth throwing away the Christian view of marriage that we have held until now? Where is the improvement? Perhaps we need to discuss the very real possibility that God knew what He was doing when He instituted marriage as a sacred covenant between one man and one woman, and that any attempt on our part to address the legitimate needs of anyone who doesn’t fit this model, no matter how compassionate and understanding we are, will not be solved by redefining marriage to meet their personal desires.

The only hope we have left is for enough people to open their eyes to the reality of the direction in which we are headed and start to acknowledge once again that marriage must only be between one man and one woman. It’s time we lose the egos that have dared to tell God he’s wrong and that we’re going to correct his error. Perhaps we can still round up the evils and put them back in Pandora’s Box before it’s too late. God help us if we don’t!

Either marriage is heterosexual and monogamous or it is totally meaningless. We cannot have it both ways. Which do you prefer?

16 thoughts on “The Supreme Court and Pandora’s Box

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  2. […] Here is a man who bases the slippery slope on the US concept of civil rights: and also includes an extract from an “animal sex advocate”. Here is a gay person who finds bestiality “creepy as hell”. I should say that I seek empathy with the person, and not with the act, which I find incomprehensible. Here is a person who finds sex funny. Well, duh. […]

    • I find the responses to Clareflourish very coherent. There’s one point I can add: This blogger states that bestiality will never be condoned because “[it] will remain a minority taste. It disgusts most people.” But only a few short years ago the same argument was used for why homosexual marriage would never be condoned: it disgusted most people. What is favorable or disgusting changes like the wind, and laws cannot be based on what is disgusting any more than they can be condoned because no one finds them disgusting any more. Here we are seeing the fruits of a society that tries to make moral decisions without a firm moral foundation. If we don’t define morality first, any law is left to the arbitrary whim of feeling. A few years ago, gay marriage was considered disgusting, but now it is socially acceptable. But if in a few years from now bestiality is socially acceptable, those who oppose bestiality will be considered “bestiafobes” and will be accused of “imposing their morality on those who desire sex with animals.” They will find themselves the next victims in the crosshairs of those whose only foundation for determining morality is if “no one else is harmed” or “it makes them happy.” Moral truth is necessary, and without a firm foundation in what has been revealed by God, we are building on sand.

  3. Ryan says:

    Father, given all this, is it ok for a homosexual man to become a priest?

    • Thank you for your excellent question!

      The Church has no official position on this, and there is debate over whether people with same sex attraction should be admitted to the priesthood. I believe that, if he embraces the Church’s teaching that homosexual acts are sinful, if he does not act out his desires and it is not going to cause him any unhealthy and uncontrollable temptations to sin, say in abusing a minor, then I think he could make a fine priest. I know some people will disagree with me. They will feel that, given the sexual abuse of minors that took place, no one with same sex attraction should be admitted to the priesthood. I find that rather draconian. Should we prohibit all heterosexual men from the priesthood because some have sinned with women? I believe it is not the feelings of the man that make him unsuitable but his actions.

  4. Elizabeta says:

    I understand your concerns, but I don’t think that allowing homosexual people to have the right to marriage will lead to an outbreak of siblings suddenly lusting over each other and men chasing dogs and cats around the street. Homosexuality has been around since heterosexuality has (always!), and in many places, it was acknowledged (like ancient Greece, for example) and its recognition hasn’t led to any major issues as of yet. For example, in 2001, the Netherlands becomes the world’s first nation to recognize gay marriage. But they haven’t experienced problems with incest and zoophilia, and I don’t see that happening to a nation so advanced any time soon.

    That doesn’t matter to me all that much in comparison to your last statement, “Either marriage is heterosexual and monogamous or it is totally meaningless. We cannot have it both ways.” Well why not? What makes gay marriage meaningless? Do you mean that the love isn’t real? Or that the children that two gay men or two gay women might raise together have a meaningless family? Not to be rude, but how many gay people does God need to create until we realize that maybe he wants them too? Why do people take the piece of scripture that calls homosexuality ‘an abomination’ (which in ancient Hebrew did not refer to something inherently sinful but to something unorthodox or against tradition) and use it against people? And yet ignore the text above and below it that reads that it is an abomination to eat shrimp and pork, to mix fabrics, and to never co-mingle one’s crops? In Biblical times a man acquired his wife – we don’t do that anymore. Times change. The Bible is the word of God, written through the words of human beings speaking in the context of their time. I can’t for the life of me imagine God saying ‘I’m going to punish you because you are black, you should have been white’ or ‘I’m going to punish you for being a woman you should have been a man.’ So how could he say ‘I am going to punish you for being homosexual, you should have been heterosexual.” And while it’s considered a sin, what kind of a sin is it? Is it a hellbound sin or the kind that can be forgiven…?

    And honestly, what am I going to do? I have a friend, a very close friend named Parson. His family members are homophobic Catholics (though none of them have actually READ the scripture…) and have basically said that they would disown a gay child, and they talk about how disgusting and bad homosexuals are, and they don’t know that their own son is gay. So now he’s dealing with this impossible weight of self-hatred, the weight of his family’s unbeknownst hatred and the idea that he is sick and has a mental disorder – which he doesn’t! My best friend is only a young man who I now fear is struggling with real depression, and I don’t know what I can do for him! He hates himself, his family would hate him if they knew and now he thinks that God hates him! And there’s nothing wrong with him! And now I’m sitting here and I’m starting to cry because I know that his state of mind isn’t good, and I can’t imagine a God that would punish a kind, wonderful person like him for being gay, and for having a boyfriend. Would having a boyfriend that he loves erase all the love that he put into this world through his kindness…? I don’t think that it would.

    • Thank you for your comment. I think, though, that you missed my point. I did not say that gay marriage was going to encourage zoophilia or incest. Instead, I pointed out that the legal foundation for prohibiting these behaviors was removed by the wording of the decision. If the Supreme Court had defined marriage first off and then indicated why they thought being of the same gender was an impediment that did not fit with the definition of marriage, the problem would not be there. But they didn’t. They never discussed what in fact marriage was, and only stated that no one can deny people this civil right. That opens the door for anyone with any desire at all to “marry.” Basically, they created a situation where anyone can create whatever relationship he wants and call it a marriage. Once that happens, there is no value to marriage at all; it has been rendered meaningless.

      I too have friends who suffer from same sex attraction. I have counseled many. I know there is great pain involved. Yes, there are some people who sadly respond poorly to situations. “Gay-bashing” is wrong, and the Church has always taught that homosexually oriented people have the same rights as anyone else. But marriage is not a right, and while there are certainly many issues that need to be addressed concerning the care of homosexually oriented individuals, calling their relationships marriages is not in the benefit of society. You see what has happened? We have completely altered the paradigm of what marriage is. The traditional understanding of marriage is a commitment with society to create a stable nucleus for the raising of children for the advancement of society. That is why society has always had impediments (such as being too closely related or already married to someone else) and why people need a license to get married – marriage has social effects. But now, the shift in the definition – or lack there of – of marriage is that it is centered on the feelings and the needs of the people entering it, not on the well-being of society. Once that became the case, as the Supreme Court in effect upheld, if marriage is solely about the individuals then no one can “pass judgment on anyone else’s choice of whom (or what) to love.” If that is the case, anything can be called a marriage, and the question becomes, why have marriage at all? What purpose does it serve, and why would people even need to get officially married at all? Thus we are left with two choices: traditional marriage between one man and one woman, or totally meaningless marriage. That is the situation the Supreme Court has created. It didn’t have to be this way, but it is.

      One of the chief problems in all of this is the mistaken idea that people can’t find happiness outside of sex and outside of marriage. Marriage is indeed a beautiful institution that is very fulfilling, but it is not the only path to happiness, and you don’t have to get married to find happiness. What about people who never find the right person to marry, or people who are too free-spirited to ever be able to commit themselves to anyone? Are we to say they will never find happiness? And why in every study that is ever undertaken that asks people how happy they are in their work and in life in general, are Catholic priests consistently at the very top as the happiest people in their work and in their life? Celibate chaste men are the happiest of all. I have been living this for 23 years, and I can tell you it is absolutely true. You don’t need sex and marriage to be happy; it can be found in other avenues. As for homosexually oriented people, I think we do them a far better service by helping them find happiness in the numerous other ways available rather than totally altering marriage and society to accommodate their desires. To some I know this will sound cold, but if you meet someone who never found the right person to marry, would you force them to marry someone just to be “happy”, or would you tell them they can find happiness through other channels? The desire of gay people for love and affection is a real concern, but I find altering the definition of marriage to attempt to accommodate them a seriously dangerous mistake.

      • Elizabeta says:

        Yeah I apologize, I realized that I misinterpreted it. Honestly, I pretty much just left the topic behind, though I didn’t exactly realize it. And for the record its nothing I have against you, of course, so if you somehow thought that (not that your response implies it at all) I don’t have anything against you. This is just a big topic for me.

        But the thing is, I know that not everyone needs to be married and to have sexual relationships to be happy. And Parson knows that. But at the same time, he wants to have a relationship, and he thinks that he’s horribly sick for having one. And his family… I don’t understand how a family could ever abandon their son for something like that. That’s when the family is most needed.

        In terms of maintaining the definition of marriage, I can’t see it ever being upped to more than two people to be honest. I can see co-parenting becoming a legal thing (if you don’t know, it’s when a gay male couple will co-parent their kids with a woman, so their kid has a mom, or vice versa), but nothing more than that.

        I just don’t understand why it’s taught that it’s wrong. Can you explain that to me? If two people feel genuine love for each other, why wouldn’t God want that?

      • Thanks, Elizabeta, for your response. And please rest assured, I did not for a moment think you were attacking me or anything. Your response was mature, respectful, and appropriate. Not everybody does that. Some people think the best way to argue with someone is to insult them. Thanks for not doing that!

        The question you mention is one I face frequently in spiritual counseling. People say in effect, “God wants me to be happy and this would make me happy, so wouldn’t God want it for me?” The problem is that we’ve made a serious mistake in our presumption. God never said he just wants us to be happy; he wants us to be holy. There’s a big difference between the two. A funny movie can make me happy, but it doesn’t make me holy. Our calling as Christians is to form ourselves in the image and likeness of Christ. When we are perfectly formed in that image, we are perfected and have entered heaven. God took on our nature so that we could take on his. Sin is by definition anything that contradicts that formation in Christ and leads us astray from him. The Sacrament of Marriage and its seal – the sexual act – unite a couple in their love for each other and with God, for as they pour out their love for each other, God draws that love into his own. They become one with him, and through that love God may create a human life. That is a precious gift. So naturally, anything that would violate the preciousness of that gift leads us away from God and is therefore sinful. That would include any action that would either deliberately block God’s creation – such as contraception – or that is not part of a sacramental commitment – such as pre-marital sex (fornication) or adultery – or any sexual action that by its nature is not a part of the normal sexual action that may lead to procreation – such as masturbation, anal sex, or homosexual activity. No matter how much we desire it, we cannot simply sprinkle holy water on a sinful action and call it a sacrament.

        I can very much empathize with your friend’s predicament. I know that people feel like a freak, like there is something wrong with them. Well, to be honest, yes there is something wrong with him: a desire meant by God to be ordered toward a woman instead is ordered toward a man. But someone who is diabetic has something wrong with him. So does someone who is nearsighted, has a cleft palate, is bowlegged, or mentally retarded. None of this makes the person dirty or unlovable, and no one should feel ashamed of it. He did nothing to cause it. While there are many theories about why someone develops same-sex attraction – and there are probably many causes, just like there is not merely one cause of auto accidents – it is certainly true that no one chooses it freely, and I’m certain many people with same-sex attraction wish they were straight. There is no sin in discovering one has these attractions. If I were talking with your friend I would point that out immediately. He has not sinned by discovering his desires. It is sad that many people have in fact gotten into the habit or mindset of “gay-bashing”. This is wrong, and the Church has always taught that homosexually oriented individuals have the same right to basic human dignity as every other person, and to deny them that is a grave error against them. But marriage is not a right. No one can claim he must be allowed to marry. Once we do that, that’s where Pandora’s Box is opened – as the Supreme Court did. While he has not sinned in discovering these desires within him, God has clearly revealed in six texts of Scripture as well as through the Church that to give into those desires would be sinful. So therefore, if your friend lives a celibate chaste life, he is living a live consistent with God’s call to holiness. Is it easy? Certainly not! He has desires he cannot indulge. But imagine the case of a woman who falls head over heels in love with a man who is already married to someone else. There is no way she is going to be able to satisfy those desires. She must accept that this is a cross she must bear, and that Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to be my disciple, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow in my footsteps.” Just as we can only help her carry her cross and would never counsel her to have an affair with this guy (especially if he has no feelings for her), so I would support your friend in every way possible. Affirm your love for him, his dignity as a child of God, and someone Christ loves immeasurably, and strengthen him in his call to chastity and holiness. Let me say this: in this day and age, for a young man with same-sex attraction to reject the temptation to engage in the gay lifestyle and instead to look to God as the source of his joy, he will find God in such a profound way that will make him realize he would never have found it in a gay romance. God’s love for us is far greater than any human love could ever be, and that is the greatest gift of all!

  5. the frogman says:

    Interesting. Do you see all five of these things as “perverse acts?” Or were you just referring to bestiality?

    1. Yes. The bigamy law probably is unconstitutional.
    2. Sure. Why not allow people to marry whom they want to?
    3. A bit pointless legally. But emotionally? Self love sounds good to me.
    4. I can see the point these people are making. If there is no harm, and if both parties have reached the legal age of consent, why not?
    5. Not sure I can speak on this one. How do you determine consent for non-humans? And without clear consent, how can you be sure it’s not coercive?

    I think exactly as you do. Overturning DOMA will result in examination of other areas in which society has unfairly barred and discriminated against people who are just trying to be themselves. The one area I would caution against is religiously-motivated polygamy. It’s just as damaging to say “God wants you to marry multiple partners” as it is to say “God wants you to marry someone of the opposite sex” if the idea doesn’t already appeal to you.

    Hopefully, though, we’ll quickly come to a realization, as you pointed out, that marriage is meaningless, and then people will start to feel free to live their lives on their own terms without seeking approval from governmental or religious institutions. That would be an ideal outcome.

    • Thank you for your comment. While we obviously have completely different points of view regarding marriage, I appreciate that you responded in a civil manner. Not everyone does that these days. It seems that, for many, the best way to disagree is to insult someone with a varying opinion.

      One of the biggest concerns I have had in this whole matter is the unobserved shift in the attention of marriage. In the past, marriage impediments were determined based upon the well-being of children and the service of the couple to society, namely, in creating a foundational unit of society. The focus now has shifted away from children and service solely to the desires of the participants.I don’t think most people saw that at all.

      • the frogman says:

        That’s a great point. Where does the balance lie between the needs of society and the needs of the individual? And if the judgment comes down on the side of society, how much does the resulting suffering of the individual also affect society?

      • That’s the point! I maintain that the new definition of marriage has focused solely on the needs and desires of the individuals and has not considered the effects upon children and society. I don’t think the Supreme Court considered for a moment the fundamental question of what exactly is a marriage. It would seem to me that they should have answered this question first before they made their ruling to make sure their decision was on a solid basis.

  6. vickiml@att.net says:

    God Bless you Father……   Well said….AMEN…….   Vicki Lippolis

    ________________________________

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