In a previous post I wrote that the legalization of gay marriage was just the tip of the iceberg, and I warned about what was waiting in the wings. Some people scoffed at my prediction. Well, my predictions are coming true!
An activist federal judge ruled on Friday that polygamy is now essentially legal in the United States. U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups recklessly decided that reality TV stars Kody Brown and his four “wives” could not be prosecuted for polygamy, even though the Utah law against the practice is the strongest in the nation. So now, watch! State after state will start legalizing polygamy (including polyamory – three men and two women, for example – it’s the same thing!) and we will be branded as “polyamorophobes” because we oppose it.
I warned from the beginning that once the biblical standard of man-woman marriage was breached, there would be no logical place to stop. Though we as Catholics have been accused of exaggerating and scare-mongering, this ruling shows that we were right all along to sound the alarm. The next in line to be overturned will be bans against incest. After that, bestiality (zoophilia)! Just watch! Don’t believe me? No one believed me when I said polygamy would be accepted. Pandora’s Box is open! All the evils are now out and free! God save us! We obviously can’t leave it up to ourselves to know right from wrong! My biggest fear is that I’m being proven right far sooner than I ever imagined! Do you still think there was nothing wrong with legalizing gay marriage?????
Father Andrew! Buddy, pal, amigo…been a while! How are you doing? hope you’re good, maybe I’ll come to one of your masses some time or something. If you wouldn’t mind, that is.
Anyway, I have thoughts to share here. But let me warn you in advance…I got an A in Philosophy 101, THEREFORE, I KNOW EVERYTHING!
Okay that’s an exaggeration. BUT, prepare to step your game up, old friend, because I am here to win this debate! …Though…odds are I will not win and the debate will end at an awkward draw… #YOLO
Alright. So, you’re saying that we should not shy away from the “biblical standard of man-woman marriage” so as to avoid a gradual downturn that will lead to legalization of incest and bestiality, etcetera, which will pretty much lead to a downfall in general morals. This makes sense. It makes sense to be concerned. Personally I’m not, but I do understand where you’re coming from.
Now personally, as you may recall from about six or seven years ago when you taught my class about it, I wholeheartedly support gay marriage. This is based mostly upon my own personal research, what I’ve been taught elsewhere, having gay friends…but I digress. On a moral level I don’t necessarily approve of polygamy, but I think that legally it should be and needs to be allowed. The reasoning that I use for that is as follows:
-heterosexual and monogamous people are allowed to get married.
-homosexual and/or polygamous people are not allowed to get married.
-allowing some people to marry and denying that to others is a form of discrimination based off of religion.
-Not allowing someone to marry based off of religion is not an expression of religious freedom but of religious repression.
-discrimination and religious repression are wrong
–>Therefore, not allowing homosexual and/or polygamous people to marry is wrong.
I believe that was deductively valid. Now I know you disagree with me, and that’s perfectly fine. But you know as well as I do that we could never base our laws upon religious ideal. And thank God we don’t. The country would fall into chaos. The Bible is not a legal document, and to base our laws off of it would be wrong. This is simple logic.
If two gay men or three polygamous people want to get married, presumably their god’s cool with it. So like I said, to tell them that they can’t get married is not you practicing your freedom of religion, but you denying them their right to it.
You say that we cannot stray from biblical marriage (ignoring the fact that many biblical marriages were polygamous), but at the same time the Bible, as well as all other works of religious literature, are the words of an alleged God through the words of people writing in the dialect and context of their time. For example, the Hebrew people knew that a man and a man could not procreate, so it was an ‘abomination’ for a man to lie with another man. But in ancient Hebrew, the word ‘abomination’ does not refer to something inherently sinful but to something unusual or unorthodox. They were a population trying to grow, and a relationship that wouldn’t procreate simply wasn’t ideal. The same applies to the sin of Onan, he spills his seed upon the ground and God strikes him dead. But we cannot take this literally, can we? We’re above literalism. If we read the Bible on a face value we fail to read it with the context of its original authors and their culture.
There’s also the idea of the Divine Command Theory, which I see in your argument. This is the weakest form of ethical relativism. Does God say that polygamy and homosexuality are wrong because they are wrong? Or are they wrong because God says they’re wrong? If your answer is the former, then what proof is there that homosexuality and polygamy are wrong? What makes it wrong if not simply because God says so? And if the latter, and it is wrong simply because God says so, presumably God could say that it is morally right to kill and torture and rob. But clearly that isn’t true.
Finally, I think we need to look at the fundamental differences between homosexuality or polygamy and incest, bestiality and pedophilia.
Presumably speaking, the individuals involved in a homosexual or polygamous marriage would be beyond the legal age of consent, and therefore able to make their own decisions. I really and truly hate to use the ‘they’re not hurting anyone’ argument, but they aren’t. You can’t argue that these marriages are harmful to the institution of marriage or to society because that is, as Hank Green would say, a hypothotheory. I could say the opposite and say ‘I think denying consenting adults the right to marry who they love undermines the institution of marriage’ and it would be just as valid because it has just as much testing. None.
But when you look at incest, bestiality and pedophilia, these DO hurt people. This is the cutoff line. If these things go legal I’ll gladly panic with you. And then move to Helsinki. Now, one COULD argue for incest being alright, but I’m not going to go there. Because no.
Please reply. All my respect.
PS: You may find these videos by John and Hank Green interesting if you have a few minutes. I present to you the ultimate saints of the internet (and I’m being serious in that. They just helped raise $600,000 for charity. Internet saints=INTERSAINTS.)
Well hello Delia! How are you? I see you make me look mute! 🙂
I guess I didn’t do such a great job teaching you in class, as with all your argumentation you seem to have forgotten the foundation of all moral law: moral law is based on the nature of God and having created us in his image and likeness. If you recall, “to go to heaven” means to be made perfect – in the image and likeness of Christ, God-made-man, what we’re about to celebrate at Christmas. So, moral practices are what form us in the image and likeness of God. anything that leads us to that union is called “moral.” Anything that leads us away from that union is what we call “immoral.” And yes, all morality comes from God’s word, whether in the Bible, through Apostolic Tradition, or through the teaching of the Magisterium, the authority that Jesus gave to Peter. Remember that Jesus promised Peter that the “jaws of death would not prevail against it.” That means that he will not allow the church to sustain a false teaching. So if something has been clearly and repeatedly taught by the Church, it must be the truth or Jesus lied to Peter.
Do you see the value of what Jesus gave to Peter in this promise? People all over the world will argue the right or wrong of any moral teaching. There are ultimately only two possible options. One is that morality is determined by mankind, by popular consensus, practice, or the vote. We cannot accept that, for if we did, we’d have to accept that gassing Jews was okay in Germany, as 60% of the people were in favor of it. At Nuremberg, however, the Nazis were prosecuted for “crimes against humanity,” things that no one human being should ever do to another. This clearly shows that there is a moral obligation that supercedes opinion, vote, or popular consensus. From where does that code come? You got it! from God! God is the authority on morality, and he gave the promise to Peter that he would always guide us through the Church. What a blessing that is to have! We don’t have to wonder if we’re right. We know we are, not because I’m so smart, but because Jesus promised Peter he would not allow us to sustain an error. So I can speak with absolute confidence that the Biblical notion of marriage between one man and one woman only is morally correct, not because I’ve done the research and checked my sources, but because God says so! Period. I’d like to know when you became so enlightened that you can correct God, that you can tell him he’s wrong? That’s Original Sin all over again: “You don’t have to listen to God; you have a brain, think it our for yourself!” That’s what the temptation to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was all about – to decide for ourselves what is right and wrong, rather than to listen to God. God is always right; I am not, and neither are you. So whether you realize it or not, your whole defense of gay marriage, etc., was nothing less than saying you can decide for yourself because you “thought it out – did the research – etc.” You committed Original Sin all over again! You decided you are right and God is wrong. Well, all I can say now is, welcome to the fallen human race that we are all in! Now prepare for Christ to save you from your errors by his coming into our world as man to teach us to obey God and not our minds and hearts! Merry Christmas!
Hello Fr. Andrew!
I did not realize that you are not just a theologian, but also a scientist. I think that is so unique! Would you PLEASE post something about the relationship between faith and science? You are in a much better position than most to write about it since you are a priest-scientist!
Thank you (in advance)
With pleasure! I’ve actually had a few requests for specific topics. I promise I’ll get to them in good time.Right now, three days before Christmas with three funerals tomorrow and Christmas Eve is not a great time. But after Christmas Day i should have some free time. God bless you!
I have several friends who are polyamorous. They’re all good, decent people who live their lives very honestly. In fact, I’d say they’re in healthier relationships than most of the monogamous people I know because their relationships are more honest and they have a better support network for themselves as individuals.
I respect your religion, and I’ve been very impressed with the new Pope that the Catholic church has chosen. He’s a good man who lives humbly and doesn’t judge others, something I think the Christian faith as a whole has needed for a long time. I can’t agree with the official policies and opinions of the church though, because I see too many instances where real life shows me that the Bible doesn’t have it right.
For instance, two gay men in a healthy relationship aren’t hurting anyone. They’re taking care of one another. They’re working, tax-paying citizens. Their relationship is between the two of them. They’re not having children, so they aren’t adding to the overpopulation of the Earth. They treat others with respect. They attend their churches and work with charities. I’ve seen multiple examples of this and I don’t see any harm in what they do. Nothing they are doing is causing any actual harm.
The same goes with polyamory.
I see more hurt in straight monogamous relationships than I do in those that are considered alternative lifestyles. If the church disagrees, I respect that, but I would also submit that the church needs to change tactics.
Rather than telling those in other lifestyles how wrong they are, try once again to become the “City Upon a Hill” that the Puritans strove for. Lead by example rather than by decree of sin. The most common complaint I hear from people who are disillusioned with the church is that the church always makes them feel judged, or as though they’re a bad person. That isn’t how it’s supposed to be.
If the church wants to stand up and show people how to live, then it has to do just that. No more priests in sex scandals. A concerted effort to lower the divorce rate in the church. A more active presence in the community. Not an activist presence, but a presence of giving that shows generosity and grace. It seems like the only thing I ever hear from the church any more is how much of a sinner everyone is. Work to get reputable priests and pastors on the airwaves instead of the scam artists that try to sell hope to the elderly and disenfranchised. Make the church something we can look to for leadership and compassion instead of judgment and hate speech. You’re not going to show us the way of love and joy and faith until we can see that you’re walking it yourself. Right now, the church just isn’t putting on a good showing.
Thank you for writing an intelligent response to my post and not a childish rant as some do.
As regards the Church, while it is certainly true that there are areas that have needed reform (the Church is always in need of reform), we have in fact cleaned out the priesthood from the sexual abusers better than any other religion or group has. Studies show that children are now safer around Catholic priests than around ministers of any other religion. In the entire Unites States in the last ten years, the average number of credible accusations made against 40,000 priests is in the single digits. Not a bad record! We’ve cleaned up our act tremendously, but the media continues to cover the subject as if we are still having serious problems in our ranks. That’s neither fair to us, nor is it conducive to our being able to talk about other matters, as Pope Francis has tried to do.
As for the preachers who prey on elderly people, I absolutely agree with you, but they are not Catholics! They are Evangelicals. We have no relations at all with the Evangelical Christians, so you’d need to bring that matter to their attention.
I’m certain polyamorous people are good people. Disapproving of their behavior is not saying they are evil, only that it is contradictory to God’s call to holiness, and that such activity does not lead us to holiness and unity with him, which is what our faith is all about. This is what people continually do to us. Because we disapprove of a particular practice, they automatically accuse us of “judging them”. We judge no one. We condemn sin, but we love the sinner. Every Sunday I remind people to work hard to avoid sin, but every Saturday I sit in a confessional and tell a repentant sinner that God has forgiven him, and to “go and sin no more” as Jesus said. Christ called us to show people how to form ourselves in his image and likeness, thus finding salvation. When Christ teaches something in the Scriptures or through the Church, we cannot change the teaching because people disagree or find it too difficult to follow. The sins of individual members don’t nullify the truth of God’s call to holiness. We try as charitably as possible to teach people to follow Jesus, but we don’t force anyone. Neither do we change our teachings to say what is popular but contradicts God’s law just to get people to join us.
If you want to see people loving and walking the walk, look around you. There are a ton of examples if we just look for them. From Mother Teresa and what she did, to the Catholic agencies that offer more beds for AIDS patients than any other; even though we disapprove of the behavior they practice, we still minister to their needs, to parishes who run soup kitchens and clothing drives, who help poor people in need…need I go on? Like any other group, we have our sinners (I’m one of them), and some people within our ranks have embarrassed us, but that should not obscure the consistent good works of the Church.
Merry Christmas to you and all your loved ones!
“You put tremendous faith in science.”
No I don’t. I put trust in science because I’ve actually done it and explored it myself.
“have you ever proven the Big Bang Theory for yourself? can YOU prove it?”
I’ve studied the evidence and think it is the most likely scenario for the beginning of the current incarnation of the universe, yes.
“I believe in the empirical evidence of God’s creation. ”
I don’t believe what you have is empirical. Or evidence, really.
“you put yours in the idea of chance.”
No, I don’t. Even if I had faith, you’re wrong about what I would put it in.
“I happen to have a bachelor’s degree in meteorology, which makes me a scientist by every right.”
Yeah, no. I don’t think you know what ‘scientist’ actually means, Mr. Carrozza.
“It’s like someone who on his own does experiments and figures out exactly how a chocolate cake is made coming to the conclusion that he has just proven that there is no such thing as a baker.”
It’s actually not like that at all, because we have no evidence of cakes being made without someone baking it. We likewise have no evidence of things like matter or energy being created by someone.
“Scientists have been wrong before”
And how did we find out scientists were wrong? By using science.
“No I don’t. I put trust in science because I’ve actually done it and explored it myself.”
EVERYTHING??? You’ve done EVERY SINGLE SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT THAT WAS EVER DONE YOURSELF??
Have you actually split an atom to prove for yourself that it’s true? Then you are putting faith in what scientists have told you is happening to cause an atomic explosion. How do you know they’re not lying to you? How do you know it’s not something else? What’s your personal PROOF??? You have none! You have FAITH in what others have told you. We can’t escape putting faith in what others teach us, whether its religion or science. Waiting for “my own personal proof” is not feasible. So if we put faith in what scientists tell us, why is it unacceptable to put faith in what religion teaches us.
“I’ve studied the evidence and think it is the most likely scenario for the beginning of the current incarnation of the universe, yes.” You actually prove my point here: “you’ve studied the evidence…” So have I! When I look at the scientific evidence, I find it much more logical to believe that God guided creation rather than that it happened accidentally or merely by chance. Mind you, I am not a “pure creationist,” one of those people who believe the Book of Genesis is an historical, scientific account of creation. If that’s what you think, you’re arguing with the wrong person. Fundamentalists believe that; Catholics do not. I too believe that there’s a lot of credible evidence to support the Big Bang Theory, but what I don’t think science has proven is that God didn’t create the universe, but rather, HOW he created the universe. The Big Bang, if correct, is what God did to create the universe. That’s my argument about the baker. Just because we figured out how the universe came to be doesn’t mean there was no creator, and more than figuring out how a cake was made proves there was no baker.
As for my scientific ability, let’s keep things professional and respectful, shall we? Please don’t try to insult my scientific knowledge, which I assure you is extensive.
“If it’s not hurting anyone….” See the problem with that argument?
Not at all. Harm is the primary issue when I consider actions to take.
You can claim it causes harm all day. But unless you have evidence, why should I listen to you?
Okay, look at the evidence: God’s law instructs us to create stable families where one man and one woman as equals cooperate with him in bringing children into the world and raising them for him to be solid individuals. Any psychologist worth his salt will acknowledge that children are best raised in a stable family with one father and one mother in love with each other. Polygamy, as was amply evidenced in the “Sister Wives” show, has reduced the women to being the man’s harem, where they compete with one another for his attention. This not only totally reverses any gains made by the women’s liberation movement but actually puts us back millennia in time to where a wife was a man’s property. Which is more productive for a stable society, loving committed relationships or harems?
Already you’ve lost me, because I’m an atheist. If you want me to follow your argument that’s based on ‘God’s law’, first you have to convince me a god exists, and then convince me that god has laws about marriage, and then convince me that you know those laws.
So you have a bit of a travel, in that case.
“Any psychologist worth his salt will acknowledge that children are best raised in a stable family with one father and one mother in love with each other.”
Actually, no. The studies are in and show that same-sex couples can provide stable families just as much as opposite-sex couples. There are currently no good studies on polygamous families, but I see no reason to assume that they’re automatically bad. Provided, of course, that those families involve adults who engage in the relationship of their own free will.
“Polygamy, as was amply evidenced in the “Sister Wives” show, has reduced the women to being the man’s harem”
You are not helped by trying to use an argument from fiction. (Whether scripted or ‘reality tv’, it’s fiction.)
“This not only totally reverses any gains made by the women’s liberation movement but actually puts us back millennia in time to where a wife was a man’s property. ”
Assuming that a woman couldn’t have multiple husbands. I see no problem with that. I know a fair number of polyamorous couples just like that.
“Which is more productive for a stable society, loving committed relationships or harems?”
Loving committed relationships. But nothing you have said indicates a polyamorous relationship has to be a harem.
Well, time does not permit me to try to convert you at this moment. I always feel sorry for those who refuse to accept God, as they’re throwing their whole meaning for existence away. Atheism would teach me that I am a haphazard piece of cosmic dust that evolved purely by chance from a big bang some billions of years ago. That makes me no different from all the other cosmic dust out there. God teaches me that I am deliberately created in His image and likeness and, in spite of all the billions of people He has ever created, I am loved by Him as if I were the only person He ever created, and that He calls me to holiness and unity in Him to enjoy absolute bliss with Him in His kingdom once His kingdom is fully accomplished. Which do you think gives me more meaning? Yes, you can reject God, but does the alternative give you any hope? The only possibility that ultimately gives man any meaning is the existence of God. We all have to put faith in something – science, philosophy, religion, I choose God. I find great hope in that.
As for polyamory, suppose it turns out to be a big mistake? Can we be certain it will be okay before we jump on the bandwagon and accept it, especially since you mention there is no study to show whether or not it works? Every indication is that it is an idea headed for disaster. Strong, healthy monogamous marriages produce strong, healthy children; there can be no debate about that. There’s a lot at stake in throwing monogamous marriage out the window and allowing people to enter marriages of their own design. You still have yet to answer the question of what a marriage is in the first place.
“Atheism would teach me that I am a haphazard piece of cosmic dust that evolved purely by chance from a big bang some billions of years ago.”
No, it wouldn’t. You’ve just presented an inaccurate summary of what science tells us.
“Which do you think gives me more meaning?”
The one that’s real, and backed up by evidence and science.
“Yes, you can reject God, but does the alternative give you any hope?”
Hope of what?
Also, I don’t believe in something based on how much hope it gives me. I believe in things based on the evidence.
“We all have to put faith in something”
No, we don’t. You might but I do not.
If you think of something I believe on faith, though, please let me know. If you find something I do believe on faith, the first thing I will do is stop believing that thing.
“As for polyamory, suppose it turns out to be a big mistake?”
Suppose it does? If polyamory, which people can do nowadays of their own free will even if the government won’t legalize a ceremony around it, will you run out and get a polyamorous marriage? Will your congregants?
Are people not allowed to make their own mistakes, assuming this is one of them?
“Strong, healthy monogamous marriages produce strong, healthy children; there can be no debate about that.”
Sure. Whether that marriage is opposite sex, same sex or polyamorous. Monogamous within the marriage relationship helps children have less issues. Agreed.
“You still have yet to answer the question of what a marriage is in the first place.”
In the first place it was a contract transferring ownership of a woman between her father and another man.
Now it’s a loving relationship between consenting adults, sometimes backed up by a legal contract, sometimes by a religious ceremony, sometimes neither and sometimes both.
You put tremendous faith in science. You trust other people’s experiments and opinions. have you ever proven the Big Bang Theory for yourself? can YOU prove it? You therefore put faith in others’ words. You believe in the empirical evidence of science; I believe in the empirical evidence of God’s creation. To me, it makes much more sense to say that the universe, with all its finesse was guided by a creating hand than that it just happened. I put my faith in the idea of a creator; you put yours in the idea of chance. No, I do not misrepresent science; I happen to have a bachelor’s degree in meteorology, which makes me a scientist by every right. I affirm lots of the truths of science, but science alone without God is pointless. It’s like someone who on his own does experiments and figures out exactly how a chocolate cake is made coming to the conclusion that he has just proven that there is no such thing as a baker. Faith in God gives me hope in Eternal Life, that my life is in the hands of a Perfect Being who will always show me the truth. Can you find any human being or opinion or other set of scientific beliefs that you can say will never steer you wrong and will always lead you to the truth? Scientists have been wrong before; God has not!
These are the plans of man and do not correspond to the plans of God.
See what happens when we decide we don’t need to listen to God but can decide right from wrong on our own? The first time that happened, we called it Original Sin.
Now…why is polygamy bad? Particularly if it is between consenting adults. Do you have reasons, or just don’t like it?
“No one believed me when I said polygamy would be accepted. ”
We liberals did. We just don’t particularly care, provided they aren’t hurting anybody.
See what I mean??? So when someone wants to marry their dog, that will be all right too? They ARE hurting someone – society! Marriage is the backbone of the family, and the family is the backbone of society. Alter the definition of marriage and you alter society. You can’t avoid it. have you thought through what that will mean? And secondly, if a man can marry his dog, or a rock, or a tree, we have to ask the question that the Supreme Court never asked when it redefined marriage: “What is marriage?”
“See what I mean??? So when someone wants to marry their dog, that will be all right too? ”
So to you, a consenting adult is the equivalent of a dog? Do I have that right?