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Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Francis Beckwith

I just don't understand Miller's obsession with biblical polygamy as a defeater to same-sex marriage. Even if we were to assume the polygamy is a legitimate Christian option (and, for the record, I don't for a minute believe it), it does not count against the telos of human sexuality. All that it would show is that a man may have more than one wife, but it would surely not establish that he may have at least one husband. On the other hand, if one thinks of biblical polygamy as a tolerable aberration from the norm, again, it actually reinforces the telos of human sexuality that grounds male-female marriage. It is, to be sure, the wrong number; but it's the right order.

What am I missing in Miller's argument? I don't see how you can move from "polygamy is allowed" to same-sex marriage is permitted.

Jack Grimes

Next up from Newsweek, Advent expose on Luke's Gospel:

"Abstinence not 100% effective, Scriptures show."


One aspect of this whole thing that I have found amusing (although it is sad actually) is how scandalized Lisa Miller is at the notion that celibacy is superior to marriage. She can understand it only as a denigration of marriage; it is evident that the possibility that there is something that is literally "better than sex" is completely beyond her understanding. It is the perfect illustration of the modern materialist's mindset. The notion that there is something "better than sex" is a direct blasemphy against the modern god of Sex, which to the materialist is the highest good.


All I can say is this is the wave of the future as far as public opinion. I'll be on age a bit watching all the clergy with gay sympathies as this gets harder and harder to soft-peddle amidst the voiceferous arguments.


The polygamy argument works like this, as voiced by a gay friend:

"Human sexuality has always been a grab bag of desires. The patriarchs thirst for action could not be slaked. David we know must have been gay like Michaelangelo. And the Church has always been prone to legalism and running from desires. Paul obviously had hangups: he thought "burning" desires were a sin. So don't go pointing a Bble at me. It is as sexually angst-ridden and twisted as human history. People sexually are all over the map wrestling with desires, and you can't tell me God has had a consistent rule when he hasn't! As for God's model for marriage, it just can't be iron-clad, since our desires aren't either!"


A comment that I hear from the pro-queer side is the following: "Heterosexuals aren't sticking to marriage, so what gives them the right to tell homosexuals that they can't even try? In fact, queers might have something to TEACH heteros about marriage, as most of them are VERY dedicated to one another."

Such a statement is patently absurd, of course: the statistics on homosexual promiscuity are well-documented. But it does slap one in the face with a sad fact: the West just doesn't really give a crap about marriage anymore. It's just another "life-style choice," to be made if you prefer, or to be avoided if you don't. So honestly, if the pro-queer side gets their way, it will only be the "straw that breaks the camel's back." Like Marxists before them, they recognize that a social institution has been damaged beyond repair, and they seek to finally destroy it for the sake of rebuilding it into their own egalitarian version.

My solution: eliminate State involvement in the recognition of marriage. It's extreme, but it might be crazy enough to work. And by "work," I mean stop the State from enforcing the radical views of a small, petulant minority. Even I'm not sure this is a good answer, but I'm not seeing many ideas which will stop what is happening in this country barring mass conversion of hearts and minds.


I think your comment is on target, as are so many that you do, and it is good that you are making it so clear the difficulty that we have with awful 'journalism.'
What I found frustrating was your need to drag McDonald's through the mud. Yes, the food could be healthier, and yes, people may each too much of it, but in moderation I find it very enjoyable. Perhaps I am in the boat you accuse Newsweek readers of being in, but I must say, with regard to the Golden Arches - I'm Lovin' It! I say the same about all the work you and Ignatius Press do for Christ and His Church(although I know your work isn't bad for the health, excepting getting the blood boiling for good reason).

In Christ,



Meachem and other supporters of gay marriage make two fundamental mistakes when they suppose that opposition to gay marriage ultimately will go the way of opposition to racial equality. One mistake is not understanding the fundamental, and indispensable, role of Christianity (and the Catholic Church in particular) in forming Western culture. Christian opposition to racial discrimination enabled the development of a broad societal consensus on civil rights for blacks; Christian teachings on sexuality ensure that no such consensus will ever emerge in the West with regard to gay marriage so long as Christianity continues to live in the West. A bet for the triumph of gay marriage is a bet against Christ and His Church. That is a very bad bet. It is possible that Catholicism and all other Christianity will by and large disappear from the West. But, were that to occur, what we understand as "the West" would disappear with it.

The second mistake goes to the substance of the argument: gay marriage will not win a consensus because it is contrary to the truth. A lie contrary to the truth of Christ can gain only so much traction. It can never win a permanent place in the minds of men who have heard the Gospel. Racial equality won broad consensus because, unlike gay marriage, it comports with the truth.

Insofar as gay marriage is concerned, the real analogy is not with the civil rights movement but with abortion. When Roe was decided it was supposed that a consensus supporting the ideology of abortion would triumph in short order. But it was not to be for the same reason that gay marriage will never win a consensus: it is contrary to the truth.

Carl E. Olson

What am I missing in Miller's argument? I don't see how you can move from "polygamy is allowed" to same-sex marriage is permitted.

Frank: I don't think you're missing anything. Miller's argument makes no sense at all. In fact, it's not even an argument.

Carl E. Olson

What I found frustrating was your need to drag McDonald's through the mud. Yes, the food could be healthier, and yes, people may each too much of it, but in moderation I find it very enjoyable.

Well, I eat at Dairy Queen and Taco Bell from time to time, so I'm hardly above reproach in this regard. And, obviously, there is a difference between eating fast food and reading anti-Christian opinion pieces. My point, however, was that none of us (I hope) would think that one's main source of nutrition should be McDonald's, nor should Newsweek be a central source of information about, well, much of any consequence. Which doesn't keep anyone from enjoying, on occasion, a Big Mac, or an article about this or that. But both McDonald's and Newsweek are very much about style and marketing over substance and true value. That was my point.



I have thought for a long time that we may find it necessary to de-link the Church from state regarding marriage. That is, renounce and relinquish any state authority to create a legal contract in the course of the sacrament.

If I am not mistaken, Orthodox Churches were forced into that situation in the Soviet Union for other reasons, and in some cases carry that separation with them here.

I attended a "crowning" in a Carpatho-Rusyn Church, at which the priest, aware of the many non-Orthodox family members in attendance preached a great and moving homily about marriage, and in particular the vast distinction between a legal contract and the sacrament.

The legal signing and witnessing were kept out of the Church proper, not allowed even into the nave, but conducted prior to entering.

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