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« Why shoot the messenger? | Main | Well, if the shoe fits... »

Monday, December 08, 2008


Francis Beckwith

Carl. Reading that article is a painful experience.

With all the literature published on marriage by traditionalists over the past 15 years, the article's ignorance is inexcusable. It is journalistic malpractice.

It also shows how an entire generation born after 1970--and that presumably includes Lisa Miller--cannot wrap their minds around a moral argument. They have become so indoctrinated into one of two ways of doing ethics--authoritarian biblicism or postmodern relativism--that they can't think of any other way to think about these things. Take, for example, her use of Scripture. She reads it like a post-modernist trying to read it like fundamentalist. The results are mind-numbing.

She doesn't see that you can't "honor you father and mother" unless there's such a thing as a father and a mother who are wedded. She doesn't see that when the Church is called the "Bride of Christ," it implies normative complementarity of gender. She doesn't see the "in the beginning they were created male and female" is the paradigm, as Jesus himself readily states. She ignores the sacramentality of marriage in Church History that lasted until the desacrementalizing of it by the Protestant Reformation, the defenders of the sola scriptural she claims to be presenting!

She ignores contemporary defenders of marriage, including Robby George, John Finnis, and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, all fairly sophisticated Christian intellectuals.

Jon Meacham should be embarrassed.


You know what is even more painful? Reading Fr. James Martin's brief review of the article on America's website. Fr. Martin opines: "Lisa Miller, a senior editor at Newsweek who oversees all the mag's religion reporting (and does a great job at it) has a cover story, posted online today, on what the Bible says (and may intend) and doesn't say, about same-sex marriages and homosexuality in general." Fr. Martin then cites, with apparent approval, an argument, attributed to Walter Brueggemann, that the Bible justifies gay marriage. The purported biblical support is Saint Paul's statement that "there is neither Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ" and "the general conviction that the Bible is bent toward inclusiveness."

I do not how to express how stunning I find it that such accomplished and presumably intelligent people could say such ludicrous things. Is it just me or is the world really going off the rails in nearly unprecendented fashion?

Gabriel McAuliffe

Dan -

It isn't just you.

The world really is going off the rails in nearly unprecendented fashion.

I was bothered by that post myself. I am really naive, because I usually am surprised by such posts as the one to which you refer.



Lisa Miller's conclusion directly confronts the SSMer who claims that the goal of merging SSM with marriage would not adversely impact religious liberty.

* * *

She offers the proposition:

"If we are all God's children, made in his likeness and image, then to deny access to any sacrament based on sexuality is exactly the same thing as denying it based on skin color—and no serious (or even semiserious) person would argue that."

* * *

In accordance with Catholic teaching and Catholic anthropology, the sacrament is inapplicable to gay union. Because the conjugal relationship does not exclude one sex but rather unites the sexes and provides contingency for procreation.

There is one human race and its nature is two-sexed. The attempted anology with racism fails due to this objective truth.

Contrary to Lisa Miller's misrepresentations, same-sex sexual behavior is neither conjugal nor sacramental.

Thus, she openly asserted that the Catholic church, with its celebration of the sacrament of matrimony, is neither serious nor semiserious.

The matrimonial covenant has as its author God himself, but He is also neither serious nor semiserious, according to Lisa Miller.

The culture-changing goal of the pro-SSM side does go beyond the law and the courts and reaches into the religious practices and sancturaries of those who oppose the merger of nonmarriage with marriage.

Deacon Harold

I was in a good mood until I read that garbage. Now I'm sick. Thanks, Carl! ;-)


There are a several underlying motivations going on here.

First, there is the fact that in thirty States, when people have a chance to vote on this, traditional marriage has won. So there is a great deal of re-education of the masses that needs to be done. She begins right away to go after what she sees as the main obstacle, religious objection.

She uses the Sola Scriptura model because she is no doubt from that background, and believes that for those taught that Scripture is the sole rule of faith, if the anti-gay marriage argument can be undermined from Scripture, the whole thing will fold.

Deeper than that, and she touches on it, without stating it explicitly, the demand for homosexual marriage goes far deeper than the civil benefits offered by that status, for we know as she does that nothing short of the re-definition of the term marriage will suffice. That is why the religious argument.

Why is marriage necessary, even when all the civil benefits are offered in a "civil union" arrangement? By usurping the term "marriage" the proponents have the State declaring and the Church forced (yes it is about coercion) to declare homosexual intercourse as "normal." They have declared it for years and they need the Church to declare it.

Why is that necessary? Beneath it all, is the longing for God to declare homosexual sex as "normal." In a world where objective and subjective reality are blurred, if the Church declares it then perhaps God accepts it.

In the Catholic Church, this is where they crash against the hard rock of objective reality, because the magisterium does speak for God and is protected by the Holy Spirit from error. Which brings up the reason that the Church has lasted for 2000 years, which she is oblivious to, that is the Holy Spirit.

Christopher Milton

I know there is only a shadow of a chance that it would be published, but, Carl, please send this as a letter to the editor.


Anonymous, may I quote you? (kidding, sort of) Just when I thought there was no other way to talk about this issue, that we had covered all the bases, you and LJ provided some new wording. Thank you. My head was feeling like a skipping record.
Is defeat by exhausting everyone who attempts to express and defend truth a common strategy? The defense of marriage, like the defense of the unborn, is based on simple, obvious, absolute truths. It's easy to run out of ways to state what SHOULD be obvious.But the opposing arguments split and multiply all over the place as I chase them.
For a moment, I rest my head in an ordered niche. Thank you.


Doesn't Lisa Miller's whole article beg the question: Why does she care anyway? She is obviously hostile to the christian morality, and yet she spends so much effort trying to make her ideology fit within this religion. There are two reasons which I can see why she does this. One: She is trying to justify her belief system (and feel good about it) by twisting the Bible to say what she wants it to say. Two: She is trying twist the Bible's meaning to try and convince Christians that it is O.K. to accept gay marriage. Maybe she is trying to do both. Either way, it is incredibly frustrating that this kind of proselytizing passes for journalism.

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