Chicago’s Cardinal George: Gays Can’t Marry Because They Can’t Consummate the Marriage

Since Illinois is on track to legalize gay marriage in the new year, Catholic leaders are freaking out. The Chicago Tribune‘s Manya Brachear reports that they’re now taking a different approach to combatting the inevitable march of progress. Instead of resorting to arguments like, “BUT THE BIBLE SAYS SO” — an argument that tends to go nowhere — they’re making the case that gay marriage should be forbidden because it’s “unnatural”:

“I love you, Benny, but this can never be.”

“Marriage comes to us from nature,” Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George said in a recent interview. “That’s based on the complementarity of the two sexes in such a way that the love of a man and a woman joined in a marital union is open to life, and that’s how families are created and society goes along.… It’s not in our doctrine. It’s not a matter of faith. It’s a matter of reason and understanding the way nature operates.”

“You want to be sure that everybody has a chance at happiness. That’s a very persuasive argument,” George said. “But we all want that, and nobody should be disdained or persecuted because of their sexual orientation… But when we get behind the church and behind the state, you’ve got a natural reality that two men or two women… cannot consummate a marriage. It’s a physical impossibility.”

So being opposed to gay marriage has nothing to do with his faith. It’s just that gay marriage isn’t “natural.”

You know what’s unnatural? A wafer magically turning into a 2,000-year-old dead man’s body. But Cardinal George has no problem accepting that one.

But, in his mind, because a gay couple can’t produce a child, that should prevent them from having the same rights as heterosexual couples.

Cardinal George doesn’t oppose a man and a woman marrying if they’re infertile and unable to “create families.” He doesn’t care if two people are too old to produce children. So clearly children don’t matter to his argument. It’s just this arbitrary rule about needing to be *theoretically able* to have children that he thinks should reign supreme when it comes to civil rights.

In other words, he’s talking out of his ass because his bigotry has finally reached its limits. He’s out of options for why gay couples shouldn’t have the same rights as him, so he’s just throwing anything he can on the wall to see what will stick:

(Oh! You know what else is unnatural? Choosing a life of celibacy and ignoring your body’s hormones. But Cardinal George has no problem accepting that one, either.)

That’s gotta be a sad moment in a hater’s life: when everyone around you has moved forward and left you in their dust. And the studies are showing that most Catholics (75%) support either civil unions or gay marriage. At some point, the list of people opposed to marriage equality in Illinois will be whittled down to Cardinal George, Peter LaBarbera, Laurie Higgins, and a smattering of people over the age of 90.

(Also unnatural: Miracles.)

Cardinal George’s words are doing some good, though: He’s driving even more Catholics out of the church and into a more tolerant, loving world.

So keep talking, Cardinal. You’re the best spokesperson we have for why our state needs to legalize gay marriage immediately and why we should stop listening to Catholic leaders as if they have any real wisdom about marriage to share with the rest of us.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Mike de Fleuriot

    //So keep talking, Cardinal. You’re the best spokesperson we have for why
    our state needs to legalize gay marriage immediately and why we should
    stop listening to Catholic leaders as if they have any real wisdom about
    marriage to share with the rest of us.//

    That is why atheists will win in the end, we do not have to do much work to win, we just have to point to the priest cast.

  • trj

    I’ve always wondered what qualified a bunch of men living in lifelong celibacy to give advice on marriage.

  • Rain

    Red beanies aren’t natural either. Neither are eyeglasses. Nor are Twinkies nor Byzantine cathedrals, nor are some forms of pie Gotta love desperate non sequiturs. Utter desperation.

  • Baby_Raptor

    So, wait? People are only truly in love if they’re open to having kids?

    I guess I should go tell my fiance that we’ve been lying to each other for almost two years.

  • NixManes

    The “way nature operates” also causes floods (so no levies should be built), disease (we need to stop making antibiotics), and earthquakes (no more tsunami warnings). Plus, isn’t it interesting that *everything* is a result of the “way nature operates” and yet believers pray on a regular basis for some part of nature to be altered to fit their desires?

  • FelyxLeiter

    con·sum·mate /ˈkänsəˌmāt/ v.

    Make (a marriage or relationship) complete by having sexual intercourse.

    “It’s a physical impossibility.”

    Cardinal George has clearly never, ever used the internets without a browser filter.

  • Thegoodman

    Marriage is not natural. Sex is very natural. Anal sex is more natural than monogamy. At least it makes sense when things are hot and heavy.

    Rarely is a person cave-man drunk and thinking “Wow, I need to have a longstanding monogamous relationship with just 1 women from now until death.” It’s typically “I need to put this somewhere; preferably warm and/or wet.”

  • A3Kr0n

    I think Cardinal George belongs to a group of people Neil DeGrasse Tyson described as an “ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance”.

  • Jen B.

    Even if one were to concede that homosexual acts are unnatural, then so what? How and why would that make them immoral? Is his beef with the word marriage, making this mostly about semantics? I doubt he’d support civil unions. They can say what they want about what is and isn’t natural and act like they’re making some sort of philosophical argument, but at the end of the day, it all boils down to religion.

  • chicago dyke

    iirc female parthenogenesis is possible. so lesbian marriage is OK, according to these rules.

  • Jen B.

    To be fair, the Catholic philosophical argument isn’t really that everything that happens in nature should be sanctioned. If that were the case, then everything could and would be sanctioned. They argue from a teleological POV. The penis was “designed” to deliver semen into the vagina, thus facilitating reproduction, and to use it for any other sexual purpose would be to use it contrary to how it was “designed” to be used. In other words, they think that having anything other than PIV sex would be frustrating sex’s natural purpose. (That’s also why Catholics are against contraception.) The trouble with this argument is that they make it a moral issue. Just because something *is* a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean that it *should* be that way, and just because something is used in a way other than how it was evolved to work doesn’t necessarily make it immoral. They have to presuppose a God who gives a shit about how we use our genitals to even make that argument.

  • JD929

    Maybe his is a secret definition that only means entanglement of a penis with a vagina.

  • JD929

    I think he should also know that celibacy isn’t natural.

    Gay sex not natural? Has he never had pets? Never learned about bonobos?

    Marriage isn’t an act that involves nature, it’s a social act.

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    Marriage isn’t natural at all, it’s a human construct and has nothing to do with the natural world, other animals don’t do it. In fact, if we look at other mammals, most tend to have relationships with more than one partner, is this what he wants marriage to look like, one male, several females (well, I suppose if he wants us to follow his stupid book, David and Soloman to take just two examples, both had multiple wives/concubines).

  • Gary Walsh

    I once won an argument with a friend who said that homosexuality is not natural by getting a copy of “Biological exuberance : animal homosexuality and natural diversity” by Bruce Bagemihl from the library and waving it in his face like a preacher waves his Bible. He conceded the point without reading the book. (In fact, I didn’t even read it!)

  • C Peterson

    The Catholic Church has an essentially unchallengeable argument against homosexuality and same-sex marriage: it is immoral by their beliefs. That argument is entirely accurate, entirely self-consistent, and (within the Catholic dogma) entirely reasonable. Yet they increasingly seem unwilling to utilize this argument, and instead put forth these ideas based on “nature” that fall apart with the smallest application of logic, and in most cases depend upon notions that are factually in error.

    Go figure.

  • anniewhoo

    “That’s based on the complementarity of the two sexes in such a
    way that the love of a man and a woman joined in a marital union is open
    to life, and that’s how families are created and society goes along.…”

    The cardinal is also making an incorrect correlation between an emotional state and a physical act. You really don’t need love to create life, although it does often put people in a position to do so.

  • jose

    Yes it is natural, period.

  • jose

    You’re absolutely right, but you shouldn’t concede that ground. It’s okay to go to “even if it weren’t” scenarios, but never before making it very clear that they’re wrong on the facts.

  • Chris Algoo

    It’s quite interesting how, according to beliefs like this, Christians are simultaneously slaves to nature and purified by divinity.

  • Darrell Ross

    Indeed. I think statements like theirs should be insulting to the intelligence of their flocks, unless their flocks are actually too slow to pick up on the contradictions.

  • The Captain

    Ahh “unnatural” one of my biggest pet peeves, it ranks up there with “irregardless”.

    I hate to break it to the cardinal but nothing humans do (or anything really) is “unnatural”. We are part of nature, thus our actions however absurd or intelligent are also part of nature and thus perfectly natural. If some crazy coked up mother has sex with a chicken while pushing the nuclear button thus destroying the earth viewed from a non-earth creature that event would be perfectly natural. They could probably publish some alien grad student research paper on it, but they wouldn’t consider it “unnatural”.

  • Sue Blue

    Exactly. I just had this same argument with a young woman who is a product of the Purity Culture. She’s a college freshman, an avowed virgin – yet she has all kinds of advice about sex and marriage and the proper relationship of the two, and proceeded to tell me (a mother and grandmother married for 23 years), all about how I was so wrong for advocating sex education and birth control and not condemning premarital sex – ’cause everyone knows all premarital sex is a greasy slide into slutdom, with meaningless one-night stands, unwanted pregnancy, STDs and an eventual lonely death from AIDS, drug abuse, and alcoholism! And don’t even get her started on how homosexuals can’t ever be REALLY married, no matter what the state says!

  • Rich Wilson

    Kissing is just as ‘unnatural’ as anything two people of the same sex do. For that matter, so is shaking hands.

  • Brian Westley

    I notice the cardinal has no problem wearing unnatural eyeglasses.

  • NixManes

    My point remains the same. If this universe is “designed” then *everything* in it and *everything* that occurs has a “purpose.” It’s a shame that people actually contemplate religious dogmatic nonsense. A real shame.

  • Jen B.

    Well, many Catholics believe in libertarian free will and also in immaterial souls, so they’d likely believe that we can use our free will to choose to use things contrary to their God-given design and purposes. But yes, I see definitely see what you’re saying. Plus, if everything is “designed,” then that makes the problem of evil (natural evil, especially) MUCH worse.

  • Veronica Abbass

    In 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide and the world has not ended.

  • TychaBrahe

    Marriage may not be natural, but pair-bonding certainly is. It happens throughout the animal kingdom.

    So does homosexual sex and homosexual pair-bonding, polyamory (lions), polyandry (snakes, marmosets), sexual slavery (many hive insects), and various other things that the cardinal would decry as “unnatural.”

    Amazingly, what actually is unknown throughout the animal kingdom is the hierarchical structures of organized religion. DO AWAY WITH THEM IMMEDIATELY!

  • Cheyla Daedulus

    Organized religion is demonstrating their lack of knowledge in regard to biology now – can’t wait for the gay animal photos to surface. . .

  • Librepensadora

    Catholicism bases its marriage theology on bad science. They claim “natural law” establishes that sexual intercourse in humans functions solely for procreation. We now know this is not true. Women can have sex without using birth control and without getting pregnant. They demonize same-sex relationships as against nature. We know that sexual orientation is natural and not a choice. Conclusion: The Church does not have a leg to stand on when making pronouncements about sexual behavior.

  • C Peterson

    It is arguable that David’s most romantic and sexual relationship was with Jonathan, much more so than with any of his many wives. You actually have to stretch your interpretation to read this relationship as platonic. Indeed, the description of homosexual love found in the Books of Samuel is much more reflective of reality than the handful of homophobic references ambiguously found elsewhere in the Bible.

  • Anna

    Yes, the fundie Catholics believe that all heterosexual couples must be open to having children, and if they’re not, something is wrong with them. There’s no room in that worldview for people who truly do not want to be parents. If you’re not theoretically willing to accept pregnancy, you’re commiting an act of moral evil.

  • trj

    Except it only takes one female. No need for a partner of any gender.

  • pagansister

    ditto–it has NEVER made any sense to me that one would get marital advise from dudes who supposedly never engage in sex. I say supposedly because I have a feeling there are a lot of priests who find pleasure in either each other or self gratification or perhaps a woman or two. After all, all they have to do is “confess” say a few Hail Marys and Our Fathers and all is forgiven, right?

  • pagansister

    Could it be pointed out that choosing to live as a celibate men wearing dresses their whole life is to some “unnatural”? Being “men” it should be their duty to reproduce, ie have “natural” sexual relations with females, instead of “spilling their seed” in private–

  • Christopher Nolte

    Does this also mean that heterosexual married couples that decide not to have children or are biologically incapable of doing so are also going against this “natural law”? If consummation = child, or at least the possibility of a child, I’d like to know if those folks are going to hell, as well.

  • Stev84

    Whatever is convenient at the moment

  • Benjamin Hamilton

    Looks like they’re about to kiss.

  • basicfacts

    Dude, humans as a species do a lot of things that go against nature. Most of what we become is because of what we have been shown, told, or brought up in. Later our experiences.. but you cant look at a baby and say, that baby is gonna be gay. Everything is a learned behavior..

  • Anna

    That doesn’t make any sense. Sexual orientation isn’t a learned behavior. Plenty of gay people have grown up in environments where they had no idea homosexuality even existed, yet they still found themselves attracted to the same sex.

    You can’t look at a baby and tell its sexual orientation. That doesn’t mean the baby doesn’t have one. As children grow up, they become aware of which sex(es) they find attractive. It doesn’t mean that they didn’t have a sexual orientation before puberty.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Since when can gay men or women not “consummate” their marriage? From all the gay porn I’ve seen you can consummate your wedding in many interesting positions XD. Perhaps they are unaware of internet porn.

  • Anna

    There was a study a while back that said only ~50% of priests adhere to their vow of celibacy. And, technically, since their vow of chastity means they’re also not allowed to masturbate, the percentage of priests who are truly following the rules must be in the single digits.

  • Anna

    I think for the Catholic church, consummation means penis-in-vagina and that’s it.

  • Joshua Beane

    actually homosexuality is extremely natural. Plenty of animals in the wild exhibit homosexual behavior.

  • Richard Wade

    Ah, the old Argumentum Ad Pluming-um. “The pluming is all wrong!” One of the most primitive arguments against homosexuality itself, usually uttered by bumpkin bigots sitting with their 28 dawgs on their broken down front porch, is now being used by the Cardinal of the Archdiocese of Chicago against homosexual marriage.

    Yep, he’s running out of ammunition.

    This guy’s a cardinal. Cardinals choose among themselves who will be the next Pope, and Benny is aging fast. Yeah, I know the likelihood of there ever being an American Pope is essentially zero, but still it’s disconcerting that he’s technically a candidate.

    Regardless of who it is, I think the next Pope will rule over a far smaller empire.

  • Miss_Beara

    Heterosexual couples who desperately want biological children but cannot, don’t you dare have INF! More reproductive advice from a celibate old man who protected child molesters.

  • NixManes

    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. -Isaiah 45:7

    The Bible contains a contradiction to just about every point some faith says is true. Again, real shame humans waste their time with it. We should all be working against it carrying any weight at all in any way whatsoever.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I’m okay with that. I’ve adopted the view that if the theocrats think what I’m doing is evil, it’s probably a good thing to do.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Homophobia is too. Humans are the only species that suffer from it.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Solomon had something like 600 concubines, and according to the Bible that was a sign that he was greatly blessed by god. And this was the man that advocated cutting a baby in half so both women arguing over it could have it.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Science disagrees with you. Sexual orientation is a result of genes. Might want to change your name if you’re not going to believe basic facts.

  • Rich Wilson

    We don’t actually know that it’s a result of genes. We do know that it’s not a choice.

  • Hilary

    totally ot – congrats for finding the right person and falling in love. I hope for a wonderful life for the two of you, and a marriage with good communication, great sex, and plenty of whatever else brings you both joy.

  • wmdkitty

    Honestly, I’d rather infertile couples adopt instead of selfishly insisting that only a child with their specific genes is good enough.

  • Phil

    By his definition then, those cancer treatments he’s been undergoing are unnatural too. Maybe he should stop them.

  • disqus_w2FOwvYm9z

    Can animals do anything against how they were “designed”? I’m trying to figure out how Catholics deal with documented homosexual relationships among many species of animals, including but not limited to: wolves, deer, and penguins, and several other species of birds.

  • Pureone

    At least The Catholic Church accepts telescopes, which is handy for them to see the rest of the world far ahead of them.

  • Pureone

    Well, maybe not rest, but at least part.

  • Anna

    Why is it only selfish for infertile couples to take steps to have biological children? No one ever demands that fertile couples forgo having biological kids in favor of adoption, yet they often tell infertile and same-sex couples that they’re supposed to adopt rather than try to conceive. Adoption is not easy, and it’s not for everyone. Many couples want to experience pregnancy and birth. Many couples desire a biological link to their child.

    Personally, I would prefer to adopt rather than give birth, but I’m aware that this makes me an extreme minority, especially among heterosexual women. And I recognize that adoption is a long, difficult process, healthy infants are few and far between, and not everyone is up for adopting a child with special needs or is in a good position to deal with raising a child from another country or from a different ethnic background.

    There’s also the fact that adoption is still stigmatized in our culture. It’s seen as second-rate, and adoptive families are not truly considered to be the same as biological families. I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to deal with those (and other) difficult issues.

  • Anna

    It all boils down to their belief that embryos in petri dishes have magical properties, and that destroying them is akin to murder. It’s beyond nonsensical, but that’s the Catholic church for you.

  • Anna

    I’m right there with you!

  • wmdkitty

    Hey, thanks for calling adoptive families inferior. No, really, thanks. I haven’t heard that one a million fucking times before.

    The moral and ethical thing for an infertile couple to do is to adopt an already-born child that needs a family. Full stop.

    It is inherently selfish and cruel to both foster children and adoptees to slap us all in the face with IVF and your “real” families.

  • wmdkitty

    But you won’t see them adopting any of the living, breathing, BORN babies (and older children) that they DEMANDED be carried to term…

  • Anna

    Er, that’s not what I said at all. I was raised by my adoptive mom as well as my biological mom. I certainly don’t think that our families are even remotely inferior. I’m talking about the societal perception of adoption, which is still nowhere near full acceptance. Like you, I’ve seen countless examples of adoptive families being negated, put down, and treated as different/less than biological families.

    What on earth would make you think that I would be in favor of such stigmatization? I’m not, but the reality is that it exists. Not every person is equipped to take on the social, emotional, and financial issues associated with adopting a child, and they should not be pressured to do so simply because they happen to be infertile or of the same sex.

    I was objecting to the double standard that exists, in which infertile and gay and lesbian couples are labeled “selfish” for wanting to go through pregnancy and birth, while fertile couples are never stigmatized for choosing to have biological children. Why is it any more (or less) selfish for an infertile couple than a fertile couple? If children need to be adopted, then surely everyone should be expected to step up to the plate equally.

    And why are you putting down IVF families? I know a number of wonderful children born through IVF, some to lesbian couples, and others to straight couples and/or through surrogates. Family formation is a very personal choice. No one should be pressured to create their family a certain way. My brother and I were conceived through donor insemination. Should we not have been born?

  • Rich Wilson

    All families are real families. It’s people like Laurie Higgins who come up with shit like “what best serves children is to be raised by their biological parents”.

  • wmdkitty

    Which doesn’t change the fact that children are denied families because too many people think that “biological is better”.

    I find it incredibly selfish to breed — naturally or through IVF — when you know there are children out there waiting.

  • wmdkitty

    Uh, because it’s a fucking slap in the face to hear about so-and-so’s eleventy IVF treatments when, for far less money, they could adopt a child and have enough left for a college fund. Instead, they blow it all on getting “their” child, like they’re fucking entitled to have a baby. So, yeah, adoption or accept being childless, don’t go playing god just so you can have your perfect little “mini me”.

  • Rich Wilson

    Well at least you’re now being equal in your condemnation, which I think was all Anna was looking for. I, as a biological father, don’t deserve a ‘pass’ just because my wife and I are fertile.

  • Joyce Willis

    I agree totally with the Catholic church position on gay marriage.

  • Thackerie

    “I’ve always wondered what qualified a bunch of men living in lifelong celibacy to give advice on marriage.”

    Isn’t it obvious? The Catholic church believes in miracles.

  • Thackerie

    The flocks have no intelligence — that’s why they’re in flocks.

  • Anna

    Wow, that’s extremely judgmental. It’s their life and their money. It’s not up to you to decide how they create their family. I’m still curious why you only seem to feel it’s selfish for them and not selfish for fertile couples. Why aren’t you castigating those people for choosing to have biological children?

  • Anna

    Exactly. It’s this notion that fertile heterosexuals get a “free pass” to breed that bothers me. If it’s selfish for other people, then it’s just as selfish for them. But no happy, young, married couple is ever told not to conceive a baby and go the adoption route instead.

  • pagansister

    I see no reason to doubt the study you read.

  • pagansister

    You’re obviously entitled to your beliefs. The problem with the Church’s view is they think it is their job to condemn those that don’t agree.

  • John (not McCain)

    Good for you! Agree all you want! But if you try to use the government to force me to live according to your weirdo beliefs, you can FOAD.

  • Michael Koch

    Tell that to all your Ghod damn Pedophile priests, you cork-sucker

  • Anna

    And not only that, they try to pass laws based on their theology. Catholics can have whatever private beliefs they want, but when they try to legislate their beliefs, it becomes a problem.

  • Michael Koch

    The Katholickass church is a Hive for Gay men to hide in……..

  • TheodoreSeeber

    When you can prove that a child has two biological parents of the same gender, you’ll have a leg to stand on. Not until then.

  • Miss_Beara

    Church leaders refuse to believe that there people within their congregation that support marriage equality. They see a shift and and bitch and complain when progress is made.

  • smrnda

    I’m not sure the point of this comment. There are many children who are born to men and women who are not married, so the fact that a sexual union produces a child doesn’t make the parents ‘married.’ There are many married couples who do not have children – the absence of children in no way makes these people ‘not married’ at least in the legal sense, which is the only sense that matters since, regardless of how it originated, the State *owns* marriage now – if the State says you’re married, it’s true, and otherwise, you might as well declare yourself Emperor of Rome. If I declare myself IMPERIATRIX ROMA it’s just as meaningful as any non-State opinion on marriage.

    If I take it that you mean ‘the thing that makes a marriage a marriage is the possibility that a sex act that, typically, produce children can be done’ then your criterion is irrelevant, as my previous paragraph clearly demonstrates that the possibility of having children, or even the actuality, is totally irrelevant to marriage. Consummation is, as far as I can tell, not particularly relevant to marriage. I’ve known asexuals who have had great marriages (people who are not interested in sex and did not have it) and I LOVE it how religious bigots want to piss and shit all over the marriages of people who love and care for each other, well, because ‘no penis went into a vagina.’ The religious view of marriage is on a pretty juvenile maturity level. “Consummation” is something which is, more or less irrelevant to the status of a couple as married, though I *hear* it matters to say, the Catholic church.

  • Miss_Beara

    She is…

    “I find it incredibly selfish to breed — naturally or through IVF — when you know there are children out there waiting.”

    If people want to have biological children, whether naturally or through IVF, who cares? It is up to them. If they have the money and resources to go through IVF, fine. That is their own reproductive choice. If they can reproduce naturally, that is their own reproductive choice. Who are we to fault parents who want biological children?

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Homophobia is the invention of a scientist bribed by communists to destroy heterosexual families.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    We deal with them by charging the scientists who report them with dishonesty.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    You clearly don’t understand the theology. Man+Woman+God+Prayer of heterosexual sex done correctly = Child. Get one part wrong, no child.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    The point of the comment is homosexual atheists don’t know anything about biology.

  • smrnda

    Could you please clarify exactly what facts they get wrong? Also, what are your credentials in biology, so I can determine whether or not you are capable of making such a judgment? Also, sorry to tell you this, but neither Aristotle nor Aquinas can be considered as credible or accurate sources on biology, and ‘Natural Law’ theology is built on notions of ‘essense’ which are not compatible with science as it stands today.

    Also, keep in mind that sexual behaviors and such are biological facts, but ideas like ‘marriage’ and ‘family’ are social constructs. A mistake many religious people make is to fail to appreciate that distinction.

    Ever heard of the Na of China? In their society, people lived in matrilineal households where children were reared by their mothers and uncles. Men would have sex with women, but it was accepted that these be casual unions and no notion of ‘marriage’ or lifelong partnership between a man and a woman existed.

    I point this out since the biology of sex and reproduction here is the same as elsewhere, but it’s a society where ideas like ‘marriage’ wouldn’t apply. It’s a rarity, but it’s worth looking at since even marriage hasn’t been truly universal among all groups of people. “Marriage” is not a biological fact. “Consummation” is not a biological term or a biological concept. They are human concepts which have emerged to serve a variety of functions, at least in part to regulate sexual activity or control property claims (as children of a wedded spouse could inherit property, as opposed to ‘illegitimate’ children.)

    I mean, marriage in most of the world today is built on the idea of a partnership between two people where children have become (at least within my lifetime) less and less connected with marriage as having children when not married has become more normal (along with multiple partner fertility) and more couples have had fewer (or no) children.

  • Anna

    Actually, two women can have a biological connection to the same child. One woman can provide the egg, and the other woman can carry the baby. It’s not uncommon for lesbian couples to have children that way.

    Of course, this is entirely irrelevant. Marriage and procreation are two separate issues. You can be married without having children, and you can have children without being married. You can also conceive children without having sexual intercourse.

    It simply does not matter how a child arrives in a family. The law is not concerned with biology. It is concerned with legal parentage. Whether children share DNA with one, both, or neither of their parents, they deserve the same benefits and protections.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Until you can fertilize a sperm with another sperm, or an egg with another egg, none of your examples prove homosexuality is sane.

    At all.

    And as for the Na of China, there is a reason why they failed to maintain control over their land. As is the case for all societies that fail to recognize the value of patriarchal heterosexual monogamy.

    Evolutionary speaking, such cultures do not have any survival value. In the long run, homosexuality doesn’t work.

    Separate marriage and sex from procreation, and all you get is death and human life being worth nothing. Which is of course, the entire point of this rush to divorce, contraception, abortion, gay marriage, war, euthanasia, and the death penalty: population reduction.

  • Anna

    But it seems like her wrath is mostly directed at people who use IVF. If everyone is being held to the same standard, then I don’t have as much of a problem with her comment.

    And I agree, it’s up to the people involved. Reproductive rights are a huge issue for me. Pregnancy, adoption, IVF, donor insemination, abortion, etc. are all choices that some may regard as moral or decry as immoral, but the point is that we all have the right to make the choices that are the best for ourselves and our families.

  • Rich Wilson

    Two people kissing will never make a baby either. So is kissing sane?

  • Anna

    Marriage and sex are already separated from procreation. What world are you living in?

    It’s not difficult to conceive a child without having sex. My brother and I were conceived via donor insemination. Our parents never met the man who donated his sperm. You seem to think that means “death and human life being worth nothing.” Why? Children are children. Aren’t those children’s lives just as good as anyone else’s? Who are you to say our lives are worth nothing?

  • Rich Wilson

    Eeew! You mean God was there watching when my wife and I conceived? You think God would have a little respect for privacy!

  • Rich Wilson

    That’s an interesting phrase ‘playing god’. Whenever I hear it from a theist, often in relation to abortion, I wonder if that theist thinks other areas of medical science are also ‘playing god’.

  • Rich Wilson

    You’d think if God had a problem with it he wouldn’t have allowed the contraception to happen. Unless, uh oh. I hate to break it to you Anna, but I think you and your brother are the work of

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Only when it leads to procreation. Otherwise it’s just spreading hatred and disease. Which, oddly enough, is the only thing I can say homosexuality does as well.

  • Rich Wilson
  • TheodoreSeeber

    The real world as opposed to the imaginary one most Americans live in. The physical universe is my Bible, not what some silly politician says, or worse yet, what some medical experiment creates.

    I’m saying that in a world where sex is separated from procreation, NOBODY is human anymore. Not you, not me, not the unborn fetus, nobody. Separating sex from procreation destroys humanity.

  • Miss_Beara

    This has to be a Poe. I just has to be.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    For an omniscient being, privacy has no meaning.

  • wmdkitty

    And fuck all those kids who are waiting, because CHOICE.

    I believe that every living, breathing, BORN child is 100% ENTITLED TO a loving family and secure living situation.

    To deny that to even ONE child, when you have the resources to provide it, is inhumane. And clearly if you have the resources to pay for even one round of IVF, you can more than afford to adopt.

  • Michael Koch

    Priests can’t marry, because they relinquish their genitals while in Seminary

  • Anna

    Why are you so hostile? No one (straight, gay, single, married, fertile, or infertile) is obligated to adopt a child. I don’t know if you’re adopted or an adoptive parent or what, but either way, the very last thing you should want is to force a couple who does not want to adopt to adopt. It’s not psychologically healthy for children to have parents who only adopted (or birthed) them out of guilt or coercion. They deserve to be raised by parents who do not think of adoption as second-rate.

    Again, why are you only attacking IVF families? Why not attack all the people who chose to deny foster children permanent homes by giving birth? Those people chose to stop using birth control and they chose to get pregnant, even though they could have adopted instead. Why do you seemingly have such a double standard?

    You also seem to have a strange idea that adoption is easy. You can’t just waltz in and pick up a child off the street. It’s a long, complicated process. Not everyone qualifies to adopt. People can be turned down because of age, health, or other issues. Most children waiting for adoption are older or special needs. Healthy infants are adopted immediately.

    Not everyone is in a good position to adopt an older child who may have been through neglect or abuse. Not everyone is capable of taking care of a special needs child with severe medical problems. Not everyone is well equipped to take on issues of transracial adoption. International adoption brings its own set of complications, including the possibility of governmental corruption and human trafficking.

  • Anna

    So we’re all non-human, apparently, because sex has been separated from procreation ever since doctors figured out how to do artificial insemination back in the 1800s.

  • Anna

    Could it be Satan? LOL, I never could understand that. If their god is omnipotent, then surely he could stop extra-marital conceptions from happening. Or, if penis-in-vagina sex is truly the ideal way to make babies, why wouldn’t he have made it more difficult for non-penis-in-vagina conceptions to occur? Right now, it’s exactly the same. A woman’s body can’t tell whether the sperm is coming out of a penis or out of a syringe.

  • Anna

    I’m beginning to get that impression!

  • Rich Wilson

    99% sure it’s not.

  • wmdkitty

    What part of

    every child is absolutely entitled to a loving, stable family

    do you not understand?

    If you don’t qualify for, or can’t afford adoption, that’s usually fixable. And I never said it was as easy as “picking a child up off the street.” I’m pointing out that adoption, over all, is cheaper than IVF, and performs a moral good.

    And again, you’re treating foster children like they’re damaged goods. Are they perfect? No. But a disability or being mixed-race or being older or surviving abuse ARE NOT BAD THINGS. Stop acting like these things are OMG HUGE ISSUES that require, like, Bill Gates’ savings account to deal with. And, um, transracial adoption… there ARE no “issues” there UNLESS YOU MAKE ISSUES. (Half my family is black, all adopted, and we have had zero issues on that front aside from the occasional “…that’s your sister? Really?”)

    And if you’re “incapable” of caring for a special needs child, fuck you — that’s a flimsy excuse designed to hide the usual “disabled children are a burden” trope. Oh no, you might have to buy a slightly larger car, or install a ramp or learn sign language, or *gasp* answer questions about your child’s condition! How AWFUL!

    If you don’t want to adopt, that’s fine too, as long as you’re consistent about being child-free.

  • Anna

    He’s so bizarre, though. We have other fundie Catholics on FA, but none of the others are this insane.

  • Rich Wilson

    wmdkitty and I had an exchange with him a few months back. He honestly believes that sex is only for procreation, among other things. Perhaps he’s asexual. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the projection onto other people would be problematic if he weren’t an extreme minority.

    Didn’t phrase that well, among his beliefs that most of us would find bizarre is the belief that sex is only for procreation. In particular he was stating that wmdkitty was abusing her boyfriend by not wanting to get pregnant.

  • wmdkitty

    Haah! It’s that guy! I thought the name looked familiar!

    He’s the Real Deal, man. Whatever his issues are, I hope he can work them out and find happiness.

  • Anna

    Well, we are never going to agree. If people don’t want to adopt, then according to you, they must remain childfree. But only if they are infertile, apparently.

    Rich Wilson said he was a biological father. So why aren’t you attacking him for ignoring foster children? Why are you focused on people who use IVF?

    I’m honestly shocked that anyone would make the argument that there are “no issues” involved in adoption, that parenting an older child with severe medical or emotional problems is no big deal.

  • Anna

    Ah, that makes a little more sense. It sounds like he’s got other things going on besides Catholicism. Even the fundiest of fundie Catholics wouldn’t say kissing is “spreading hatred and disease.”

  • wmdkitty

    I didn’t make a blanket statement of no issues ever. You’re the one focusing on minor issues and blowing them up into these huge THINGS meant to scare people away from adoption.

    As for interracial adoption, ummm… no, there really aren’t any special issues there, because race is largely a social construction, rather than a biological one. The child won’t have problems with it if you don’t treat it as this big, weird, elephant in the room. Some people have light skin, some people have dark skin, a lot of people have skin somewhere in between, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    And most special needs kids ARE NOT severely disabled. I’m tired of people trotting out that old line, “oh, but some people don’t want a severely handicapped child,” like raising a disabled raises the difficulty level to Nearly Impossible.

    Adoption remains the morally and ethically correct option, as well as performing a societal good and helping to ease the burden on our overcrowded planet — not to mention the overwhelmed foster care system. It is, in short, the RESPONSIBLE, HUMANE OPTION.

    Before anyone decides to make this about me, I’m just gonna come out and say it: If I felt I were parent material, If I wanted a child (or two), I would adopt. As it is, I have enough trouble with my own self-care due to being disabled, and my mental health is, heh, less than optimal. I refuse to inflict myself upon (and irreparably fuck up) a child.

  • LifeinTraffic

    Actually, yes, that is exactly what it means to them in the case of those who decide not to have children. I am less sure about the biologically can’t folks, since I’ve never heard a straight answer from a church authority. Since something like 98% of Catholic women have said they have used some form of birth control in their lives, it appears that most on-the-ground Catholics don’t believe that crap either way; but, the church itself clings to it anyway.

  • LifeinTraffic

    While I believe reproductive choices should lie solely with those making them, without the judgement of society, I would honestly love to see more of a push for encouraging those who want children to adopt instead of procreate via education and other programs to ease the way (especially young hetero couples, who often don’t even consider the option–and are often actively discouraged by society and family if they do–if they aren’t infertile).

    A good example is that insurance will often pay for pregnancy expenses, and sometimes for much of IVF (depending on the plan), but I’ve never heard of it helping to cover costs of adoption, for example. I think we, as a society, could do a lot to help educate those who want children about the joy of adopting a child, and to start to help dispel the whole “bio is better” thing that our society still suffers from. It is, IMHO, a huge social failing that we don’t.

  • Anna

    These are not minor issues. If you’re part of adoptive family, then surely you’re aware that there are adoptees who have significant issues with having been adopted. In fact, there are are even adoptees who feel that adoption is child abuse and should be outlawed.

    There are also donor insemination babies who feel the same way. A minority, yes, but to ignore the fact that people sometimes do have issues is to ignore reality. Adoption is not something that someone should go into with unrealistic idealism, with a “color blind” attitude (seriously, read some memoirs by adoptees of color who were raised in all-white environments), or without significant preparation and consideration of the issues.

    Frankly, since you don’t ever plan to adopt yourself, everything that you’re saying comes across as a little hollow. You don’t think you would make a good parent, but you want other people who wouldn’t make good parents to adopted children to adopt them? How is that healthy, either for them or the children? I don’t want people to go into adoption unless they have a 100% commitment to parenting those children in a healthy way.

    And you still won’t answer why you’re only focusing on IVF families and not Rich Wilson or the 99% of other posters here who have chosen to breed and subsequently to ignore the plight of foster children.

  • Rich Wilson

    Don’t forget the value in not giving a shit what someone who has no affect on your life thinks.

  • Anna

    I think one of the main hurdles against adoption is that people want healthy (usually same-race) infants. There is no shortage of healthy infants to be adopted, so the children who are waiting are either overseas, or are older foster children from troubled backgrounds. There is a public foster-adopt program for infants in the U.S. (I know people who’ve adopted that way), but it also comes with a good deal of legal insecurity. The prospect of falling in love with a baby only to have it taken away is a horrifying prospect for most potential parents.

    The private adoption industry in the U.S. is huge, and adoptions there (and overseas) can cost just as much (or more) than IVF. The only true low-cost adoptions are through the foster care system. Frankly, most people just aren’t willing to tackle those issues. You do see public service announcements and campaigns. One of the local news stations has a regular segment on adoptable foster children, and the county fair always sets up a booth to encourage adoption through the public system.

    I think more could be done, but a lot needs to go into reforming society’s mentality towards non-biological families. You still see terminology like “real” used to mean biological. Adoption “humor” is still rampant. Just this past year, on two different sitcoms, I saw one child character tease another with the familiar “Did I ever tell you you’re adopted?” joke. And one of those was Modern Family, a sitcom that is, in all other respects, very progressive.

    Sometimes I wonder if attitudes have actually improved, or if people are just aware that it’s not PC to openly display the attitude that “biological is better.” We may have convinced people to avoid the term “real mother,” but have their private feelings changed, or do they still think that an adoptive mother is not actually a mother in the same way that a biological mother is?

  • smrnda

    Could you please explain the meaning of this term ‘sane?’

    On the Na, they were more the victims of the Chinese government which had no interest in permitting different cultures from choosing to live their own way.

    Also, it is true that if everybody was homosexual and never engaged in heterosexual sex, then the human race would die out. However, there are many individuals who are homosexual who do not reproduce who make quite momentous contributions to civilization. Ever heard of Alan Turing? It is not necessary that everybody reproduces any more than it is necessary that everybody engages in agriculture.

    On population reduction, I don’t see any reason why population growth or decline is good in and of itself. Both present different problems.

    Also, my parents only had two children because they used birth control. Are you then saying that they assign no value to me as a human being because of this, and if so, who in the f*&K are you to tell other people what they think and feel?

  • smrnda

    At this point you are being so ridiculous that I motion that everyone stop paying attention to you. You think that two people kissing when they have no interest in reproduction is some kind of evil. Is a hug evil when it isn’t going to lead to reproduction?

    I think that you’re the one who assigns humans no value – they exist (in your mind) to do nothing but reproduce, and all things but reproduction have no value. You’re reducing all of humanity to nothing but breeding stock

    I mean, people value each other’s humanity because of the way that we enrich each other’s lives. Lives are still enriched by others in a world where sex is separated from reproduction.

  • tedseeber

    Yes, and that was the beginning of the science of eugenics, which was used politically to kill over 200 million people in the time since. One must always understand the philosophy as well as the science, just because something CAN be done does not mean that it SHOULD be done.

    The effective result, philosophically, of artificially generated human beings is a race of disposable slaves.

  • Anna

    Okay. Well, honestly, your comments are so off the wall, they seem to indicate some kind of mental health issue. I don’t think further discussion between us is going to be productive.

  • tedseeber

    I have no interest in preventing the extinction of cultures with no survival value whatsoever. Individuals do not matter. If Alan Turing had not done the work he did, somebody else would have.

    I personally believe that we would be MUCH better off if everybody was allowed to participate in agriculture, rather than a few rich people controlling all of it and removing the right to survive from the poor.

    Populations and cultures that respect human life, grow. Populations and cultures that do not respect human life, go extinct. Your parents did not value human life enough to breed at replacement rate. Chances are, you’re in a line that will die out because of it. Evolution affects human beings just as much as it affects any other species.

    And homosexuality is not a survival trait.

  • tedseeber

    I’ll skip over the obvious part where tolerance has turned to bigotry. The interesting bit is: “people value each other’s humanity because of the way that we enrich each other’s lives. ”

    Yes, just like a slave enriches the life of his master. But that is NOT the infinite value that infinite diversity and respecting *every* life produces. That’s just consequential utilitarianism; in which every life only has value as long as it is productive, and once it is no longer productive, is to be thrown away like yesterday’s trash. Eugenics, like slavery, destroys master as well as slave.

  • smrnda

    Of course, all forms of Christianity are totally fine with hierarchies and inequalities, since after all the Christian god simply ordained some to be masters and others slaves. And after all, since everything is fixed in heaven who cares about justice on earth?

    As for tolerance, you are free to believe any nonsense you want. However, said nonsense should not be the basis for civil law.

    I do believe a utilitarian consequentialism is the best way to determine public policy, though I am quite aware of critics who maintain that a high level of statistical happiness should not be considered preferable if it is based on a set of the population being oppressed. Karl Popper brought up this point

  • Rich Wilson

    “And homosexuality is not a survival trait.”

    You don’t know that. A homosexual sibling may help raise their nieces and nephews, improving their odds of surviving to procreate.

    Overpopulation to the point of resource depletion is not a survival trait.

  • Justin Werner

    Little old man wearing tacky dress, gaudy jewelry and a twee little hat says what? Didn’t quite catch that, hon.

  • RobMcCune

    So you’ve never heard of teen pregnancy?

  • tedseeber

    The only thing wrong with teen pregnancy is the bigotry against teen fathers that prevents them from earning a living wage and taking care of their families. Biologically, it is the opportune time for women to be pregnant and for men to be fathers.

  • smrnda

    It’s quite obvious that you are the one who hates human life – you just said ‘individuals do not matter’ – you can’t get more anti-life than that. You respect ‘life’ as a religiously defined abstraction, but not the actual flesh and blood individuals who have their own individual goals and feelings.

    Also, nice of you to disparage the work of the man whom Winston Churchill said did more than any other single person to bring about an allied victory in Europe, someone whose done more for humanity than you or I could ever have done. There’s no guarantee anyone else could have broken the enigma code within a timeframe needed to guarantee victory. Turing is probably at least in part responsible for the survival of my family, given that my grandparents might have died had the allies not won the war within the timeframe that they did. Turing, by making great advances in computer science, is responsible for my job existing, at least in part.

    Also, modern agriculture produces plenty of food – there is no need for more people to get a chance to subsistence farm, the problem is that food is produced to make money, not to feed people. I mean, in a sense I think agriculture ought to be managed through the democratic process the way other necessary services and infrastructures are, like defense, roads, schools.

    My parents valued the individual lives of their children – they didn’t have many because they only wanted to have as many children as they could support and give adequate attention to. I’m glad I didn’t come from a big, religious family where my birth was just another notch to prove how religious my parents were.

    Lots of people who don’t have children contribute. Isaac Newton did not have children, and he is still quite relevant to our continued survival, as well as people like Turing. I myself am a published scholar and holder of several patents, and so I feel that I’ve simply made my contribution to the future in a different way. I’ve also volunteered with children and the elderly. I’ve also written a bit, so after I’m gone, regardless of whether my ‘line’ continues the ideas I’ve had will continue to have a life.

    I’m not sure that a decrease in population is necessarily a ticking time bomb. Given technological increases, per worker productivity can increase greatly, meaning that fewer people can produce more of what humanity needs to survive. Better medical technologies mean that people can be productive for longer than in the past. Far fewer people produce way more food than armies of workers in the past could have done. There may be nations or areas with high birthrates which will continue to live a harsh, primitive existence, and it’s quite possible that secular states with lower birthrates will do alright because of technological know-how and better systems of government.

  • disqus_w2FOwvYm9z

    Actually, that’s exactly what anthropological biologists have found. Genes survive in species, not via individuals, so there’s serious biological benefit to a relatively small percentage of the population being unlikely to breed and thus devote their excess resources to their siblings’ children. In hunter/gatherer societies, children who had homosexual/nonprocreative aunts and uncles fared much better than those whose aunts and uncles had their own children.

    Incidentally, that’s also why women stay alive so much past their fertile period. In those same hunter/gatherer societies, children with living grandmothers fare much better than children whose grandmothers have died or are still bearing their own children.

  • Eclio

    Which apparently applies to theists.

  • Truthispainfulfortheists

    It’s Catholic dogma that’s unnatural.
    You know this as well as I do, but you choose to ignore the truth because you fear what it means, and what it makes you.

  • Eclio

    And when you can prove your dogma isn’t a crock of bull, you’ll have a leg to stand on. Not until then.

  • Shockna

    Congratulations Hemant! This blog is now big enough to attract the attention of Archbigot Bill Donohue of the Catholic League! Did you know that you’re apparently intolerant and frothing with rage? The email they sent me is a mass of contradictions and similar lies.

    “Nature” is the last defense of the bigot who knows he’s been bested.

  • Rich Wilson

    Hemant Mehta, a Patheos blogger, can’t contain his rage, which is why he trashes the Eucharist as being unnatural. All in the name of tolerance.

  • Hemant Mehta

    Will be posting on this soon :)

  • Shockna

    So, by projecting? That’s not a particularly sophisticated method of dealing with a problem.

  • ostracario

    I just found your blog this morning and will be returning. How is in atheist high school teacher received in suburban Chicago? I would imagine there’s be parents outside with pitchforks demanded you be fired. Or not?

  • ostracario

    Wow, that is impressive. Guess he’s tired of attacking Joe Jervis.

  • ostracario

    There is not a procreation prerequisite placed on marriage. Back in the day when the bible was put together by desert-dwellers there was a desperate need to make more babies – they needed to make more christians first and foremost and, since many children died in childbirth or before they reached the age of two, they needed lots and lots of babies to be born. That was then.

    Today, when we have far to many people on the planet, the need for more and more babies isn’t as great. George and the rest of their ilk need to do more to stop their rapist priests from abusing young children. They need to turn their rapist priest over to the authorities to be prosecuted, not simply move them to another parish with a new crop of young children to rape. The Gays and their inability to procreate should be the least of their worries.

  • ostracario

    I think the actual point is that you don’t know anything about homosexual atheists. Or homosexuals. Or the greater society. It’s one thing to dislike something or someone (for no apparent reason), but to make such a sweeping generalization: “homosexual atheists don’t know anything about biology,” is simply disingenuous.

  • Rich Wilson

    Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute tried to get him fired. Since he correctly doesn’t take his atheism to class, she failed miserably. She’s had a thing for him ever since.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Then prove me wrong. Show me homosexual procreation. I will not even hold you to human- any higher primate will do. Butt I will hold you to no technological manipulation and the resulting child having genetic material from both parents.

    You say homosexual reproduction is an equal or better parenting method than heterosexual monogamy- I say, prove it.

  • Rich Wilson

    Before arguing with Ted, read the entire thread, in particular the point where he says that kissing only spreads disease and hatred. He’s stuck on the idea that the only purpose in life is to make babies because more of our species on the planet is the goal of evolution.

  • pagansister

    WHAT? Only when it leads to procreation? man, you’ve got a problem.

  • pagansister

    Guess Ted hasn’t talked to many women who know they have the right to determine if they want to have a child or not. Guess those women who wish NOT to be a mother should never get married—because they don’t want to “procreate”. Oh, those women aren’t allowed to kiss if they aren’t married, because it only spreads disease and hatred. Kissing is only for procreation! WHAT?

  • David Benjamin Patton

    Someone’s probably hit on this several times already but consummating a marriage is not about having kids and starting a family it’s about joining in sexual union as a married couple. In other words it’s about having sex but no worries we queer folk are pretty good at having sex too. ; )

  • David Benjamin Patton

    Or…. maybe they’ll finally get on board when it means the OK for entanglement of a penis with a little boys anus and/or oral cavity..

  • David Benjamin Patton

    Michael is right. The CC was the go-to beard for gay men to hide and has been for decades.

  • Nici

    Dear Cardinal George:
    Your argument is invalid. There are more than two sexes.


  • Mark W.

    “Marriage comes to us from nature,”

    All those other animals getting married must be why hall rents are so pricey.

  • Llibres Dor

    It all depends on how the word “consummate” is defined. Francis George defines it in his way and other people have the right to define it in theirs, nothing being engraved in stone, despite what the Roman Catholic Church may believe (that is, when it is “convenient” for the church to so believe….). In light of recent events, the Roman Catholic Church should be humbly taking good advice rather than pompously giving bad advice.

  • Llibres Dor

    For starters, see the entry “List of sexually active popes” in Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.

  • Llibres Dor

    Michael Koch’s characterization makes sense (but add “and gay women”). Indeed, before the Gay Liberation Movement got under way, just about the only unharassed life that gay Roman Catholics could lead was as members of the clergy, which status not only freed them from societal and family pressure to marry someone of the other gender but also allowed them to be in close, even intimate, contact with people of their own gender, many of whom were also gay. Presumably, one of the results of the Gay Liberation Movement is a sharp drop in the number of gays who choose to become priests and nuns.

  • Llibres Dor

    To be consistent, the Roman Catholic Church should prohibit a man and a women from marrying if one or both of them are sterile and it should annul the marriage of a man and a woman who have been married for a certain number of years without having any children. But religions are never consistent.

  • Llibres Dor

    Indeed, as science has progressed, it has encroached on the domain of religion more and more. For example, In the prescientific period, if you wanted to know why it rains or if you wanted it to rain because your crops were not getting enough water, you turned to the religious head of your community for answers. But as the frontiers of science have expanded, that pocket of scientific ignorance has gotten ever smaller. It is a shame that the religious want us to base TODAY’s ethics, morals, laws, and so forth on YESTERDAY’s texts — but notice how they are always selective. For example, “women cannot become priests in the Roman Catholic Church because all of Jesus’s disciples were men” [response: if so, all Roman Catholics should convert to Judaism because Jesus was a Jew]. Or, “homosexuality is wrong because Holy Writ prohibits it” [response: if so, if a married man dies childless, his widow must marry one of his unmarried brothers if he has one because Deuteronomy 25:5-10 so stipulates].

  • Llibres Dor

    I do not think that “this was the man that advocated cutting a baby in half so both women arguing over it could have it” should be mentioned here. If the story related in First Kings 3:16-28 is true (it could be fiction), one may reasonably suppose that Solomon assumed that from the reaction of the two women to his threat of splitting the baby in two he could tell which one was lying and which one was telling the truth, so that, we may suppose further, he assumed he would not reach the stage of having to halve the baby. Consequently, the story does not necessarily attest any cruelty on his part.

  • Llibres Dor

    The Marriage for All Consenting Adults movement has, despite occasional setbacks, been
    spreading with such speed and breadth (see the entries “Same-sex
    marriage” and “Timeline of same-sex marriage” in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia)
    that by now its ever fewer opponents seem to be accomplishing nothing
    more than aiming peashooters at Sherman tanks or barking at the moon. We shall overcome.

  • Llibres Dor

    Probably no two societies agree on what is natural and what is not. For example, in Muslim and Arab societies, two males may walk in public holding hands without being considered gay even if they are in their teens or early twenties (I do not know what the cut-off year is — it may be later than I suppose and maybe there is no such year at all) whereas in conventional Western society, the cut-off year is much earlier (two male kindergarteners are not considered gay if they hold hands when the teacher has asked everyone to pair off before the class goes out for a walk, whereas two male high-schoolers holding hands would be). Or, in Muslim and Arab societies, men who penetrate other males (orally or anally) are not considered gay (only penetrated males are), whereas in Western society they are. Or, in Muslim and Arab societies, male friends or male relatives of any age who quickly and lightly kiss each other on the lips when meeting are not considered gay, whereas such an act in Western society would be considered a sign of homosexuality. Who therefore is to say what is natural or unnatural, what a homosexual act is, or what sodomy is? And why may Roman Catholic priests wear, without being considered gay, certain articles of clothing which to me and others appear to be dresses (hence female garments) whereas men who are not Roman Catholic priests who wear dresses are considered gay, cross-dressers, or both? The degree of arbitrariness in religions is significant and the insistence with which the religious proclaim that whatever they do not happen to like is unnatural is outrageous. Furthermore, not only do societies differ in the respects mentioned above, but norms may change. I still remember how uncomfortable I felt, probably sometime in the late 1960s, when, in New York City, I first walked on the street with a shopping bag — until the very early 1960s at least, “real men” would not be caught dead carrying one, whereas today everyone does.

  • Llibres Dor

    Presumably, the heterosexual Roman Catholic priests and nuns who violate their vow of celibacy by having sexual intercourse are smart enough to use some form of birth control. If so, why is what’s sauce for the clerical goose not sauce for the lay gander? When it comes to obscurantism, unreason, hypocrisy, and holier-than-thou-ism, has any organization outdone the Roman Catholic Church?

  • Llibres Dor

    The remark of Librepensadora (Spanish for ‘Free-thinker’) that “We know that sexual orientation is natural and not a choice” needs to be emphasized again and again to the bigots that homosexuality, like heterosexuality, is an orientation, not a preference.

  • Llibres Dor

    Reading the wedding announcements of same-gender couples in the newspaper, such as the “Styles” section of the Sunday edition of The New York Times, warms the heart. People with such good educations, such accomplishments! People who are so happy finally to have the same right as others to have their relationship recognized officially! Gay-hating bigots who think that gays are repulsive monsters should read those announcements.

  • Llibres Dor

    What precisely does John mean by “the government’s forc[ing] me to live according to your weirdo beliefs”? Granting the same civil rights to gay people that non-gay people have does not impose on John the obligation to marry a man or, if he is a member of the clergy, to perform a marriage ceremony for two men or for two women. On what basis does he term the Marriage for All Consenting Adults movement weirdo?

  • Llibres Dor

    So far as I know, the cause or causes of homosexuality are just as unknown to science as the cause or causes of any other sexual orientation, including heterosexuality. This much, however, is clear: gay people have no more control over their sexual orientation than non-gays do. Gay-haters give this or that reason for homosexuality but they never marshal the scientific evidence to back their claims.

  • Llibres Dor

    Not only do people growing up become aware of which kind or kinds of people they are sexually attracted to but after they become fully aware of their sexual orientation, many of them, whatever their orientation may be, recall incidents that manifested that orientation, though at the time they occurred they had no idea that they manifested it. For example, people who at, say, age seventeen fully realize they are gay may think back and recall that at age eleven they were attracted to certain people of the same gender without knowing at the time that it was a sexual attraction.

  • Llibres Dor

    What is the scientific evidence that genes determine sexual orientation? Which genes? How can genes determine orientation if there are twins one of whom is gay and the other of whom is not? I know such a set of twins and I suppose there are quite a few.