And now, consensual adultery

Gay marriage is not the only revolution in the works.  The lead article in the last New York Times Magazine makes the case for consensual adultery as a way to keep marriages together:

[Rep. Anthony Weiner's] visage was insisting, night after night, that we think about how hard monogamy is, how hard marriage is and about whether we make unrealistic demands on the institution and on ourselves.

That, anyway, is what Dan Savage, America’s leading sex-advice columnist, would say. Although best known for his It Gets Better project, an archive of hopeful videos aimed at troubled gay youth, Savage has for 20 years been saying monogamy is harder than we admit and articulating a sexual ethic that he thinks honors the reality, rather than the romantic ideal, of marriage. In Savage Love, his weekly column, he inveighs against the American obsession with strict fidelity. In its place he proposes a sensibility that we might call American Gay Male, after that community’s tolerance for pornography, fetishes and a variety of partnered arrangements, from strict monogamy to wide openness.

Savage believes monogamy is right for many couples. But he believes that our discourse about it, and about sexuality more generally, is dishonest. Some people need more than one partner, he writes, just as some people need flirting, others need to be whipped, others need lovers of both sexes. We can’t help our urges, and we should not lie to our partners about them. In some marriages, talking honestly about our needs will forestall or obviate affairs; in other marriages, the conversation may lead to an affair, but with permission. In both cases, honesty is the best policy.

“I acknowledge the advantages of monogamy,” Savage told me, “when it comes to sexual safety, infections, emotional safety, paternity assurances. But people in monogamous relationships have to be willing to meet me a quarter of the way and acknowledge the drawbacks of monogamy around boredom, despair, lack of variety, sexual death and being taken for granted.”

The view that we need a little less fidelity in marriages is dangerous for a gay-marriage advocate to hold. It feeds into the stereotype of gay men as compulsively promiscuous, and it gives ammunition to all the forces, religious and otherwise, who say that gay families will never be real families and that we had better stop them before they ruin what is left of marriage. But Savage says a more flexible attitude within marriage may be just what the straight community needs. Treating monogamy, rather than honesty or joy or humor, as the main indicator of a successful marriage gives people unrealistic expectations of themselves and their partners. And that, Savage says, destroys more families than it saves.

via Dan Savage on the Virtues of Infidelity – NYTimes.com.

So, if adultery is OK, why worry about keeping marriages together?  What does keeping marriages together even mean?   What this is surely about is ending the institution of marriage.  Or trying to.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    Treating monogamy, rather than honesty or joy or humor, as the main indicator of a successful marriage…

    What that says is that honesty and joy and humor cannot happen with monogamy. It used to be that honesty in marriage went hand in hand with monogamy and the joy of union with another.

    This appears to be another late Boomer cultural manifestation of (attempting at) throwing another cultural institution by the wayside by defining deviance downward.

  • SKPeterson

    Treating monogamy, rather than honesty or joy or humor, as the main indicator of a successful marriage…

    What that says is that honesty and joy and humor cannot happen with monogamy. It used to be that honesty in marriage went hand in hand with monogamy and the joy of union with another.

    This appears to be another late Boomer cultural manifestation of (attempting at) throwing another cultural institution by the wayside by defining deviance downward.

  • http://mikegastin.com Mike Gastin

    Savage has some seriously flawed assumptions that he’s presenting as fact.

    But people in monogamous relationships have to be willing to meet me a quarter of the way and acknowledge the drawbacks of monogamy around boredom, despair, lack of variety, sexual death and being taken for granted.

    I’ve been married for 20 years and I don’t experience any of what he’s saying. Yes, marriage (monogamous by it’s nature and definition) is hard work. But Savage seems incapable of seeing it as anything other than a mutual contract, each side getting something they want but having to sacrifice things they’d rather not give up, like happiness.

    It betrays how ignorant he is about the union of a man and a woman into one flesh. It also betrays how broken Savage is as a human being, seeing that he’s incapable of relating to others beyond what’s in it for him and his needs.

    I’ll state the obvious, this man needs to be healed by Christ. Jesus is his only hope.

  • http://mikegastin.com Mike Gastin

    Savage has some seriously flawed assumptions that he’s presenting as fact.

    But people in monogamous relationships have to be willing to meet me a quarter of the way and acknowledge the drawbacks of monogamy around boredom, despair, lack of variety, sexual death and being taken for granted.

    I’ve been married for 20 years and I don’t experience any of what he’s saying. Yes, marriage (monogamous by it’s nature and definition) is hard work. But Savage seems incapable of seeing it as anything other than a mutual contract, each side getting something they want but having to sacrifice things they’d rather not give up, like happiness.

    It betrays how ignorant he is about the union of a man and a woman into one flesh. It also betrays how broken Savage is as a human being, seeing that he’s incapable of relating to others beyond what’s in it for him and his needs.

    I’ll state the obvious, this man needs to be healed by Christ. Jesus is his only hope.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Savage tries to throw in a “monogamy is right for many couples,” but this point of view will quickly lead to monogamy being not just optional, but evil. For example: in the past, when a husband gets the so-called seven-year-itch, he’s had society to help bolster what the law written on his heart tells him–that he is experiencing a passing temptation that needs to be resisted. It would also provide him with various customs and norms which would help him resist. With society’s voice telling him that monogamy is optional, however, it suddenly becomes just as legitimate to interpret this situation in another way: His wife is cruelly subjecting him to an arbitrary and unreasonable standard. Sure, they agreed to be monogamous early on, but how could he have known what he would feel in seven years? How could she understand his longings now when she’s so narrow-minded? Why should her mere preference for monogamy deny him the very desires of his heart? She has no legitimate reason not to consent and let him drink deeply and be satisfied. Clearly, their monogamy is an agreement in need of re-evaluation, and if she doesn’t want to, she’s being completely unreasonable and must not really love him in the first place.

    Gee, I wonder which interpretation a sinner in the throes of temptation living in a society that makes a god of personal desires will gravitate towards? Seeing as how this is precisely what happened with respect to premarital sex, I don’t think we need another social experiment to verify it.

    And so in the end, the victim of adultery will necessarily become the villain. As they say, where orthodoxy becomes optional, it will eventually become proscribed. The same is true of morality.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Savage tries to throw in a “monogamy is right for many couples,” but this point of view will quickly lead to monogamy being not just optional, but evil. For example: in the past, when a husband gets the so-called seven-year-itch, he’s had society to help bolster what the law written on his heart tells him–that he is experiencing a passing temptation that needs to be resisted. It would also provide him with various customs and norms which would help him resist. With society’s voice telling him that monogamy is optional, however, it suddenly becomes just as legitimate to interpret this situation in another way: His wife is cruelly subjecting him to an arbitrary and unreasonable standard. Sure, they agreed to be monogamous early on, but how could he have known what he would feel in seven years? How could she understand his longings now when she’s so narrow-minded? Why should her mere preference for monogamy deny him the very desires of his heart? She has no legitimate reason not to consent and let him drink deeply and be satisfied. Clearly, their monogamy is an agreement in need of re-evaluation, and if she doesn’t want to, she’s being completely unreasonable and must not really love him in the first place.

    Gee, I wonder which interpretation a sinner in the throes of temptation living in a society that makes a god of personal desires will gravitate towards? Seeing as how this is precisely what happened with respect to premarital sex, I don’t think we need another social experiment to verify it.

    And so in the end, the victim of adultery will necessarily become the villain. As they say, where orthodoxy becomes optional, it will eventually become proscribed. The same is true of morality.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Oh, and for someone who is supposedly seeking a more honest discourse on sexuality, labeling fidelity as an “American obsession” is rather deceptive.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Oh, and for someone who is supposedly seeking a more honest discourse on sexuality, labeling fidelity as an “American obsession” is rather deceptive.

  • Steve in Toronto

    I think this piece identifies the real problem with the Gay marriage debate as it exists right now in the mainstream media. There is a polite fiction being maintained that Gay Marriage means the same thing to Heterosexuals and Lesbians as it does to Gay men but this article and my fairly limited experience (I am friends with two gay couples one is monogamous ,I think I haven’t the nerve to ask the other less so) indicates differently. Would a workable comprise be Marriage is ok for Lesbians but not Gay men? The problem with this line of thinking is that “straight” marriage is not what it used to be but I still think that the over whelming percentage of marriages at least begin with the hope of life long faithfulness but as you know life long monogamy is now the exception not the rule (no one seemed to think the John Kerry’s promiscuous days as a bachelor were anything but a plus when he ran for president). On a separate but related issue how should a orthodox Christian respond to arguments that God has bless and work through all sorts of less then ideal marriages or “marriage like” relationships including incestuous ones (Abraham and Sarah) and polygamy (to many to mention but David and Solomon jump to mind) why would homosexual marriage be any worse?

  • Steve in Toronto

    I think this piece identifies the real problem with the Gay marriage debate as it exists right now in the mainstream media. There is a polite fiction being maintained that Gay Marriage means the same thing to Heterosexuals and Lesbians as it does to Gay men but this article and my fairly limited experience (I am friends with two gay couples one is monogamous ,I think I haven’t the nerve to ask the other less so) indicates differently. Would a workable comprise be Marriage is ok for Lesbians but not Gay men? The problem with this line of thinking is that “straight” marriage is not what it used to be but I still think that the over whelming percentage of marriages at least begin with the hope of life long faithfulness but as you know life long monogamy is now the exception not the rule (no one seemed to think the John Kerry’s promiscuous days as a bachelor were anything but a plus when he ran for president). On a separate but related issue how should a orthodox Christian respond to arguments that God has bless and work through all sorts of less then ideal marriages or “marriage like” relationships including incestuous ones (Abraham and Sarah) and polygamy (to many to mention but David and Solomon jump to mind) why would homosexual marriage be any worse?

  • anonymous

    I don’t think America is going to take Savage seriously, but it does get me thinking. In the ideal fundamentalist arrangement, a man is chaste until he is married, which may not happen until 23, 24, or 25. I think asking a guy to stay a virgin until 25 is really asking quite a bit. Then the lad gets married, and he is universally expected not to even think about another woman for the next 60 years. Not even pornography is acceptable. And that is all true regardless of any changing circumstances such as no interest on part of the wife, or anything you can think of. It gets one thinking how natural this arrangement is.

  • anonymous

    I don’t think America is going to take Savage seriously, but it does get me thinking. In the ideal fundamentalist arrangement, a man is chaste until he is married, which may not happen until 23, 24, or 25. I think asking a guy to stay a virgin until 25 is really asking quite a bit. Then the lad gets married, and he is universally expected not to even think about another woman for the next 60 years. Not even pornography is acceptable. And that is all true regardless of any changing circumstances such as no interest on part of the wife, or anything you can think of. It gets one thinking how natural this arrangement is.

  • Michael Z.

    @anonymous
    That is because nature is broken. (see all of scripture) What is natural is not necessarily good. However, fidelity and moral faithfulness in marriage is supposed to be an image of the relationship between Christ and the Church. It seems blasphemous for us to assume that it is OK for the Christ-image to be unfaithful to the Church-image, or vice-versa.

  • Michael Z.

    @anonymous
    That is because nature is broken. (see all of scripture) What is natural is not necessarily good. However, fidelity and moral faithfulness in marriage is supposed to be an image of the relationship between Christ and the Church. It seems blasphemous for us to assume that it is OK for the Christ-image to be unfaithful to the Church-image, or vice-versa.

  • Tom Hering

    Steve @ 5, God working through we fallen men and women isn’t an approval of our fallen state. And while one manifestation of our fallen state may not be worse than another, it’s still fallen. In arguing for a particular form of marriage, you have to show from Scripture that this form is actually approved by God, not just tolerated by Him – or somehow okay because it isn’t specifically condemned.

  • Tom Hering

    Steve @ 5, God working through we fallen men and women isn’t an approval of our fallen state. And while one manifestation of our fallen state may not be worse than another, it’s still fallen. In arguing for a particular form of marriage, you have to show from Scripture that this form is actually approved by God, not just tolerated by Him – or somehow okay because it isn’t specifically condemned.

  • Stephen

    Nothing new under the sun. This is just psycho-babbly stuff covering up for the sin of infidelity. In itself, it has nothing to do with gay marriage.

    Infidelity is largely the province of men and always has been. In fact, one could make a case for legitimate gay marriage as a means to maintaining and encouraging fidelity among gays. Imperfect as it is due already to heterosexual infidelity, marriage is still an institution that encourages fidelity because it has standing within communities which support and honor it and its boundaries. Where these boundaries are up for grabs – like a king who can do what he wants, or gays that do not have legitimate claims and community support/validity – then problems happen. One of the realities of marriage is the participation day after day of the community in which one lives. When laws and neighbors understand that two people are legitimately married, it is more likely that the institution will be respected. Where that does not exist and support is lacking, the boundaries are more likely to be transgressed from within and without. The same reason that I wouldn’t want my daughter shacking up is the same reason gay marriage could be good for gays and lead to a less promiscuous culture.

    Perhaps it is the case that when gays are allowed legitimate claims to marriage they too will, however imperfectly, be less likely to be unfaithful. The proof of this is how marriage already works – to support fidelity. Christians believe this to be so. Even when marriages fall apart, we mourn that fact that are all kinds of relationships that fall apart – individual and communal.

  • Stephen

    Nothing new under the sun. This is just psycho-babbly stuff covering up for the sin of infidelity. In itself, it has nothing to do with gay marriage.

    Infidelity is largely the province of men and always has been. In fact, one could make a case for legitimate gay marriage as a means to maintaining and encouraging fidelity among gays. Imperfect as it is due already to heterosexual infidelity, marriage is still an institution that encourages fidelity because it has standing within communities which support and honor it and its boundaries. Where these boundaries are up for grabs – like a king who can do what he wants, or gays that do not have legitimate claims and community support/validity – then problems happen. One of the realities of marriage is the participation day after day of the community in which one lives. When laws and neighbors understand that two people are legitimately married, it is more likely that the institution will be respected. Where that does not exist and support is lacking, the boundaries are more likely to be transgressed from within and without. The same reason that I wouldn’t want my daughter shacking up is the same reason gay marriage could be good for gays and lead to a less promiscuous culture.

    Perhaps it is the case that when gays are allowed legitimate claims to marriage they too will, however imperfectly, be less likely to be unfaithful. The proof of this is how marriage already works – to support fidelity. Christians believe this to be so. Even when marriages fall apart, we mourn that fact that are all kinds of relationships that fall apart – individual and communal.

  • Tom Hering

    I agree with Michael @ 7. That which is natural is also fallen. Like it or not, the Christian is called to subject his fallen/natural desires to the Law of Christ – to put the Old Adam to death in acts of loving/serving his neighbor, sacrificially. A spouse is one’s nearest neighbor. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    I agree with Michael @ 7. That which is natural is also fallen. Like it or not, the Christian is called to subject his fallen/natural desires to the Law of Christ – to put the Old Adam to death in acts of loving/serving his neighbor, sacrificially. A spouse is one’s nearest neighbor. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    Stephen @ 9, you still have to show from Scripture that gay marriage is a form of marriage that is actually approved by God.

    I think your contention that infidelity is largely the province of men is debatable. It might be the province of men in those times and places where women are fully repressed, but certainly not here and now.

  • Tom Hering

    Stephen @ 9, you still have to show from Scripture that gay marriage is a form of marriage that is actually approved by God.

    I think your contention that infidelity is largely the province of men is debatable. It might be the province of men in those times and places where women are fully repressed, but certainly not here and now.

  • Cincinnatus

    This is nothing new. As I understand it, in certain ancient cultures and in more recent aristocratic cultures, it was generally expected that the husband would be seeking “a bit on the side” to maintain marital harmony. I am not endorsing the idea, merely noting that this is not a radically new phenomenon.

    But that said–and I’m surprised no one has pointed this out–this “movement” or argument identified by Savage demonstrates that the “slippery slope” argument proffered by some conservatives–the one that claims if we validate homosexual marriage, we will then eventually have to validate all manner of formerly perverse relationships and sexualities–is not, in fact, a fallacy. Even now, a vociferous polyamory movement clamors for attention. Homosexual marriage is at this point a foregone conclusion. Why not polygamy and other perversions? If a) marriage is no longer about procreation and b) culture can no longer come to a consensus on certain fundamental moral claims, then what’s stopping us?

    Nothing.

  • Cincinnatus

    This is nothing new. As I understand it, in certain ancient cultures and in more recent aristocratic cultures, it was generally expected that the husband would be seeking “a bit on the side” to maintain marital harmony. I am not endorsing the idea, merely noting that this is not a radically new phenomenon.

    But that said–and I’m surprised no one has pointed this out–this “movement” or argument identified by Savage demonstrates that the “slippery slope” argument proffered by some conservatives–the one that claims if we validate homosexual marriage, we will then eventually have to validate all manner of formerly perverse relationships and sexualities–is not, in fact, a fallacy. Even now, a vociferous polyamory movement clamors for attention. Homosexual marriage is at this point a foregone conclusion. Why not polygamy and other perversions? If a) marriage is no longer about procreation and b) culture can no longer come to a consensus on certain fundamental moral claims, then what’s stopping us?

    Nothing.

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, Stephen, who cares if gays are more or less faithful (unless they have children)? We’ve had this discussion, but civil marriage isn’t designed to encourage folks to be faithful for its own sake. The state has no interest in that, nor does God. If we’re having this discussion, then we’re already in the rather dire situation I mention @12.

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, Stephen, who cares if gays are more or less faithful (unless they have children)? We’ve had this discussion, but civil marriage isn’t designed to encourage folks to be faithful for its own sake. The state has no interest in that, nor does God. If we’re having this discussion, then we’re already in the rather dire situation I mention @12.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Actually, the state does have an indirect interest in faithfulness, as our jails and welfare rolls are filled with people who had little or no contact with their fathers. It matters a LOT to the future whether Dad keeps it in his pants except when he’s with Mom.

    Or, put differently, if polyamory is such a great idea, we should not have such a strong correlation of absent fathers with bad outcomes for women and children–and in an age where half the promiscuous are carrying a “gift that keeps on giving,” it probably ain’t such a great idea for the father, either.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Actually, the state does have an indirect interest in faithfulness, as our jails and welfare rolls are filled with people who had little or no contact with their fathers. It matters a LOT to the future whether Dad keeps it in his pants except when he’s with Mom.

    Or, put differently, if polyamory is such a great idea, we should not have such a strong correlation of absent fathers with bad outcomes for women and children–and in an age where half the promiscuous are carrying a “gift that keeps on giving,” it probably ain’t such a great idea for the father, either.

  • Cincinnatus

    bike bubba@14: Quite correct. The state has an interest in faithfulness if children are involved, which is what civil marriage is for.

  • Cincinnatus

    bike bubba@14: Quite correct. The state has an interest in faithfulness if children are involved, which is what civil marriage is for.

  • Steve P.

    Stephen:

    Some good points but I think it is better not to call what you are referring to as “fidelity” if it might be mistaken for something like marital fidelity. How about “sexual exclusiveness.”

    Is sexual exclusiveness, in an active homosexual, better than promiscuity? It isn’t as unhealthy or dangerous. But there is one way in which it seems worse to me. The people that a promiscuous homosexual are hurting are relative strangers to him, but the person a sexually exclusive homosexual is hurting is someone who is very close to him, someone he knows and loves intimately. We shouldn’t hurt anybody but hurting our loved ones is worse, it seems to me. I think if they truly love each other they will stop sodomizing each other.

  • Steve P.

    Stephen:

    Some good points but I think it is better not to call what you are referring to as “fidelity” if it might be mistaken for something like marital fidelity. How about “sexual exclusiveness.”

    Is sexual exclusiveness, in an active homosexual, better than promiscuity? It isn’t as unhealthy or dangerous. But there is one way in which it seems worse to me. The people that a promiscuous homosexual are hurting are relative strangers to him, but the person a sexually exclusive homosexual is hurting is someone who is very close to him, someone he knows and loves intimately. We shouldn’t hurt anybody but hurting our loved ones is worse, it seems to me. I think if they truly love each other they will stop sodomizing each other.

  • Steve P.

    There are plenty of heterosexual gay people. We used to call them “playboys” if they were men and less positive-sounding things if they were women. Maybe we can just extend the meaning of “gay” to anyone who has that personality and lifestyle, regardless of sex or sexual preference. The older meaning is ruined already anyway, and “gay” sounds even more upbeat and positive than “playboy.”

  • Steve P.

    There are plenty of heterosexual gay people. We used to call them “playboys” if they were men and less positive-sounding things if they were women. Maybe we can just extend the meaning of “gay” to anyone who has that personality and lifestyle, regardless of sex or sexual preference. The older meaning is ruined already anyway, and “gay” sounds even more upbeat and positive than “playboy.”

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    If four gals, three guys , two monkeys and a billy goat want to get together (and they are “in love”), then who are we to stop them from getting married?

    Come Lord Jesus, come.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    If four gals, three guys , two monkeys and a billy goat want to get together (and they are “in love”), then who are we to stop them from getting married?

    Come Lord Jesus, come.

  • Anonymous

    Yesterday, there was a re-run of an episode of Oprah’s show from October 2010 concerning polygamy. “Sister Wives” or something like that. I kept thinking, “If this is to be accepted then incest and beastiality should be acceptable too,” but the culture is too intellectually ignorant to see this. Of course they’ll make some sort of animal rights argument that will succeed for a while, but if bi/polygamy and homosexuality should be acceptable to our culture, then there is no reason to prohibit incest.

  • Anonymous

    Yesterday, there was a re-run of an episode of Oprah’s show from October 2010 concerning polygamy. “Sister Wives” or something like that. I kept thinking, “If this is to be accepted then incest and beastiality should be acceptable too,” but the culture is too intellectually ignorant to see this. Of course they’ll make some sort of animal rights argument that will succeed for a while, but if bi/polygamy and homosexuality should be acceptable to our culture, then there is no reason to prohibit incest.

  • John C

    Or intercourse with Martians, Anonymous.

  • John C

    Or intercourse with Martians, Anonymous.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    All this in the age of STI’s . Pure insanity.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    All this in the age of STI’s . Pure insanity.

  • DonS

    “Savage Love” is an appropriate label for what he is offering — a mere perversion of what God intended in His perfect creation.

  • DonS

    “Savage Love” is an appropriate label for what he is offering — a mere perversion of what God intended in His perfect creation.

  • Jonathan

    Forgive me, but sometimes these cultural war messages (here, using a forgettable NYT Mag article to signal a war against marriage) remind me of the late fundamentalist Jack Hyles, who warned his Indiana congregation in the ’60s against the nefarious music of The Loving Spoonful. He’d linger over the name and draw it out, mockingly, “The Luvvvin’ Spoooooonfull.” Anyway, I still can’t hear “Do you believe in Magic?” on the radio without thinking of Hyles. Yet I forget what he was warning about.

  • Jonathan

    Forgive me, but sometimes these cultural war messages (here, using a forgettable NYT Mag article to signal a war against marriage) remind me of the late fundamentalist Jack Hyles, who warned his Indiana congregation in the ’60s against the nefarious music of The Loving Spoonful. He’d linger over the name and draw it out, mockingly, “The Luvvvin’ Spoooooonfull.” Anyway, I still can’t hear “Do you believe in Magic?” on the radio without thinking of Hyles. Yet I forget what he was warning about.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    When I read Mr. Savage, I hear the people of my generation, “it’s too hard, so I quit” as his argument basically boils down. Sadly, what he is saying will appeal to many because it is what they want to hear. What I find interesting is his arguments are strikingly similar to the arguments that lead up to the removal of homosexuality as a mental health disease. I recall reading these arguments in my study of the history of psychology.

    Yet, I have to ask, is this merely a symptom of the greater problem in how we view the purpose of marriage and what marriage is? Is Dan giving voice to logical extension of the idea that marriage is about meeting my needs?

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    When I read Mr. Savage, I hear the people of my generation, “it’s too hard, so I quit” as his argument basically boils down. Sadly, what he is saying will appeal to many because it is what they want to hear. What I find interesting is his arguments are strikingly similar to the arguments that lead up to the removal of homosexuality as a mental health disease. I recall reading these arguments in my study of the history of psychology.

    Yet, I have to ask, is this merely a symptom of the greater problem in how we view the purpose of marriage and what marriage is? Is Dan giving voice to logical extension of the idea that marriage is about meeting my needs?

  • Stephen

    Tom -

    For biblical reasons why gay marriage might be a good idea, see my arguments here:

    http://www.geneveith.com/2011/06/30/the-sociology-of-the-gay-marriage-debate/#comment-121454

    and a follow up here:

    http://www.geneveith.com/2011/06/30/the-sociology-of-the-gay-marriage-debate/#comment-121493

    It is better to marry than to burn.

    I will direct Steve P. in the same direction since they were to him and may answer his question. Maybe not.

  • Stephen

    Tom -

    For biblical reasons why gay marriage might be a good idea, see my arguments here:

    http://www.geneveith.com/2011/06/30/the-sociology-of-the-gay-marriage-debate/#comment-121454

    and a follow up here:

    http://www.geneveith.com/2011/06/30/the-sociology-of-the-gay-marriage-debate/#comment-121493

    It is better to marry than to burn.

    I will direct Steve P. in the same direction since they were to him and may answer his question. Maybe not.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The thing is that nature isn’t going to cooperate with all these social inventions. Rather, she is punishing it. Even in this day of wide open sex, nature is still selecting for certain traits. American demographic data show that for all ethnicities and both genders those who have only one sexual partner in their entire life have more children. The more partners, the fewer the children. Successful strategies aren’t successful because of cultural brainwashing. They are successful because nature rewards them. Which makes me ask, where did all this nature come from in the first place?

    You can change civil laws, but you can’t change natural laws.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The thing is that nature isn’t going to cooperate with all these social inventions. Rather, she is punishing it. Even in this day of wide open sex, nature is still selecting for certain traits. American demographic data show that for all ethnicities and both genders those who have only one sexual partner in their entire life have more children. The more partners, the fewer the children. Successful strategies aren’t successful because of cultural brainwashing. They are successful because nature rewards them. Which makes me ask, where did all this nature come from in the first place?

    You can change civil laws, but you can’t change natural laws.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @2

    It betrays how ignorant he is about the union of a man and a woman into one flesh. It also betrays how broken Savage is as a human being, seeing that he’s incapable of relating to others beyond what’s in it for him and his needs.

    Another guy who imagines himself stage 6 on Kohlberg’s scale, but is really a 2.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @2

    It betrays how ignorant he is about the union of a man and a woman into one flesh. It also betrays how broken Savage is as a human being, seeing that he’s incapable of relating to others beyond what’s in it for him and his needs.

    Another guy who imagines himself stage 6 on Kohlberg’s scale, but is really a 2.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus -

    We have had the argument about the state’s role, so I will try not to go there to rigorously. But God certainly has a stake in faithful relationships of all kinds. Faithfulness is at the heart of what it means to love and give oneself over to another. 1st commandment, as well as every other commandment, is predicated on faithfulness expressed as love. Obedience to morality without faith is not love. Without trust being engendered (is that some weird pun?) there is not going to be a lot of love. You might have outward obedience, and sometimes that’s the best we can manage, but real love involves loyalty and faithfulness to a covenant, whether that is with God or the neighbor.

    Marriage, as an institution that entire communities have a stake in, encourages this kind of faithfulness. Unlike you, I think it extends beyond the protection of children in terms of the benefits it confers both on individuals and society, like peace for instance, though I do agree that the well-being and protection of kids is a paramount concern for all of us. But that is where we differ.

    Not much time to play today. If you get a chance, please read the things I linked for Tom and Steve P.

    Peace.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus -

    We have had the argument about the state’s role, so I will try not to go there to rigorously. But God certainly has a stake in faithful relationships of all kinds. Faithfulness is at the heart of what it means to love and give oneself over to another. 1st commandment, as well as every other commandment, is predicated on faithfulness expressed as love. Obedience to morality without faith is not love. Without trust being engendered (is that some weird pun?) there is not going to be a lot of love. You might have outward obedience, and sometimes that’s the best we can manage, but real love involves loyalty and faithfulness to a covenant, whether that is with God or the neighbor.

    Marriage, as an institution that entire communities have a stake in, encourages this kind of faithfulness. Unlike you, I think it extends beyond the protection of children in terms of the benefits it confers both on individuals and society, like peace for instance, though I do agree that the well-being and protection of kids is a paramount concern for all of us. But that is where we differ.

    Not much time to play today. If you get a chance, please read the things I linked for Tom and Steve P.

    Peace.

  • fws

    tom hering @ 11

    I think it would be hard to find gay marriage sanctioned in the bible.

    at the same time it is extremely certain that to demand celebacy of anyone is a sin. St Paul in 1 cor 7. And galatians et al.

    Paul says that , short of a miracle (the gift of celebacy being identified thusly) , all men should marry. But gay men would sin by getting married.

    Rock and hard place.

  • fws

    tom hering @ 11

    I think it would be hard to find gay marriage sanctioned in the bible.

    at the same time it is extremely certain that to demand celebacy of anyone is a sin. St Paul in 1 cor 7. And galatians et al.

    Paul says that , short of a miracle (the gift of celebacy being identified thusly) , all men should marry. But gay men would sin by getting married.

    Rock and hard place.

  • fws

    cincinnatus @ 13

    yes, Gods purpose in all civil laws is to make people , forcably, keep the second table of the Law. adultury is a property violation. it is a form of theft. Marriage is intented to fence in and legally define mine vs thine.

  • fws

    cincinnatus @ 13

    yes, Gods purpose in all civil laws is to make people , forcably, keep the second table of the Law. adultury is a property violation. it is a form of theft. Marriage is intented to fence in and legally define mine vs thine.

  • fws

    cincinnatus @ 12

    let me see if I can follow your logic brother:

    gays are clamoring for all of the restrictions and social and legal obligations of marriage.

    and then this directly results in heterosexuals insisting on radically assaulting and trying to undo all the restrictions and social and legal obligations of marriage.

    huh?

  • fws

    cincinnatus @ 12

    let me see if I can follow your logic brother:

    gays are clamoring for all of the restrictions and social and legal obligations of marriage.

    and then this directly results in heterosexuals insisting on radically assaulting and trying to undo all the restrictions and social and legal obligations of marriage.

    huh?

  • fws

    cincinatus @ 13 @ 15

    citation needed.

  • fws

    cincinatus @ 13 @ 15

    citation needed.

  • The Jones

    “Savage believes monogamy is right for many couples.”

    No. This language is imprecise. Savage acknowledges that many couples want monogamy. Savage believes that what you want is right. This is why his moral grounding is so baseless.

  • The Jones

    “Savage believes monogamy is right for many couples.”

    No. This language is imprecise. Savage acknowledges that many couples want monogamy. Savage believes that what you want is right. This is why his moral grounding is so baseless.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Read the whole article; the author is more or less arguing that acting like more or less partnered homosexuals, including patronizing prostitutes if need be, is the route to marital satisfaction.

    Yikes, to put it mildly. Now here are the latest CDC stats on HIV infections. Notice that only 100 of about 42000 infections in 2009 result from anything but prostitution, IV drug use, and homosexuality.

    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/basic.htm#hivaidsexposure

    More or less, what Savage proposes for the rest of us is “Sub-Saharan African AIDS rates.” No thanks!

    Notice also that Savage blows the lid off the claim that marriage will result in homosexuals living more faithful lives; he and his boyfriend are clearly not an example of this.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Read the whole article; the author is more or less arguing that acting like more or less partnered homosexuals, including patronizing prostitutes if need be, is the route to marital satisfaction.

    Yikes, to put it mildly. Now here are the latest CDC stats on HIV infections. Notice that only 100 of about 42000 infections in 2009 result from anything but prostitution, IV drug use, and homosexuality.

    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/basic.htm#hivaidsexposure

    More or less, what Savage proposes for the rest of us is “Sub-Saharan African AIDS rates.” No thanks!

    Notice also that Savage blows the lid off the claim that marriage will result in homosexuals living more faithful lives; he and his boyfriend are clearly not an example of this.

  • Stephen

    @ 34

    Are the behaviors of Arnold Schwarzenegger indicative of heterosexual marriage? If not, then why should we take this author’s word for what gays will or will not do as a group based on his own infidelity? You are arguing from the specific to the general.

    And as for the statistics cited, might it be the case that those HIV rates could drop if gay marriage were an option? Just wondering. When it comes to HIV, isn’t the issue really about encouraging monogamy?

  • Stephen

    @ 34

    Are the behaviors of Arnold Schwarzenegger indicative of heterosexual marriage? If not, then why should we take this author’s word for what gays will or will not do as a group based on his own infidelity? You are arguing from the specific to the general.

    And as for the statistics cited, might it be the case that those HIV rates could drop if gay marriage were an option? Just wondering. When it comes to HIV, isn’t the issue really about encouraging monogamy?

  • steve

    Like many of the comments have already said, this is nothing new. Advocates of non-traditional marriage structures have long been touting adultery and divorce as the real causes of the destruction of marriage (as opposed to same sex marriage). This has always struck me as acquiescing to the fact that non-traditional marriage is not ideal because it’s always being compared to broken marriages. I guess the real message, and the one that Savage addresses more directly, is to try to convey the point that the ideal marriage doesn’t exists. The ideal is different for different people. A point to which I would respond, then what’s wrong with polygamy? If we’re saying that the construct of the ideal marriage is arbitrary, then what could be more arbitrary than limiting it to two people? Especially since the practice of polygamy is older than the practice of any other form of marriage?

  • steve

    Like many of the comments have already said, this is nothing new. Advocates of non-traditional marriage structures have long been touting adultery and divorce as the real causes of the destruction of marriage (as opposed to same sex marriage). This has always struck me as acquiescing to the fact that non-traditional marriage is not ideal because it’s always being compared to broken marriages. I guess the real message, and the one that Savage addresses more directly, is to try to convey the point that the ideal marriage doesn’t exists. The ideal is different for different people. A point to which I would respond, then what’s wrong with polygamy? If we’re saying that the construct of the ideal marriage is arbitrary, then what could be more arbitrary than limiting it to two people? Especially since the practice of polygamy is older than the practice of any other form of marriage?

  • steve

    The above should have read “since the practice of polygamy is older than the practice of any other “non-traditional” form of marriage. Though, I would also argue that polygamy is more traditional in many cultures than monogamy.

  • steve

    The above should have read “since the practice of polygamy is older than the practice of any other “non-traditional” form of marriage. Though, I would also argue that polygamy is more traditional in many cultures than monogamy.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws@32: Sorry, I’ve been out of this conversation for several hours. What exactly do you want citations for? The state’s interest in marriage? What kind of citation? I can link to books, Wiki articles, etc., but I figure you can do that research on your own. I’m not blowing smoke. In fact, until the last two decades, I would be laughing my head off if you had asked this question–my statement regarding the state’s interest was so patently obvious.

    The larger point I was making is that, if the state redefines marriage to mean something other than a legal relationship between a single mand and single woman designed primarily to protect the fruits of natural procreation and provide for a stable continuation of society, then there is nothing concrete standing in the way of the extension of marriage to all manner of currently unorthodox and perverse relationships.

    I’m surprised you weren’t asking for a citation to bolster my claim about polyamory, which is the shocking one. Here: http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k100/dennysgod/giveadarn.gif

  • Cincinnatus

    fws@32: Sorry, I’ve been out of this conversation for several hours. What exactly do you want citations for? The state’s interest in marriage? What kind of citation? I can link to books, Wiki articles, etc., but I figure you can do that research on your own. I’m not blowing smoke. In fact, until the last two decades, I would be laughing my head off if you had asked this question–my statement regarding the state’s interest was so patently obvious.

    The larger point I was making is that, if the state redefines marriage to mean something other than a legal relationship between a single mand and single woman designed primarily to protect the fruits of natural procreation and provide for a stable continuation of society, then there is nothing concrete standing in the way of the extension of marriage to all manner of currently unorthodox and perverse relationships.

    I’m surprised you weren’t asking for a citation to bolster my claim about polyamory, which is the shocking one. Here: http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k100/dennysgod/giveadarn.gif

  • Cincinnatus

    oops, don’t click the link I included. CLICK THIS ONE: http://www.newsweek.com/2009/07/28/only-you-and-you-and-you.html

    *ahem* Though the one I linked before is amusing, I suppose…

  • Cincinnatus

    oops, don’t click the link I included. CLICK THIS ONE: http://www.newsweek.com/2009/07/28/only-you-and-you-and-you.html

    *ahem* Though the one I linked before is amusing, I suppose…

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    And as for the statistics cited, might it be the case that those HIV rates could drop if gay marriage were an option?

    What mechanism would cause that?

    “When it comes to HIV, isn’t the issue really about encouraging monogamy?”

    Yeah. But even facing a debilitating and fatal illness doesn’t curb the urge for some.

    Anyway, Canadian census data don’t seem to indicate that gays will partner up as readily as regular folks.

    For the first time, the census counted same-sex married couples, reflecting the legalization of same-sex marriages for all of Canada as of July 2005. In total, the census enumerated 45,345 same-sex couples, of which 7,465, or 16.5%, were married couples…. In 2006, same-sex couples represented 0.6% of all couples in Canada. This is comparable to data from New Zealand (0.7%) and Australia (0.6%).
    About 9.0% of persons in same-sex couples had children aged 24 years and under living in the home in 2006. This was more common for females (16.3%) than for males (2.9%) in same-sex couples.

    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/070912/dq070912a-eng.htm

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    And as for the statistics cited, might it be the case that those HIV rates could drop if gay marriage were an option?

    What mechanism would cause that?

    “When it comes to HIV, isn’t the issue really about encouraging monogamy?”

    Yeah. But even facing a debilitating and fatal illness doesn’t curb the urge for some.

    Anyway, Canadian census data don’t seem to indicate that gays will partner up as readily as regular folks.

    For the first time, the census counted same-sex married couples, reflecting the legalization of same-sex marriages for all of Canada as of July 2005. In total, the census enumerated 45,345 same-sex couples, of which 7,465, or 16.5%, were married couples…. In 2006, same-sex couples represented 0.6% of all couples in Canada. This is comparable to data from New Zealand (0.7%) and Australia (0.6%).
    About 9.0% of persons in same-sex couples had children aged 24 years and under living in the home in 2006. This was more common for females (16.3%) than for males (2.9%) in same-sex couples.

    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/070912/dq070912a-eng.htm

  • Steve P.

    fws:

    “But gay men would sin by getting married.”

    How do you know? It may rarely happen but if he is totally honest with his fiancee and she agrees to it, would it be sinful?

    Of course I’m sure in a large majority of cases he didn’t tell her and she only found out later.

  • Steve P.

    fws:

    “But gay men would sin by getting married.”

    How do you know? It may rarely happen but if he is totally honest with his fiancee and she agrees to it, would it be sinful?

    Of course I’m sure in a large majority of cases he didn’t tell her and she only found out later.

  • steve

    Stephen, #34:

    Homosexual couples have been living in self-imposed committed relationships for many, many years. Do you think state recognition of a couple’s relationship is going to make them feel or act more committed to each other?

  • steve

    Stephen, #34:

    Homosexual couples have been living in self-imposed committed relationships for many, many years. Do you think state recognition of a couple’s relationship is going to make them feel or act more committed to each other?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    stephen, there are statistics out there that verify the fact that where the state mis-defines marriage to include same sex couples, promiscuity rates do not decline. Rather, it’s mostly about the bennies.

    Or again, calling your bicycle a snowmobile does not make it a more capable vehicle on snow and ice. God designed marriage for one man and one woman, and pretending that we can finesse the definitions does not change the outcomes we’d predict.

    For that matter, if people want to bring up polygamy, the inevitable result of polygamy is a warlike society (to get prospective husbands for the extra wives out of the picture), as well as forced castration of the “extra” men. It is an inherently cruel institution for both men and women.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    stephen, there are statistics out there that verify the fact that where the state mis-defines marriage to include same sex couples, promiscuity rates do not decline. Rather, it’s mostly about the bennies.

    Or again, calling your bicycle a snowmobile does not make it a more capable vehicle on snow and ice. God designed marriage for one man and one woman, and pretending that we can finesse the definitions does not change the outcomes we’d predict.

    For that matter, if people want to bring up polygamy, the inevitable result of polygamy is a warlike society (to get prospective husbands for the extra wives out of the picture), as well as forced castration of the “extra” men. It is an inherently cruel institution for both men and women.

  • Stephen

    Sg -

    ‘What mechanism would cause that?”

    Monogamy which is both legally and socially encouraged int he same way straight marriage is. Certainly not a guarantee, as the heterosexual rates cited by @ 34 on prostitution seem to bear out. But it would be, nevertheless, and encouragement and a safe way to be in a relationship.

    “Yeah. But even facing a debilitating and fatal illness doesn’t curb the urge for some.”

    Is this agreeing or disagreeing that encouraging monogamy helps deter the spread of HIV? I can’t tell.

    The statistics merely indicate that marriage itself is not as popular as it once was (surprise, surprise!) as the rates across the board are heading downward. It says nothing about promiscuity and inferring that it does is pretending to know what people do in every case within or outside of legal marriage. But we’ve had this conversation before.

    The numbers of gay marriage are certainly up from the time when that wasn’t an option at all. People who want to and see the value of marriage will marry regardless of their orientation if that option exists. It isn’t as if there is already a built in marriage tradition or culture for gays to easily slip into. The ones who do marry are swimming against the tide, and that goes for all of us who see the purpose and value in fidelity to one person. Encouraging the value of marriage for everyone’s sake would be the goal. In highly individualistic cultures like the west detached from extended communities, is it any wonder that many people, gay and straight, resist the idea? That, in itself, does not diminish its usefulness as an institution that encourages things like fidelity, loyalty, self-giving, and care for another, things that also extend to children, as well as the shelter and safety for them to grow as they receive love and guidance.

  • Stephen

    Sg -

    ‘What mechanism would cause that?”

    Monogamy which is both legally and socially encouraged int he same way straight marriage is. Certainly not a guarantee, as the heterosexual rates cited by @ 34 on prostitution seem to bear out. But it would be, nevertheless, and encouragement and a safe way to be in a relationship.

    “Yeah. But even facing a debilitating and fatal illness doesn’t curb the urge for some.”

    Is this agreeing or disagreeing that encouraging monogamy helps deter the spread of HIV? I can’t tell.

    The statistics merely indicate that marriage itself is not as popular as it once was (surprise, surprise!) as the rates across the board are heading downward. It says nothing about promiscuity and inferring that it does is pretending to know what people do in every case within or outside of legal marriage. But we’ve had this conversation before.

    The numbers of gay marriage are certainly up from the time when that wasn’t an option at all. People who want to and see the value of marriage will marry regardless of their orientation if that option exists. It isn’t as if there is already a built in marriage tradition or culture for gays to easily slip into. The ones who do marry are swimming against the tide, and that goes for all of us who see the purpose and value in fidelity to one person. Encouraging the value of marriage for everyone’s sake would be the goal. In highly individualistic cultures like the west detached from extended communities, is it any wonder that many people, gay and straight, resist the idea? That, in itself, does not diminish its usefulness as an institution that encourages things like fidelity, loyalty, self-giving, and care for another, things that also extend to children, as well as the shelter and safety for them to grow as they receive love and guidance.

  • Stephen

    Steve @ 42

    The short answer is “I don’t know.” Perhaps. Perhaps not. But in a purely legal sense, they ought to have the same protections for their relationship available that another couple has. And I mean same as in not “almost” as others suggest that civil unions grant, which is to say “not always” making it half of a protection under the law.

    Beyond this, if we believe that marriage is a good in itself because of the fidelity it encourages, then why would that good not extend to gay couples? What is there really to suggest that for those who choose to marry, they would not put marriage to the same kinds of uses – to protect their rights and gain some or all of those benefits, including their parental rights should they cross a border for instance. What is to say that it wouldn’t do the same for them as anyone else? Biology?

  • Stephen

    Steve @ 42

    The short answer is “I don’t know.” Perhaps. Perhaps not. But in a purely legal sense, they ought to have the same protections for their relationship available that another couple has. And I mean same as in not “almost” as others suggest that civil unions grant, which is to say “not always” making it half of a protection under the law.

    Beyond this, if we believe that marriage is a good in itself because of the fidelity it encourages, then why would that good not extend to gay couples? What is there really to suggest that for those who choose to marry, they would not put marriage to the same kinds of uses – to protect their rights and gain some or all of those benefits, including their parental rights should they cross a border for instance. What is to say that it wouldn’t do the same for them as anyone else? Biology?

  • steve

    Stephen,

    It’s interesting that you bring up parental rights since same-sex marriage has many implications for parental and, more specifically, adoption rights. I think it would be fair to say that a much higher rate of same-sex couples will be incapable of conceiving a child through natural methods. This means that, along with surrogacy, more same-sex couples will choose adoption. Will there be any legal means to choose an opposite-sex couple, all else being relatively equal, over a same-sex couple as adoptive parents?

  • steve

    Stephen,

    It’s interesting that you bring up parental rights since same-sex marriage has many implications for parental and, more specifically, adoption rights. I think it would be fair to say that a much higher rate of same-sex couples will be incapable of conceiving a child through natural methods. This means that, along with surrogacy, more same-sex couples will choose adoption. Will there be any legal means to choose an opposite-sex couple, all else being relatively equal, over a same-sex couple as adoptive parents?

  • Stephen

    BB @ 43

    Even if I accept the conclusions of your non-existent studies (no worries. I’m sure sg is on it) so what? That says nothing about the benefits of marriage in and of themselves. Marriage is still marriage – a commitment between two people made within a particular community that agrees to support that commitment for the sake of those two people, any eventual children, and the peace and well-being that such fidelity brings. We can argue about the degree to which the state has an interest in fostering fidelity among people, whether or not it is “for the sake of the kids” only or if there are broader implications for supporting marriages, but the value of marriage is not limited to or defined by its ability to solve some particular problem like promiscuity.

    We sure seem to believe it ought to help address that issue or we wouldn’t keep encouraging it. And sometimes it does, but it isn’t a guaruntee for anyone. Anyone who has managed to stay married for a while knows it is hard work. The fact that it is less and less apealling for this reason does not mean it should not be encouraged.

    I suggest that it is a good thing for gays to desire marriage and that it may/will/can (all the things we hope marriage does for heteros) lead to more chaste and commited relationships among them. If it takes a while, well, then it takes a while. If things stay about the same as far as these mysterious “rates” of promiscuity, but some people still get married and tough it out in the face of it, just like straights who are surrounded with temptations, then great. Brokenness cannot be avoided sometimes, but fidelity encourages love and peace between neighbors. And that is always good for kids.

  • Stephen

    BB @ 43

    Even if I accept the conclusions of your non-existent studies (no worries. I’m sure sg is on it) so what? That says nothing about the benefits of marriage in and of themselves. Marriage is still marriage – a commitment between two people made within a particular community that agrees to support that commitment for the sake of those two people, any eventual children, and the peace and well-being that such fidelity brings. We can argue about the degree to which the state has an interest in fostering fidelity among people, whether or not it is “for the sake of the kids” only or if there are broader implications for supporting marriages, but the value of marriage is not limited to or defined by its ability to solve some particular problem like promiscuity.

    We sure seem to believe it ought to help address that issue or we wouldn’t keep encouraging it. And sometimes it does, but it isn’t a guaruntee for anyone. Anyone who has managed to stay married for a while knows it is hard work. The fact that it is less and less apealling for this reason does not mean it should not be encouraged.

    I suggest that it is a good thing for gays to desire marriage and that it may/will/can (all the things we hope marriage does for heteros) lead to more chaste and commited relationships among them. If it takes a while, well, then it takes a while. If things stay about the same as far as these mysterious “rates” of promiscuity, but some people still get married and tough it out in the face of it, just like straights who are surrounded with temptations, then great. Brokenness cannot be avoided sometimes, but fidelity encourages love and peace between neighbors. And that is always good for kids.

  • Stephen

    Steve @ 46

    “Will there be any legal means to choose an opposite-sex couple, all else being relatively equal, over a same-sex couple as adoptive parents?”

    I’m not sure I understand the question, but I don’t know that either. Kids want parents that love them and care for them. Gays can and do provide that. People who adopt are screened to be that kind of parent rather than an abusive one. Is that any different than choosing whoever will raise a child. Religous preferences aside, should Christians be allowed to adopt Muslim or Hindu children?

    I’ve actually pondered this in another way in regards to my own child. Who will take care of her if we were suddenly gone? Well, we have solved that, but can I insist she be raised LCMS? Is that too much to ask of her guardians if they are, say, Baptist? Dunno, but that would be my wish.

    I don’t know what kinds of choices adoptive children are given. I assume that in any adoptive situation, the children will grow up to have some or most of the values of the parents. So the gay thing really isn’t any different, is it? Will they grow up gay? No one knows why people are gay, but they will grow up with parents that love and nurture them as imperfectly as anyone else.

  • Stephen

    Steve @ 46

    “Will there be any legal means to choose an opposite-sex couple, all else being relatively equal, over a same-sex couple as adoptive parents?”

    I’m not sure I understand the question, but I don’t know that either. Kids want parents that love them and care for them. Gays can and do provide that. People who adopt are screened to be that kind of parent rather than an abusive one. Is that any different than choosing whoever will raise a child. Religous preferences aside, should Christians be allowed to adopt Muslim or Hindu children?

    I’ve actually pondered this in another way in regards to my own child. Who will take care of her if we were suddenly gone? Well, we have solved that, but can I insist she be raised LCMS? Is that too much to ask of her guardians if they are, say, Baptist? Dunno, but that would be my wish.

    I don’t know what kinds of choices adoptive children are given. I assume that in any adoptive situation, the children will grow up to have some or most of the values of the parents. So the gay thing really isn’t any different, is it? Will they grow up gay? No one knows why people are gay, but they will grow up with parents that love and nurture them as imperfectly as anyone else.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I don’t see how a gay man would sin by marrying unless he failed to act openly and decently with his wife. He ought to let her know his sexual disorder prior to marriage and he ought to seek treatment if he finds it difficult to channel those passions towards his wife.

    Now what is called a “gay marriage” is a feeble joke. Sin does lead us to equally pathetic jokes in other areas of life.

    If marriage is made to be an arrangement that incorporates all forms of sexual perversions it quickly becomes a self-licking-ice-cream-cone.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I don’t see how a gay man would sin by marrying unless he failed to act openly and decently with his wife. He ought to let her know his sexual disorder prior to marriage and he ought to seek treatment if he finds it difficult to channel those passions towards his wife.

    Now what is called a “gay marriage” is a feeble joke. Sin does lead us to equally pathetic jokes in other areas of life.

    If marriage is made to be an arrangement that incorporates all forms of sexual perversions it quickly becomes a self-licking-ice-cream-cone.

  • steve

    Stephen, #48:

    The question of same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption really go hand-in-hand, don’t they? This is why Catholic Charities has put adoption services on hold in many areas that have recently allowed same-sex marriage. They fear they will be required to abide by state laws and not discriminate in favor of opposite-sex couples when placing children. The fact is that this will undoubtedly make it more difficult for many couples to adopt. You say you would prefer your child to be raised in an LCMS household. Presumably, you have a very good reason for wishing so but, nonetheless, a reason that you may not be able to elucidate using charts and graphs and statistics about child-rearing. That’s because they are faith convictions. do you think a religious organization should be required to leave their own faith convictions aside when helping to place children for adoption?

  • steve

    Stephen, #48:

    The question of same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption really go hand-in-hand, don’t they? This is why Catholic Charities has put adoption services on hold in many areas that have recently allowed same-sex marriage. They fear they will be required to abide by state laws and not discriminate in favor of opposite-sex couples when placing children. The fact is that this will undoubtedly make it more difficult for many couples to adopt. You say you would prefer your child to be raised in an LCMS household. Presumably, you have a very good reason for wishing so but, nonetheless, a reason that you may not be able to elucidate using charts and graphs and statistics about child-rearing. That’s because they are faith convictions. do you think a religious organization should be required to leave their own faith convictions aside when helping to place children for adoption?

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen, if you’re so gung-ho about extending the benefits of marriage to any two people who desire it, gender irrelevant, then what is your argument against any three people? I.e., what is your argument against polygamy? Do you have one?

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen, if you’re so gung-ho about extending the benefits of marriage to any two people who desire it, gender irrelevant, then what is your argument against any three people? I.e., what is your argument against polygamy? Do you have one?

  • Stephen

    Steve @ 50

    That’s a fair question. A similar issue comes up with Catholic hospitals. Should they let mother’s die in an emergency situation in order to save an unborn child because they oppose abortion? You answer my question and I’ll answer yours!

    Just kidding. I don’t have a rock solid, good answer for that, except perhaps to wonder what the agreement with the state is with the Catholic Church. Does this fall under anti-discrimination laws? Should it? Was it discriminatory to disallow blacks and whites to marry at one time because that was understood to be a vile offense to nature? That is the Catholic argument against homosexuality by the way – one of Natural Law, but not in the same way the Lutheran Confessions understand natural law as only reason. There’s is an argument of design. They are entitled to it and gays are entitled to adopt as well. What to do? A clash of rights. So who is thinking about what is best for the children, the people resisting helping them be adopted by certain, able people, or the people who want to adopt them that do not fit the paradigm? Dunno.

    When we don’t have good answer what does that mean? Like I said, I would prefer my child be raised in an LCMS church. Is it essential? She’s baptized. God will care for her regardless of what I put in place. I’ll do whatever I can given the calling I have as her parent and the sinner that I am. That’s the best I can do. Beyond that, Christ will never leave her or forsake her. In, with and under all of it is what God does to make goodness and mercy happen, even and including my own demise, whenever that happens.

  • Stephen

    Steve @ 50

    That’s a fair question. A similar issue comes up with Catholic hospitals. Should they let mother’s die in an emergency situation in order to save an unborn child because they oppose abortion? You answer my question and I’ll answer yours!

    Just kidding. I don’t have a rock solid, good answer for that, except perhaps to wonder what the agreement with the state is with the Catholic Church. Does this fall under anti-discrimination laws? Should it? Was it discriminatory to disallow blacks and whites to marry at one time because that was understood to be a vile offense to nature? That is the Catholic argument against homosexuality by the way – one of Natural Law, but not in the same way the Lutheran Confessions understand natural law as only reason. There’s is an argument of design. They are entitled to it and gays are entitled to adopt as well. What to do? A clash of rights. So who is thinking about what is best for the children, the people resisting helping them be adopted by certain, able people, or the people who want to adopt them that do not fit the paradigm? Dunno.

    When we don’t have good answer what does that mean? Like I said, I would prefer my child be raised in an LCMS church. Is it essential? She’s baptized. God will care for her regardless of what I put in place. I’ll do whatever I can given the calling I have as her parent and the sinner that I am. That’s the best I can do. Beyond that, Christ will never leave her or forsake her. In, with and under all of it is what God does to make goodness and mercy happen, even and including my own demise, whenever that happens.

  • steve

    Stephen,

    Can I rephrase your question? Who is thinking about what is best for the children, the group that is committed to getting parents for children or the group that is committed to getting children for parents?

    Rather, we should probably just agree that we don’t know what the motivations of these people are towards the children their placing so it’s best to not impute our own prejudices.

    With regard to Catholic Charities relationship with the state, they do receive public money, so the thinking is that it would definitely fall under anti-discrimination laws. But this is not just a Catholic issue. LCFS also receives public funds and was recently the target of legal action in Illinois over a same-sex adoption case. I’m not sure what the resolution of that was but last I heard, the Illinois LCFS had changed their stance, and if so, no doubt due to legal coercion. Perhaps someone who knows more can speak to that one.

  • steve

    Stephen,

    Can I rephrase your question? Who is thinking about what is best for the children, the group that is committed to getting parents for children or the group that is committed to getting children for parents?

    Rather, we should probably just agree that we don’t know what the motivations of these people are towards the children their placing so it’s best to not impute our own prejudices.

    With regard to Catholic Charities relationship with the state, they do receive public money, so the thinking is that it would definitely fall under anti-discrimination laws. But this is not just a Catholic issue. LCFS also receives public funds and was recently the target of legal action in Illinois over a same-sex adoption case. I’m not sure what the resolution of that was but last I heard, the Illinois LCFS had changed their stance, and if so, no doubt due to legal coercion. Perhaps someone who knows more can speak to that one.

  • steve

    Apologies. That should have read *the children they’re placing*.

  • steve

    Apologies. That should have read *the children they’re placing*.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus @ 51

    IF I have one. You are a funny guy.

    I took a look at that article you linked. Believe it or not, it got more than a few eye rolls out of me. They are practicing certain kinds of exclusivity without admitting to it, for one thing, and people will try to use the Law to excuse their lack of love for each other. “As long as we doo this everything is okay” is how it goes. The logic here is that as long as we all agree and talk it out, it will be fine. But the Law always accuses. Jealousy happens.

    My argument would be that these types of arrangements are inherently not about fidelity to others, which, as I said before, is essential to love being produced. They are predicated on conflict. Even the people in your article who claim they can “talk it out” when jealousy happens do not deny that jealousy happens.

    Looking all the way back to Abraham, his situation with Sarai and Hagar was not good. First Sarah says he can have her so she can bear Abram a son, and then she mistreats her so that Hagar runs away (Genesis 16). It is inherently problematic and leads to discord. The stories in scripture bear this out. When kids are in there it gets worse. And even when they aren’t, like in the case of King David who has Uriah killed so he can steal his wife, the problem of our jealousy and covetousness work on us. Polygamy invites such cupidity and internal competition, militating against fidelity rather than helping protect it as monogamy does. It is inherently disruptive and disorienting for couples, children and communities. The child in the article you linked asks “Daddy, who do you love more?” Harm is being done there, I’d say, in the form of creating instability and uncertainty for that child. Every love triangle there ever was bears out the fact that brokeness is part and parcel of these kinds of arrangments because of the tenuosness of these relationships.

    So we ought to encourage monogamy. We know that this is what leads to peace among neighbors within the home and without. If I understand you right, as far as legalities go, your argument hinges on the biological fact of procreation as being something the state has an interest in protecting so that a culture flourishes. I don’t dispute that, but neither do I think this particular good will vanish with gay marriage. My argument is that the goods of marriage as an institution are the way in which it promotes and safeguards (to some extent) fidelity, and that this is a societal good which extends to both the children and beyond the marriage itself toward the society at large in that it promotes peace between neighbors. Good boundaries make good neighbors, right? It also helps mitigate a number of property and other rights issues, allowing for other benefits and protections, stuff that also protects citizens from government intrusions. The issue of gays crossing state lines with their children is an example of this last point, which we have discussed already.

    And if I haven’t quite said it like that, I’m saying it now.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus @ 51

    IF I have one. You are a funny guy.

    I took a look at that article you linked. Believe it or not, it got more than a few eye rolls out of me. They are practicing certain kinds of exclusivity without admitting to it, for one thing, and people will try to use the Law to excuse their lack of love for each other. “As long as we doo this everything is okay” is how it goes. The logic here is that as long as we all agree and talk it out, it will be fine. But the Law always accuses. Jealousy happens.

    My argument would be that these types of arrangements are inherently not about fidelity to others, which, as I said before, is essential to love being produced. They are predicated on conflict. Even the people in your article who claim they can “talk it out” when jealousy happens do not deny that jealousy happens.

    Looking all the way back to Abraham, his situation with Sarai and Hagar was not good. First Sarah says he can have her so she can bear Abram a son, and then she mistreats her so that Hagar runs away (Genesis 16). It is inherently problematic and leads to discord. The stories in scripture bear this out. When kids are in there it gets worse. And even when they aren’t, like in the case of King David who has Uriah killed so he can steal his wife, the problem of our jealousy and covetousness work on us. Polygamy invites such cupidity and internal competition, militating against fidelity rather than helping protect it as monogamy does. It is inherently disruptive and disorienting for couples, children and communities. The child in the article you linked asks “Daddy, who do you love more?” Harm is being done there, I’d say, in the form of creating instability and uncertainty for that child. Every love triangle there ever was bears out the fact that brokeness is part and parcel of these kinds of arrangments because of the tenuosness of these relationships.

    So we ought to encourage monogamy. We know that this is what leads to peace among neighbors within the home and without. If I understand you right, as far as legalities go, your argument hinges on the biological fact of procreation as being something the state has an interest in protecting so that a culture flourishes. I don’t dispute that, but neither do I think this particular good will vanish with gay marriage. My argument is that the goods of marriage as an institution are the way in which it promotes and safeguards (to some extent) fidelity, and that this is a societal good which extends to both the children and beyond the marriage itself toward the society at large in that it promotes peace between neighbors. Good boundaries make good neighbors, right? It also helps mitigate a number of property and other rights issues, allowing for other benefits and protections, stuff that also protects citizens from government intrusions. The issue of gays crossing state lines with their children is an example of this last point, which we have discussed already.

    And if I haven’t quite said it like that, I’m saying it now.

  • Rob

    I don’t want to get into a brouhaha – this is simply for the benefit of any lurkers or relatively new folks: Stephen and fws believe that the Lutheran confessions are essentially okay with a gay lifestyle. In doing so, they are opposed by nearly 500 years of confessional Lutheran teaching on the topic of human sexuality as well as the official position of all confessional Lutheran bodies of which I am aware.

    I am not trying to pick a fight (I’ve done my fifteen rounds months ago). I’ve neither the time nor inclination this evening. Just wanted the thread to be clear: their views do not represent the position held by the majority of confessional Lutherans. A scholarly treatment of the topic by Prof. John Pless of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN can be accessed at http://www.ctsfw.edu/Page.aspx?pid=376

    I am not trying to libel or smear Stephen or fws. Their beliefs are articulate and deeply held. And, I believe that in the end, they are wrong regarding this topic. However, as I have said many times elsewhere, we are saved by grace, not by our understanding of it. And thank God for that.

  • Rob

    I don’t want to get into a brouhaha – this is simply for the benefit of any lurkers or relatively new folks: Stephen and fws believe that the Lutheran confessions are essentially okay with a gay lifestyle. In doing so, they are opposed by nearly 500 years of confessional Lutheran teaching on the topic of human sexuality as well as the official position of all confessional Lutheran bodies of which I am aware.

    I am not trying to pick a fight (I’ve done my fifteen rounds months ago). I’ve neither the time nor inclination this evening. Just wanted the thread to be clear: their views do not represent the position held by the majority of confessional Lutherans. A scholarly treatment of the topic by Prof. John Pless of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN can be accessed at http://www.ctsfw.edu/Page.aspx?pid=376

    I am not trying to libel or smear Stephen or fws. Their beliefs are articulate and deeply held. And, I believe that in the end, they are wrong regarding this topic. However, as I have said many times elsewhere, we are saved by grace, not by our understanding of it. And thank God for that.

  • Stephen

    Steve -

    Can I rephrase your question? :)

    Who is thinking about what is best for the children, the group that is committed to getting parents for children under a certain set of religiously approved circumstances while they function as a somewhat governmental role, or the group that is committed to getting children for willingparents?

    But I agree. Not only should we not judge people’s intentions, we really can’t. I don’t dispute that it is problematic. Like I said, I don’t have a good answer.

    To spin it another way, my wife is going to have our son in four weeks or so. If we rushed to the hospital because of some complication and it was her or the baby, I can’t tell you what I would do. We have a daughter who needs her mother. I’d rather die myself if I could.

    So I am not going to pretend to have all the answers. If I did, I wouldn’t need faith in Christ. Perhaps that sounds like a cop out. But when it comes to figuring out how to love our neighbor, we do the best we can. When that doesn’t work, we try again. Serving others is not about telling them what they need or should do instead. It is about letting them tell you what they need and trying to provide it with everything you’ve got. How would that fit our moral conundrum over adoption, eh?

  • Stephen

    Steve -

    Can I rephrase your question? :)

    Who is thinking about what is best for the children, the group that is committed to getting parents for children under a certain set of religiously approved circumstances while they function as a somewhat governmental role, or the group that is committed to getting children for willingparents?

    But I agree. Not only should we not judge people’s intentions, we really can’t. I don’t dispute that it is problematic. Like I said, I don’t have a good answer.

    To spin it another way, my wife is going to have our son in four weeks or so. If we rushed to the hospital because of some complication and it was her or the baby, I can’t tell you what I would do. We have a daughter who needs her mother. I’d rather die myself if I could.

    So I am not going to pretend to have all the answers. If I did, I wouldn’t need faith in Christ. Perhaps that sounds like a cop out. But when it comes to figuring out how to love our neighbor, we do the best we can. When that doesn’t work, we try again. Serving others is not about telling them what they need or should do instead. It is about letting them tell you what they need and trying to provide it with everything you’ve got. How would that fit our moral conundrum over adoption, eh?

  • Rob

    Another link I meant to include above, quoting Luther on Genesis 19: http://apprising.org/2009/07/02/john-t-pless-martin-luthers-rejection-of-homosexuality/

  • Rob

    Another link I meant to include above, quoting Luther on Genesis 19: http://apprising.org/2009/07/02/john-t-pless-martin-luthers-rejection-of-homosexuality/

  • Stephen

    Rob,

    You realize that was one long, elaborate appeal to authority without any substance whatsoever, don’t you? Just sayin’. But I’m sure all the lurkers appreciate it, especially with the added touches of innuendo and paternalism.

    Try harder.

  • Stephen

    Rob,

    You realize that was one long, elaborate appeal to authority without any substance whatsoever, don’t you? Just sayin’. But I’m sure all the lurkers appreciate it, especially with the added touches of innuendo and paternalism.

    Try harder.

  • Stephen

    Rob,

    For one thing, is everything in Luther’s lectures on Genesis considered Confessional?

    Pless that Luther’s issue is “more than aesthetic” and says this:

    “For Luther, homosexuality is a form of idolatry.”

    Is that correct? I’m not doubting Luther said those things (and I don’t have that commentary handy either). But in what essential way is it idolatry?

  • Stephen

    Rob,

    For one thing, is everything in Luther’s lectures on Genesis considered Confessional?

    Pless that Luther’s issue is “more than aesthetic” and says this:

    “For Luther, homosexuality is a form of idolatry.”

    Is that correct? I’m not doubting Luther said those things (and I don’t have that commentary handy either). But in what essential way is it idolatry?

  • fws

    steve @ 40

    My understanding, and please correct me if I am wrong, is that the roman catholics shut down there child services in mass when gay marriage was legalized. this is because they recieved public funding for their programs. in contrast, the mormons continued their programs in the same state because they did not rely on public funding.

    so the roman catholics could have done whatever they wanted if they had chosen to forgo public funding. no one was forcing them to do anything.

    again, that is my understanding. coorect me if I am mistaken as to the facts.

  • fws

    steve @ 40

    My understanding, and please correct me if I am wrong, is that the roman catholics shut down there child services in mass when gay marriage was legalized. this is because they recieved public funding for their programs. in contrast, the mormons continued their programs in the same state because they did not rely on public funding.

    so the roman catholics could have done whatever they wanted if they had chosen to forgo public funding. no one was forcing them to do anything.

    again, that is my understanding. coorect me if I am mistaken as to the facts.

  • Rob

    First question – No. But it does highlight how Luther viewed the topic.

    Now, as to idolatry. You and I touched on this once before, but I would put it this way:

    Homosexuality is sin.
    Sin belongs to the Old Adam.
    To intentionally cling to Old Adam is idolatry.

    I feel certain we agree on the second and third statements. Where we differ is on the first. I believe that the canon of Scripture is quite clear on the topic. I would happily go through the Scriptures in question and discuss them. I simply don’t have the time right now. But, I think I may owe you that. You probably feel that I’ve dive-bombed you a few times and I don’t want that to be the case. I’d rather do it via e-mail as it allows more time for reflection and composition. If that was something you were interested in, let me know and I can post an e-mail address (just don’t be offended if I’m giving you my junk mail address – I can get you a more direct one once we’re offline).

    As to your claim that my entire statement was an argument from authority, I demur. It wasn’t an argument at all, but simply a statement of fact. You and Frank hold a position that differs from the rest of confessional Lutheranism, past and present. If I held a position wherein I differed from the rest of confessional Lutheranism, I wouldn’t take umbrage at that fact being pointed out. Instead, I would make a case that the rest of confessional Lutheranism, past and present, had misunderstood or misapplied something as I saw it.

    For a tiny example: semper virgo. I think it is a mistreatment of the text to hold that Mary remained a virgin until death, even following the virgin birth of Christ. I think Luther was wrong to believe this and I think many confessional Lutherans (Pieper among them) are wrong in sort of letting it slide by with a wink. But I know that I differ from them on this topic and I am willing to stand by my understanding of the Scriptures on it.

  • Rob

    First question – No. But it does highlight how Luther viewed the topic.

    Now, as to idolatry. You and I touched on this once before, but I would put it this way:

    Homosexuality is sin.
    Sin belongs to the Old Adam.
    To intentionally cling to Old Adam is idolatry.

    I feel certain we agree on the second and third statements. Where we differ is on the first. I believe that the canon of Scripture is quite clear on the topic. I would happily go through the Scriptures in question and discuss them. I simply don’t have the time right now. But, I think I may owe you that. You probably feel that I’ve dive-bombed you a few times and I don’t want that to be the case. I’d rather do it via e-mail as it allows more time for reflection and composition. If that was something you were interested in, let me know and I can post an e-mail address (just don’t be offended if I’m giving you my junk mail address – I can get you a more direct one once we’re offline).

    As to your claim that my entire statement was an argument from authority, I demur. It wasn’t an argument at all, but simply a statement of fact. You and Frank hold a position that differs from the rest of confessional Lutheranism, past and present. If I held a position wherein I differed from the rest of confessional Lutheranism, I wouldn’t take umbrage at that fact being pointed out. Instead, I would make a case that the rest of confessional Lutheranism, past and present, had misunderstood or misapplied something as I saw it.

    For a tiny example: semper virgo. I think it is a mistreatment of the text to hold that Mary remained a virgin until death, even following the virgin birth of Christ. I think Luther was wrong to believe this and I think many confessional Lutherans (Pieper among them) are wrong in sort of letting it slide by with a wink. But I know that I differ from them on this topic and I am willing to stand by my understanding of the Scriptures on it.

  • steve

    Stephen, #57:

    The emergency room scenario is an interesting debate but pretty much a red herring here since this issue is neither about abortion or personal ethical dilemmas, per se. It’s about ethical-legal dilemmas surrounding the consequences of legalizing same-sex marriage. Is I fail to see some more direct connection, please explain.

    Regarding loving one’s neighbor, I don’t believe, nor, I’m willing to bet, do you really believe, that loving one’s neighbor means trying to provide them with everything they think they need. We can start at the obviously extreme of something like drug addiction and work backwards from there but, as I said, I’m sure you will agree that there are points at which what we think we need diverge from reality. We would indeed be unloving to let our neighbors continually reside in a fantasy world that is detrimental to themselves and/or society.

  • steve

    Stephen, #57:

    The emergency room scenario is an interesting debate but pretty much a red herring here since this issue is neither about abortion or personal ethical dilemmas, per se. It’s about ethical-legal dilemmas surrounding the consequences of legalizing same-sex marriage. Is I fail to see some more direct connection, please explain.

    Regarding loving one’s neighbor, I don’t believe, nor, I’m willing to bet, do you really believe, that loving one’s neighbor means trying to provide them with everything they think they need. We can start at the obviously extreme of something like drug addiction and work backwards from there but, as I said, I’m sure you will agree that there are points at which what we think we need diverge from reality. We would indeed be unloving to let our neighbors continually reside in a fantasy world that is detrimental to themselves and/or society.

  • steve

    fws, #61:

    I’m not as familiar with the Mormon adoption issues lately but you are correct about Catholic Charities putting their adoption services on hold largely because they receive public money. Just two points about that: 1) this will still make it more difficult for kids to get adopted. And these are the kids that already have the smallest chances to get adopted; the older kids, the disabled kids, the troubled kids, etc. 2) LDS adoption agencies only place children with LDS parents. These aren’t necessarily the hard-luck cases either. As far as I know, Catholic Charities has no system-wide requirement that the parents be Roman Catholic. I think that may depend on the local agencies.

  • steve

    fws, #61:

    I’m not as familiar with the Mormon adoption issues lately but you are correct about Catholic Charities putting their adoption services on hold largely because they receive public money. Just two points about that: 1) this will still make it more difficult for kids to get adopted. And these are the kids that already have the smallest chances to get adopted; the older kids, the disabled kids, the troubled kids, etc. 2) LDS adoption agencies only place children with LDS parents. These aren’t necessarily the hard-luck cases either. As far as I know, Catholic Charities has no system-wide requirement that the parents be Roman Catholic. I think that may depend on the local agencies.

  • Rob

    So I’ve done my due diligence and looped my comments back to the topic at hand:

    To claim (as Savage does) that I am wired for infidelity and thus it is okay is just another form of idolatry. The same syllogistic argument I made above could be made:

    Sexual promiscuity is sin.
    Sin belongs to the Old Adam.
    To cling to the Old Adam is idolatry.

    We can get into why this particular form of idolatry is appealing, but there’s probably no real point. Old Adam is wired for idolatry. Loves it. Eats it up. And self-justifies the whole time. But when you justifying yourself, you abandon Christ as the only one who can justify. You set up an idol.

  • Rob

    So I’ve done my due diligence and looped my comments back to the topic at hand:

    To claim (as Savage does) that I am wired for infidelity and thus it is okay is just another form of idolatry. The same syllogistic argument I made above could be made:

    Sexual promiscuity is sin.
    Sin belongs to the Old Adam.
    To cling to the Old Adam is idolatry.

    We can get into why this particular form of idolatry is appealing, but there’s probably no real point. Old Adam is wired for idolatry. Loves it. Eats it up. And self-justifies the whole time. But when you justifying yourself, you abandon Christ as the only one who can justify. You set up an idol.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Any of you guys hear Dan Savage’s monologue on This American Life?

    He talks about sneaking into Catholic churches and wishing he could have faith and to mourn his mom. Truly heart wrenching. Here is the link.

    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/379/return-to-the-scene-of-the-crime

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Any of you guys hear Dan Savage’s monologue on This American Life?

    He talks about sneaking into Catholic churches and wishing he could have faith and to mourn his mom. Truly heart wrenching. Here is the link.

    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/379/return-to-the-scene-of-the-crime

  • Stephen

    Steve -

    Red herring? Hmmm. We were talking about a clash of values is all, so I used that to illustrate things in a similar way. It points to the reality that we can’t always get what we want in every situation. No matter what we choose, the Law will still accuse us for what we failed to do. How many great films have you seen that ponder this very thing, with a character who tried to do right but instead did wrong because they were between a rock and a hard place?

    Anyway, if the argument is that because gays want marriage they are hurting others, I don’t buy it. They are scaring others, and others disapprove, but they are not harming others. The people refusing adoptions bear at least half the burden there. And if it is true that they are relying on government funds, well then . . .

    And on the other point, if we read the explanations to the commandments in the Small Catechism, what do they tell us that love for the neighbor looks like? Mortification (you shall not) and Love (you shall love, help and befriend them). We do this through our vocations. As a parent, my vocation is to guide my child into adulthood. Does love demand that I give my child everything they want? No, of course not. I’d be a crappy parent. My kid may get really mad at me and that might make me have a lousy day (mortification) but I would be doing what is best for them as a parent (love).

    As for the drug addict example, now we really do have a red herring. :)

    Consider your station in regards to the drug addict. Are you a citizen who pays taxes? Maybe it is to support the best use of public funds to prevent drug addiction or something like that, and maybe that means more taxes (mortification) so that people get rehab (love). Or maybe it means volunteering my time (mortification) so that they get a meal because drugs have ruined their life and they are on the street (love). Are you their friend? Will they be pissed at you and never want to speak to you again if you do the loving thing and refuse to give them money to buy drugs? Maybe you will lose a friend (mortification, suffering) but will do it for the sake of love (to help and befriend them). Is it loving to give someone who wants to kill them self a gun to do it with? Easy question. No.

    We know what love looks like. We screw it up often, but we still know and keep trying. We know because we too need love and mercy. We need others to serve us even though we don’t deserve it. That’s what makes it mercy.

    So when I say “find out what they need and get it to them” I mean that – mortification and love, just like the explanations in the catechism. Is what I’m doing for my benefit or there’s? I can’t think of a good reason to give a drug addict money for drugs unless it somehow makes me feel better because it justifies my own habit or gets them out of my hair. No love in that.

    But it is not my job to decide for others what is good for them unless the relationship somehow requires it. Is it the job of heterosexuals to decide what is best for homosexuals? Taking it down a few notches, is it my job to jump in the middle of my neighbor’s life in every case and tell them how they should be living? What are the boundaries of that? Clearly, if abuse or violence or harm is being done to my neighbor I have a responsibility to do something. The law will accuse me, and whatever I do, it will not be perfect. But like the Samaritan on the road, I am called to do something.

    Now, as to the great moral peril that gays are in, is that real, or is it being projected on to them out of fear? In what way are they harming themselves or their partners any more or less than heterosexuals? Heterosexual relationships are not seamless, but we don’t prohibit them for not being flawless. God wants us to have them. It is not good to be alone. And when they falter, we seek forgiveness. To maintain relationships we must give ourselves over (mortification) so that love happens in what we do and they feel it.

    So the question remains: in what way does gay celibacy or gays pretending to be heterosexuals, both instances of mortification as self-sacrifice, promote love? If you wonder what love looks like, the 4th petition to the Lord’s Prayer helps. Love looks like daily bread.

  • Stephen

    Steve -

    Red herring? Hmmm. We were talking about a clash of values is all, so I used that to illustrate things in a similar way. It points to the reality that we can’t always get what we want in every situation. No matter what we choose, the Law will still accuse us for what we failed to do. How many great films have you seen that ponder this very thing, with a character who tried to do right but instead did wrong because they were between a rock and a hard place?

    Anyway, if the argument is that because gays want marriage they are hurting others, I don’t buy it. They are scaring others, and others disapprove, but they are not harming others. The people refusing adoptions bear at least half the burden there. And if it is true that they are relying on government funds, well then . . .

    And on the other point, if we read the explanations to the commandments in the Small Catechism, what do they tell us that love for the neighbor looks like? Mortification (you shall not) and Love (you shall love, help and befriend them). We do this through our vocations. As a parent, my vocation is to guide my child into adulthood. Does love demand that I give my child everything they want? No, of course not. I’d be a crappy parent. My kid may get really mad at me and that might make me have a lousy day (mortification) but I would be doing what is best for them as a parent (love).

    As for the drug addict example, now we really do have a red herring. :)

    Consider your station in regards to the drug addict. Are you a citizen who pays taxes? Maybe it is to support the best use of public funds to prevent drug addiction or something like that, and maybe that means more taxes (mortification) so that people get rehab (love). Or maybe it means volunteering my time (mortification) so that they get a meal because drugs have ruined their life and they are on the street (love). Are you their friend? Will they be pissed at you and never want to speak to you again if you do the loving thing and refuse to give them money to buy drugs? Maybe you will lose a friend (mortification, suffering) but will do it for the sake of love (to help and befriend them). Is it loving to give someone who wants to kill them self a gun to do it with? Easy question. No.

    We know what love looks like. We screw it up often, but we still know and keep trying. We know because we too need love and mercy. We need others to serve us even though we don’t deserve it. That’s what makes it mercy.

    So when I say “find out what they need and get it to them” I mean that – mortification and love, just like the explanations in the catechism. Is what I’m doing for my benefit or there’s? I can’t think of a good reason to give a drug addict money for drugs unless it somehow makes me feel better because it justifies my own habit or gets them out of my hair. No love in that.

    But it is not my job to decide for others what is good for them unless the relationship somehow requires it. Is it the job of heterosexuals to decide what is best for homosexuals? Taking it down a few notches, is it my job to jump in the middle of my neighbor’s life in every case and tell them how they should be living? What are the boundaries of that? Clearly, if abuse or violence or harm is being done to my neighbor I have a responsibility to do something. The law will accuse me, and whatever I do, it will not be perfect. But like the Samaritan on the road, I am called to do something.

    Now, as to the great moral peril that gays are in, is that real, or is it being projected on to them out of fear? In what way are they harming themselves or their partners any more or less than heterosexuals? Heterosexual relationships are not seamless, but we don’t prohibit them for not being flawless. God wants us to have them. It is not good to be alone. And when they falter, we seek forgiveness. To maintain relationships we must give ourselves over (mortification) so that love happens in what we do and they feel it.

    So the question remains: in what way does gay celibacy or gays pretending to be heterosexuals, both instances of mortification as self-sacrifice, promote love? If you wonder what love looks like, the 4th petition to the Lord’s Prayer helps. Love looks like daily bread.

  • Stephen

    Rob -

    In post #62 your premise was “Homosexuality is sin” and then you changed it to “Sexual promiscuity is sin” in post #65. Why did you do that? Now I’m not sure what you are talking about, homosexuality or promiscuity? They’re different.

    You said:

    You and Frank hold a position that differs from the rest of confessional Lutheranism, past and present. If I held a position wherein I differed from the rest of confessional Lutheranism, I wouldn’t take umbrage at that fact being pointed out. Instead, I would make a case that the rest of confessional Lutheranism, past and present, had misunderstood or misapplied something as I saw it.

    And I say “that”s what you say” to the first part and “clearly you are not paying attention” to the second one. How about rather than making claims for the entire history of Confessional Lutheranism as an argument, you actually make a Confessional argument instead? That would be helpful instead of attacking and then leaving. That is what I’m doing contrary to what you say. You’re not. You are just asserting things “for the sake of the lurkers” and then saying you don’t have time to talk.

    Yes, I feel unfairly maligned and “dive bombed” as you put it. I see no reason to email each other. If you really believe your arguments are so helpful, post them here. That would be the honest thing to do. If not, don’t waste my time.

    Frankly, where I come from, I think what you did in post #56 was what we call “yellow.” And what is really disturbing is how you cast it with such pseudo-humility (“Just wanted the thread to be clear.” Gee thanks Rob).

    However, as I have said many times elsewhere, we are saved by grace, not by our understanding of it. And thank God for that.

    Oh really? Where did I say that we must understand grace to be saved by it? Right. I get it, just dropping in for the sake of the lurkers. Lame.

  • Stephen

    Rob -

    In post #62 your premise was “Homosexuality is sin” and then you changed it to “Sexual promiscuity is sin” in post #65. Why did you do that? Now I’m not sure what you are talking about, homosexuality or promiscuity? They’re different.

    You said:

    You and Frank hold a position that differs from the rest of confessional Lutheranism, past and present. If I held a position wherein I differed from the rest of confessional Lutheranism, I wouldn’t take umbrage at that fact being pointed out. Instead, I would make a case that the rest of confessional Lutheranism, past and present, had misunderstood or misapplied something as I saw it.

    And I say “that”s what you say” to the first part and “clearly you are not paying attention” to the second one. How about rather than making claims for the entire history of Confessional Lutheranism as an argument, you actually make a Confessional argument instead? That would be helpful instead of attacking and then leaving. That is what I’m doing contrary to what you say. You’re not. You are just asserting things “for the sake of the lurkers” and then saying you don’t have time to talk.

    Yes, I feel unfairly maligned and “dive bombed” as you put it. I see no reason to email each other. If you really believe your arguments are so helpful, post them here. That would be the honest thing to do. If not, don’t waste my time.

    Frankly, where I come from, I think what you did in post #56 was what we call “yellow.” And what is really disturbing is how you cast it with such pseudo-humility (“Just wanted the thread to be clear.” Gee thanks Rob).

    However, as I have said many times elsewhere, we are saved by grace, not by our understanding of it. And thank God for that.

    Oh really? Where did I say that we must understand grace to be saved by it? Right. I get it, just dropping in for the sake of the lurkers. Lame.

  • Rob

    Stephen – regardless of what you think of my motives, I really hope you’ll read the Pless lecture to which I linked (and from which the shorter quote – the second link – is drawn) he addresses pretty much every argument you’ve put forward. I linked to it because I knew I didn’t have time to get into the knock-down drag-out brawl you seem to prefer.

    As I said before, your beliefs are articulate and deeply held. I respect that. And, I believe they are wrong. What’s more – there’s a lot at stake. False teachers are not lightly treated in Scripture or on the Confessions. It may be argument from authority, but Pless is a rightly called and ordained servant of Christ who has been placed in the position of providing instruction to the LCMS of which you are voluntarily a part. He is, by your leave as part of a LCMS parish, in a position of authority. And frankly, he has put it much better than I feel I can. Rather than paraphrase it, I leave it to you to consider.

    Even if you end up believing that he, and the LCMS whose position he represents, are wrong, it will have been time well spent on your part. You will know precisely why and on what terms you differ from your Synod. And that will be of value to you.

    And I have to ask – why do you feel the need to get so personal and rhetorically violent when someone disagrees with you? Have I ever called you a name? Impugned your motives? Derided your approach or belittled you in any way? You sound petulant and mean-spirited. If you’re so concerned with others not being led to sin (as per your comments on the banning issue), perhaps attacking a little less might be an appropriate route. I told you my reasons for preferring e-mail. You don’t respect them. That is your choice and I will respect it. However, it is my choice to avoid further stoking your already virulent rhetoric. And you have no choice but to respect that.

  • Rob

    Stephen – regardless of what you think of my motives, I really hope you’ll read the Pless lecture to which I linked (and from which the shorter quote – the second link – is drawn) he addresses pretty much every argument you’ve put forward. I linked to it because I knew I didn’t have time to get into the knock-down drag-out brawl you seem to prefer.

    As I said before, your beliefs are articulate and deeply held. I respect that. And, I believe they are wrong. What’s more – there’s a lot at stake. False teachers are not lightly treated in Scripture or on the Confessions. It may be argument from authority, but Pless is a rightly called and ordained servant of Christ who has been placed in the position of providing instruction to the LCMS of which you are voluntarily a part. He is, by your leave as part of a LCMS parish, in a position of authority. And frankly, he has put it much better than I feel I can. Rather than paraphrase it, I leave it to you to consider.

    Even if you end up believing that he, and the LCMS whose position he represents, are wrong, it will have been time well spent on your part. You will know precisely why and on what terms you differ from your Synod. And that will be of value to you.

    And I have to ask – why do you feel the need to get so personal and rhetorically violent when someone disagrees with you? Have I ever called you a name? Impugned your motives? Derided your approach or belittled you in any way? You sound petulant and mean-spirited. If you’re so concerned with others not being led to sin (as per your comments on the banning issue), perhaps attacking a little less might be an appropriate route. I told you my reasons for preferring e-mail. You don’t respect them. That is your choice and I will respect it. However, it is my choice to avoid further stoking your already virulent rhetoric. And you have no choice but to respect that.

  • Rob

    And in answer to your question, my premises changed intentionally because I was changing topics intentionally – as the post indicated. I was returning to the topic of the post: that of sexual promiscuity.

    Remember James? “Quick to listen. Slow to speak. Slow to become angry.” If you’d read almost anything of post 65, I don’t see how you could have missed it. It’s why I prefer e-mail to the “Ready, fire, aim” approach of internet dialogue.

  • Rob

    And in answer to your question, my premises changed intentionally because I was changing topics intentionally – as the post indicated. I was returning to the topic of the post: that of sexual promiscuity.

    Remember James? “Quick to listen. Slow to speak. Slow to become angry.” If you’d read almost anything of post 65, I don’t see how you could have missed it. It’s why I prefer e-mail to the “Ready, fire, aim” approach of internet dialogue.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Is this agreeing or disagreeing that encouraging monogamy helps deter the spread of HIV? I can’t tell.”

    We can encourage anything we want but it doesn’t make folks respond. We have encouraged all kinds of behavior, but we don’t see really strongly encouraging results.

    “The statistics merely indicate that marriage itself is not as popular as it once was ”

    No they don’t. They also show the difference in the incidence rate of married couples among cohabiting couples both gay and straight. A very strong majority of cohabiting straights are married but only a fairly small minority of cohabiting gays are married. Also the stats show the far lower incidence rate of cohabiting and married gays that are parenting. I don’t need to know why to just look at the way things are. I am looking at this from the act.sci point of view not the sociology point of view.

    My point is just to start from a point of actual facts. I don’t really care why until I know what.

    We don’t exactly promote marriage to straights, so why would it matter if it is promoted to gays?

    My darwinist atheist friends kind of look at behaviors that impact people’s fitness as somewhat self limiting. Laws on morality and behavior force the foolish in the group to benefit from the fitness advantages of the wiser members. To see if this applies to the children of gays, we would have to see whether the kids raised by gays have more or fewer kids than similar kids raised by straights. Whoever has more kids is more fit. Removing such punishments allows their genes to suffer from their own failings. Examples are seat belt laws and bike helmet laws, but there are many others that work on the same principle.

    The future belongs to those who show up for it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Is this agreeing or disagreeing that encouraging monogamy helps deter the spread of HIV? I can’t tell.”

    We can encourage anything we want but it doesn’t make folks respond. We have encouraged all kinds of behavior, but we don’t see really strongly encouraging results.

    “The statistics merely indicate that marriage itself is not as popular as it once was ”

    No they don’t. They also show the difference in the incidence rate of married couples among cohabiting couples both gay and straight. A very strong majority of cohabiting straights are married but only a fairly small minority of cohabiting gays are married. Also the stats show the far lower incidence rate of cohabiting and married gays that are parenting. I don’t need to know why to just look at the way things are. I am looking at this from the act.sci point of view not the sociology point of view.

    My point is just to start from a point of actual facts. I don’t really care why until I know what.

    We don’t exactly promote marriage to straights, so why would it matter if it is promoted to gays?

    My darwinist atheist friends kind of look at behaviors that impact people’s fitness as somewhat self limiting. Laws on morality and behavior force the foolish in the group to benefit from the fitness advantages of the wiser members. To see if this applies to the children of gays, we would have to see whether the kids raised by gays have more or fewer kids than similar kids raised by straights. Whoever has more kids is more fit. Removing such punishments allows their genes to suffer from their own failings. Examples are seat belt laws and bike helmet laws, but there are many others that work on the same principle.

    The future belongs to those who show up for it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “He talks about sneaking into Catholic churches and wishing he could have faith and to mourn his mom. Truly heart wrenching. Here is the link.”

    Yeah, I have had atheists tell me that they wish they could have faith. It is hard for a Christian to hear. I am taken aback by it and don’t know how to respond. On the one hand, they are convinced atheists. On the other hand, some send their kids to Catholic school hoping their kids won’t end up like they did.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “He talks about sneaking into Catholic churches and wishing he could have faith and to mourn his mom. Truly heart wrenching. Here is the link.”

    Yeah, I have had atheists tell me that they wish they could have faith. It is hard for a Christian to hear. I am taken aback by it and don’t know how to respond. On the one hand, they are convinced atheists. On the other hand, some send their kids to Catholic school hoping their kids won’t end up like they did.

  • Stephen

    Rob

    What you sense is a response to the insults you continue to dish out. You aren’t calling me names, so you say . . . ah, but then you are. Now I’m petulant an mean spirited because I defended myself. You begin by saying you are just looking out for the lurkers. Good for you. And then you state what I think as being anti-confessional without being willing to discuss it. No one likes that. And at the same time you claim to speak for 500 years of confessional theology. Well then, do some instead of just asserting and running. As a matter of fact, it seems I’ve asked that before.

    And now you are lecturing me about my attitude and what I need to do because I don’t like when you suggest I am supporting idolatry without any evidence or argument on your part. I find it all very haughty and patronizing. Should I not? You are dishing out a lot of shame my friend, and now you are telling me what I should and shouldn’t feel about things, and lecturing me about what my relationship to my church as well. Quite frankly, that feels like some kind of underhanded form of manipulation and intimidation. It would be different, for one thing, if you knew me, and for another, if you actually engaged in an argument about the Confessions instead of dropping shame bombs on me and then claiming you don’t have time to say any more. And now I’m the one with the problem for not liking it?

    Seriously Rob, if what I am saying is so anti-confessional as you insist, then back it up yourself if you want to make such sweeping statements. I’d call that impugning since you haven’t done that at all by your own admission. You’ve said these things in a public way and now you want to go elsewhere to hash it out? Is that fair? I don’t think so. I think it is cowardly. And you suggest that I am attacking you? I think it was self-defense. You jumped in and jumped on, and at the same time said essentially that you couldn’t be bothered. How is that not downright rude? Stroking me by saying that my ideas are “deeply held” among all that other stuff feels to me like a lot of empty flattery. If you really respected what I have to say, then you would meet it with your own ideas and rigor rather than offering your characterizations and announcing to everyone that I’m wrong without any other effort.

    In that spirit, show me how the things I am saying do not agree with the Lutheran Confessions. Then we can have a conversation. Others are showing me that courtesy even when they don’t agree. So . . . I regret that you find my tone disagreeable in this matter, but you brought it up and offered no quarter. I am wrong because Rob says so, and everyone ought to know it. That’s not fair, and it’s not fair to expect me to swallow it even if you put sugar on top and say it in a calm way.

  • Stephen

    Rob

    What you sense is a response to the insults you continue to dish out. You aren’t calling me names, so you say . . . ah, but then you are. Now I’m petulant an mean spirited because I defended myself. You begin by saying you are just looking out for the lurkers. Good for you. And then you state what I think as being anti-confessional without being willing to discuss it. No one likes that. And at the same time you claim to speak for 500 years of confessional theology. Well then, do some instead of just asserting and running. As a matter of fact, it seems I’ve asked that before.

    And now you are lecturing me about my attitude and what I need to do because I don’t like when you suggest I am supporting idolatry without any evidence or argument on your part. I find it all very haughty and patronizing. Should I not? You are dishing out a lot of shame my friend, and now you are telling me what I should and shouldn’t feel about things, and lecturing me about what my relationship to my church as well. Quite frankly, that feels like some kind of underhanded form of manipulation and intimidation. It would be different, for one thing, if you knew me, and for another, if you actually engaged in an argument about the Confessions instead of dropping shame bombs on me and then claiming you don’t have time to say any more. And now I’m the one with the problem for not liking it?

    Seriously Rob, if what I am saying is so anti-confessional as you insist, then back it up yourself if you want to make such sweeping statements. I’d call that impugning since you haven’t done that at all by your own admission. You’ve said these things in a public way and now you want to go elsewhere to hash it out? Is that fair? I don’t think so. I think it is cowardly. And you suggest that I am attacking you? I think it was self-defense. You jumped in and jumped on, and at the same time said essentially that you couldn’t be bothered. How is that not downright rude? Stroking me by saying that my ideas are “deeply held” among all that other stuff feels to me like a lot of empty flattery. If you really respected what I have to say, then you would meet it with your own ideas and rigor rather than offering your characterizations and announcing to everyone that I’m wrong without any other effort.

    In that spirit, show me how the things I am saying do not agree with the Lutheran Confessions. Then we can have a conversation. Others are showing me that courtesy even when they don’t agree. So . . . I regret that you find my tone disagreeable in this matter, but you brought it up and offered no quarter. I am wrong because Rob says so, and everyone ought to know it. That’s not fair, and it’s not fair to expect me to swallow it even if you put sugar on top and say it in a calm way.

  • Stephen

    sg @72

    Ask your friends if they are baptized. If they are, then treat them “as if” they are Christians. Tell them what their baptism actually means – how they are baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ, the Gospel that is “for them”. I have seen eyes light up. Otherwise, keep being their friend, pray, and leave the results to God.

    A suggestion.

  • Stephen

    sg @72

    Ask your friends if they are baptized. If they are, then treat them “as if” they are Christians. Tell them what their baptism actually means – how they are baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ, the Gospel that is “for them”. I have seen eyes light up. Otherwise, keep being their friend, pray, and leave the results to God.

    A suggestion.

  • fws

    rob @ 58

    You did me a service by presenting the Pless paper. In that paper Pless approvingly presents the views of Forde on the Law as it relates to homosexuality. If Pless fairly presents Forde, Forde is pretty screwed up on the Law.

    Here is my review.

    The paper that Rob presents is by John Pless, a seminary professor at Concordia. The Paper contrasts the use of Luther quotations by two Lutherans.
    You can find the paper I am reviewing here:
    http://www.ctsfw.edu/Document.Doc?id=307
    He first discusses the writtings of a liberal Lutheran apologist for homosexuality named Edward Schroeder. He claims that Scroeder bases his Theses on Werner Elert, and these views are Gnostic and refuted by Bayer. My opinion is that this analysis is very flawed. At the same time, the arguments of Schroeder , as presented by Pless, are without Confessional support and are contrary to our Confessions. I am not a fan. I would be more than willing to dissect Schroeder at a different time.
    Pless then turns to Fordes writings on the Law as it pertains to homosexuality as the antidote to Schroeder.
    Pless, in passing praises natural law in the aristotelian/aquinan meaning of the term, and not the Lutheran and Confessional meaning of the term to mean merely “reason”. The author also ends up using aquinan/aristotelian arguments at the end of his paper, I am guessing that Pless ends up doing this because the Law always accuses. Fordes views on the Law accuses the conscience! It should shock the conscience actually. Forde says that the Law has nothing to do with compassions in essence! So Pless was therefore not comfortable with letting Forde have the last word for that very reason I suggest.
    Then , around page 13, Pless presents how Gerhart Forde opposes homosexuality.
    Pless does this by presenting an overview of Forde’s ideas of how “the two functions of the Law” relate to homosexuality.
    Pless presents Forde approvingl and seems to embrace his views.
    Now I will here note, in fairness to the sainted Forde, that my comments are on Forde being quoted and interpreted by John Pless. So whereever Pless gets Forde wrong, then so will I.
    I suggest that there is a problem with Forde and a very serious one, at least Forde as presented by Pless.
    Here is the problem , I am suggesting, in a nutshelll: Forde asserts that the Law has only two functions, which are to negatively curb sin, and to reveal/convict of sin and denies that there is any compassion in this process of the Law’s functioning. It appears that he also misses completely that the entire sum of the Law, or intent is to produce fruit! and that fruit is exactly compassion, mercy, and love. So this is scripturally and confessionally fatal to his thesis. And it is a rather direct attack on the Confessions. It ends up being classic antinomianism: It denies the Claim of the Law upon us demanding Love and compassion. So then love and compassion become a function of the Holy gospel.
    Read on and see if you agree dear reader.
    Fordes thesis is that the Law is devoid of compassion. Therefore compassion has no place at all in any discussion of the Law. And he asserts that we must remember this is true when we discuss the Law in terms of sexuality and then homosexuality.
    Now the error in what he says is not immediately clear because he repeatedly uses confessional phrases that , in a different context, must be, and very importantly so…. true.
    So how does Forde go about directing all this at the homosexual question?
    Forde starts building his thesis with a foundational statement in the Lutheran Confessions that is irrefutable. Forde states that
    “the law always accuses” .
    This is such an important statement for the Confessions that they repeat it over and over and over. But then he quickly adds to it logical gloss that shifts the confessional intent of the phrase. Watch.
    From that fact that the Law always accuses, Then Forde draws the conclusion that therefore :
    “the Law offers no compassion.”
    This is true in a very real sense. But this is not true in the sense he means it. He is really saying that the Law has NOTHING to do with compassion. That Forde things this, and how he thinks this is true will be clear as you read on. And this would be wrong. Forde is right in that the Law IS relentless in how it works and that the Law itself offers nothing but death. It is UNforgiving. But he is also wrong here.
    But Forde ignores the fruit of the Law. He ignores also therefore what Jesus says is the entire SUM of the Law. Here is what he really ends up negating: It is also true that the FRUIT of the Law or Works of the Law are what? Love. Mercy. Compassion! Jesus says that the entire SUM of the Law is Love Mercy and Compassion. Jesus says in fact that God intends that the Law produces mercy/compassion and not “sacrifice”. Forde actually seems to be trying to prove that the Law is indeed about sacrifice in the way Christ means that word. He is suggesting that the aim or SUM of the Law is to produce Mortification, or a curbing. The confessions call this “sacrifice” that is no righteousness at all. The small catechism points out that the commandments are only kept by curbing/mortification PLUS love being done. Nothing Less. The confessions call mortification that does not lead to love, ie that does not serve neighbor, “useless” and “idolatrous sacrifice”. So in sum, even though the Law IS unforgiving and relentless and has no compassion in this relentlessness, at the same time, the entire purpose of this relentless Law is exactly and ENTIRELY to produce mercy/compassion out of sinful men! This production of mercy/compassion is in fact the SUM and SUBSTANCE of the Law. This is precisely why St Paul calls the Law “good.”
    Fordes Thesis will be clear as one reads on. This is the rational sylogism that allows Forde to make this, rather amazing statement at the start of his paper on “The Law and Sexual Behavior”:
    “This is an essay about the function of the law as it confronts sexual behavior. Therefore the first thing that needs saying is that this paper cannot be about compassion.”
    He states that this compassion can only be found in Christ:

    “The accusation of the law can only be answered in Christ who was made sin for us.”

    This again is true as to the fact that the Law demands nothing less than capital punishment for even the slightest infraction. And it is again true that Christ is the only escape from this judgement. But it is, again, also true that the accusation of the Law is precisely what drives ALL goodness and mercy that happens on earth and is described in the small catechisms 1st article of the apostles creed. It is true that the accusation of the Law can be answered ONLY by Christ in the Heavenly Kingdom, that is as to our relation to God. It is also completely true that the accusation of the Law can ONLY be answered by doing Good Works in the Earthly Kingdom, that is, in our relation to our neighbor. This is exactly what Luthers sermon on the Two Kingdoms says. This sermon is the basis for the FC art VI as that article itself declares.
    So the Law is exactly what drives ALL goodness and mercy (read compassion) in all we can see and do here on earth. You will see that Forde denies that this is a function of the Law.
    that Forde then seeks to reinforce his thesis that the Law states that The Law has only two uses or functions. Forde states , according to this article, that The law has NO function in making mercy and love happen on earth. It’s only earthly function is as an entirely negative “curb”. The eartly function of the Law is wholy negative and twofold …
    1) “..The law works horizontally to protect and preserve life. It curbs chaos and reigns in outbursts of immorality that would destroy the fabric of human community….It sets limits to sinful and destructive behavior, usually by some sort of persuasion or coercion, ultimately by death itself; and…2) it accuses of sin.”
    Then he adds, correctly. as to the power of the Law that is:
    “That is simply what it does. We have no choice in the matter.. ”
    Forde, correctly , notes, in accord with the Lutheran Confessions, that the earthly use of the Law pertains strictly to behavior. So this would reject natural Law theories I would note:
    “Forde notes that the law does not have to do with so-called “orientation”-which he deems a rather “modern invention that seems particularly pernicious.” [There is no explanation as to why he feels this way in this paper]. Here the law has to do with human actions, with behavior.”

    Then Forde brings his Thesis that the Law has nothing to do with compassion apart from Christ’s sacrifice by redefining antinomianism:

    “Forde sees antinomianism, in whatever form it takes, as an attempt to find some other end for the law other than Christ crucified.”

    So far, so good! This is a very good definition of Antinomianism actually. The problem is that how he describes how this plays out is “libertinism” and not “antinomianism”. See if you agree. Forde then proceeds to redefines the meaning of “antinomian” to describe libertinism or hedonism:

    ” So, for example, in the current debate on homosexuality, he observes that there are those who attempt to change the content of the law. He writes “…when we come up against laws that call our behavior into question we usually attempt by one means or another to erase, discredit, or change the laws. We’ve become antinomians.”

    This is called “libertinism” or “hedonism.” This is not “antinomianism”.

    So what is “antinomian ” then? It is when christians declare that the the Law no longer exists for them or binds them. Note that they do say that it is Christ that is the end of the Law! But the Law, as Forde correctly notes, will not go away. So then what always will happen because the Law won’t go away? This is the problem with Antinomianism, and this is where they do away with Christ as the end of the Law: Christians then start calling what really is Law by the word “Gospel”! This, according to the Lutheran Confessions, is the real danger of Antinomianism. It is not so much that people will go ferrel or libertine on us. It is that the” Gospel” becomes about our doing something rather than alone about Christ. The Law now is called “gospel encouragement” or “gospel reminders” or “Gospel exhortations.”

    So Forde continues…

    “If we don’t like the law we seek to remove or abolish it by exegetical circumlocution, appeals to progress, to genetics, to the authority of ecclesiastical-task force pronouncements, or perhaps just to the assurance that ‘things have changed.”44 But the law will not disappear by exegetical attempts to expunge difficult texts from our hearing, or invocation of the latest scientific research to lessen the claim of Scripture, nor will it be house broken in the name of compassion or tolerance. The law cannot be so easily silenced. We cannot bring and end to the law”

    So what is wrong with his analysis?

    Forde says that the Law has no compassion. This is true. And it is true in the sense that he means. The Law is relentless. It has no compassion. It always accuses. The Law always accuses. And he is right when he says that “this is what the Law does. We have no choice in the matter”.

    But this is the Law. Then there is the fruit of the Law. And the entire SUM of the fulfillment (read intended fruit) of the Law is what? to be curbed? To not do something? Even pagans call this “sacrifice”. as in “go on a diet”. “self denial. But is this the intended fruit of the Law? No. the intended fruit is what? compassion. mercy. love.

    Now it is true that the intended fruit simply cannot happen on earth without also having that curb or self denial. This is called “mortification”. On earth the formula for righeousness must be this: mortification+love=righeousness. Another way to say this is that righeousness is when mortification results in love. But note here that mortification , without compassion, is not righeousness. it is something else. it is idolatry. It is sin. it is contrary to Gods Word.

    In the Apology to the confessions, the position of the scholastics was that self denial and self sacrifice and mortification are righeousness whether it produces evidence of love or not. the response of the confessions to this proposal was that this kind of righeousness was no righteousness at all. the proof that it was not righeousness? It was “useless”. why? there was no love being produced for the neighbor!

  • fws

    rob @ 58

    You did me a service by presenting the Pless paper. In that paper Pless approvingly presents the views of Forde on the Law as it relates to homosexuality. If Pless fairly presents Forde, Forde is pretty screwed up on the Law.

    Here is my review.

    The paper that Rob presents is by John Pless, a seminary professor at Concordia. The Paper contrasts the use of Luther quotations by two Lutherans.
    You can find the paper I am reviewing here:
    http://www.ctsfw.edu/Document.Doc?id=307
    He first discusses the writtings of a liberal Lutheran apologist for homosexuality named Edward Schroeder. He claims that Scroeder bases his Theses on Werner Elert, and these views are Gnostic and refuted by Bayer. My opinion is that this analysis is very flawed. At the same time, the arguments of Schroeder , as presented by Pless, are without Confessional support and are contrary to our Confessions. I am not a fan. I would be more than willing to dissect Schroeder at a different time.
    Pless then turns to Fordes writings on the Law as it pertains to homosexuality as the antidote to Schroeder.
    Pless, in passing praises natural law in the aristotelian/aquinan meaning of the term, and not the Lutheran and Confessional meaning of the term to mean merely “reason”. The author also ends up using aquinan/aristotelian arguments at the end of his paper, I am guessing that Pless ends up doing this because the Law always accuses. Fordes views on the Law accuses the conscience! It should shock the conscience actually. Forde says that the Law has nothing to do with compassions in essence! So Pless was therefore not comfortable with letting Forde have the last word for that very reason I suggest.
    Then , around page 13, Pless presents how Gerhart Forde opposes homosexuality.
    Pless does this by presenting an overview of Forde’s ideas of how “the two functions of the Law” relate to homosexuality.
    Pless presents Forde approvingl and seems to embrace his views.
    Now I will here note, in fairness to the sainted Forde, that my comments are on Forde being quoted and interpreted by John Pless. So whereever Pless gets Forde wrong, then so will I.
    I suggest that there is a problem with Forde and a very serious one, at least Forde as presented by Pless.
    Here is the problem , I am suggesting, in a nutshelll: Forde asserts that the Law has only two functions, which are to negatively curb sin, and to reveal/convict of sin and denies that there is any compassion in this process of the Law’s functioning. It appears that he also misses completely that the entire sum of the Law, or intent is to produce fruit! and that fruit is exactly compassion, mercy, and love. So this is scripturally and confessionally fatal to his thesis. And it is a rather direct attack on the Confessions. It ends up being classic antinomianism: It denies the Claim of the Law upon us demanding Love and compassion. So then love and compassion become a function of the Holy gospel.
    Read on and see if you agree dear reader.
    Fordes thesis is that the Law is devoid of compassion. Therefore compassion has no place at all in any discussion of the Law. And he asserts that we must remember this is true when we discuss the Law in terms of sexuality and then homosexuality.
    Now the error in what he says is not immediately clear because he repeatedly uses confessional phrases that , in a different context, must be, and very importantly so…. true.
    So how does Forde go about directing all this at the homosexual question?
    Forde starts building his thesis with a foundational statement in the Lutheran Confessions that is irrefutable. Forde states that
    “the law always accuses” .
    This is such an important statement for the Confessions that they repeat it over and over and over. But then he quickly adds to it logical gloss that shifts the confessional intent of the phrase. Watch.
    From that fact that the Law always accuses, Then Forde draws the conclusion that therefore :
    “the Law offers no compassion.”
    This is true in a very real sense. But this is not true in the sense he means it. He is really saying that the Law has NOTHING to do with compassion. That Forde things this, and how he thinks this is true will be clear as you read on. And this would be wrong. Forde is right in that the Law IS relentless in how it works and that the Law itself offers nothing but death. It is UNforgiving. But he is also wrong here.
    But Forde ignores the fruit of the Law. He ignores also therefore what Jesus says is the entire SUM of the Law. Here is what he really ends up negating: It is also true that the FRUIT of the Law or Works of the Law are what? Love. Mercy. Compassion! Jesus says that the entire SUM of the Law is Love Mercy and Compassion. Jesus says in fact that God intends that the Law produces mercy/compassion and not “sacrifice”. Forde actually seems to be trying to prove that the Law is indeed about sacrifice in the way Christ means that word. He is suggesting that the aim or SUM of the Law is to produce Mortification, or a curbing. The confessions call this “sacrifice” that is no righteousness at all. The small catechism points out that the commandments are only kept by curbing/mortification PLUS love being done. Nothing Less. The confessions call mortification that does not lead to love, ie that does not serve neighbor, “useless” and “idolatrous sacrifice”. So in sum, even though the Law IS unforgiving and relentless and has no compassion in this relentlessness, at the same time, the entire purpose of this relentless Law is exactly and ENTIRELY to produce mercy/compassion out of sinful men! This production of mercy/compassion is in fact the SUM and SUBSTANCE of the Law. This is precisely why St Paul calls the Law “good.”
    Fordes Thesis will be clear as one reads on. This is the rational sylogism that allows Forde to make this, rather amazing statement at the start of his paper on “The Law and Sexual Behavior”:
    “This is an essay about the function of the law as it confronts sexual behavior. Therefore the first thing that needs saying is that this paper cannot be about compassion.”
    He states that this compassion can only be found in Christ:

    “The accusation of the law can only be answered in Christ who was made sin for us.”

    This again is true as to the fact that the Law demands nothing less than capital punishment for even the slightest infraction. And it is again true that Christ is the only escape from this judgement. But it is, again, also true that the accusation of the Law is precisely what drives ALL goodness and mercy that happens on earth and is described in the small catechisms 1st article of the apostles creed. It is true that the accusation of the Law can be answered ONLY by Christ in the Heavenly Kingdom, that is as to our relation to God. It is also completely true that the accusation of the Law can ONLY be answered by doing Good Works in the Earthly Kingdom, that is, in our relation to our neighbor. This is exactly what Luthers sermon on the Two Kingdoms says. This sermon is the basis for the FC art VI as that article itself declares.
    So the Law is exactly what drives ALL goodness and mercy (read compassion) in all we can see and do here on earth. You will see that Forde denies that this is a function of the Law.
    that Forde then seeks to reinforce his thesis that the Law states that The Law has only two uses or functions. Forde states , according to this article, that The law has NO function in making mercy and love happen on earth. It’s only earthly function is as an entirely negative “curb”. The eartly function of the Law is wholy negative and twofold …
    1) “..The law works horizontally to protect and preserve life. It curbs chaos and reigns in outbursts of immorality that would destroy the fabric of human community….It sets limits to sinful and destructive behavior, usually by some sort of persuasion or coercion, ultimately by death itself; and…2) it accuses of sin.”
    Then he adds, correctly. as to the power of the Law that is:
    “That is simply what it does. We have no choice in the matter.. ”
    Forde, correctly , notes, in accord with the Lutheran Confessions, that the earthly use of the Law pertains strictly to behavior. So this would reject natural Law theories I would note:
    “Forde notes that the law does not have to do with so-called “orientation”-which he deems a rather “modern invention that seems particularly pernicious.” [There is no explanation as to why he feels this way in this paper]. Here the law has to do with human actions, with behavior.”

    Then Forde brings his Thesis that the Law has nothing to do with compassion apart from Christ’s sacrifice by redefining antinomianism:

    “Forde sees antinomianism, in whatever form it takes, as an attempt to find some other end for the law other than Christ crucified.”

    So far, so good! This is a very good definition of Antinomianism actually. The problem is that how he describes how this plays out is “libertinism” and not “antinomianism”. See if you agree. Forde then proceeds to redefines the meaning of “antinomian” to describe libertinism or hedonism:

    ” So, for example, in the current debate on homosexuality, he observes that there are those who attempt to change the content of the law. He writes “…when we come up against laws that call our behavior into question we usually attempt by one means or another to erase, discredit, or change the laws. We’ve become antinomians.”

    This is called “libertinism” or “hedonism.” This is not “antinomianism”.

    So what is “antinomian ” then? It is when christians declare that the the Law no longer exists for them or binds them. Note that they do say that it is Christ that is the end of the Law! But the Law, as Forde correctly notes, will not go away. So then what always will happen because the Law won’t go away? This is the problem with Antinomianism, and this is where they do away with Christ as the end of the Law: Christians then start calling what really is Law by the word “Gospel”! This, according to the Lutheran Confessions, is the real danger of Antinomianism. It is not so much that people will go ferrel or libertine on us. It is that the” Gospel” becomes about our doing something rather than alone about Christ. The Law now is called “gospel encouragement” or “gospel reminders” or “Gospel exhortations.”

    So Forde continues…

    “If we don’t like the law we seek to remove or abolish it by exegetical circumlocution, appeals to progress, to genetics, to the authority of ecclesiastical-task force pronouncements, or perhaps just to the assurance that ‘things have changed.”44 But the law will not disappear by exegetical attempts to expunge difficult texts from our hearing, or invocation of the latest scientific research to lessen the claim of Scripture, nor will it be house broken in the name of compassion or tolerance. The law cannot be so easily silenced. We cannot bring and end to the law”

    So what is wrong with his analysis?

    Forde says that the Law has no compassion. This is true. And it is true in the sense that he means. The Law is relentless. It has no compassion. It always accuses. The Law always accuses. And he is right when he says that “this is what the Law does. We have no choice in the matter”.

    But this is the Law. Then there is the fruit of the Law. And the entire SUM of the fulfillment (read intended fruit) of the Law is what? to be curbed? To not do something? Even pagans call this “sacrifice”. as in “go on a diet”. “self denial. But is this the intended fruit of the Law? No. the intended fruit is what? compassion. mercy. love.

    Now it is true that the intended fruit simply cannot happen on earth without also having that curb or self denial. This is called “mortification”. On earth the formula for righeousness must be this: mortification+love=righeousness. Another way to say this is that righeousness is when mortification results in love. But note here that mortification , without compassion, is not righeousness. it is something else. it is idolatry. It is sin. it is contrary to Gods Word.

    In the Apology to the confessions, the position of the scholastics was that self denial and self sacrifice and mortification are righeousness whether it produces evidence of love or not. the response of the confessions to this proposal was that this kind of righeousness was no righteousness at all. the proof that it was not righeousness? It was “useless”. why? there was no love being produced for the neighbor!

  • Steve P.

    Rob,

    It seems clear that Christian charity demands that you denounce Pless as a Southern Baptist spy, confess that Scripture and the Book of Concord tell us that marriage is not what the Fundamentalists and Roman Catholics say it is but is really a pact between two people of the same sex to exclusively have homosex with each other, and admit that orphans should be placed in the care of gentle gay people rather than harsh reactionary Christian families who might abuse them by teaching them medieval notions of morality.

  • Steve P.

    Rob,

    It seems clear that Christian charity demands that you denounce Pless as a Southern Baptist spy, confess that Scripture and the Book of Concord tell us that marriage is not what the Fundamentalists and Roman Catholics say it is but is really a pact between two people of the same sex to exclusively have homosex with each other, and admit that orphans should be placed in the care of gentle gay people rather than harsh reactionary Christian families who might abuse them by teaching them medieval notions of morality.

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen: I don’t know fws’s particular Lutheran affiliation, but I do know that on this very thread you’ve professed your affiliation with confessional Lutheranism and the LCMS specifically. Surely you know that the LCMS explicitly regards homosexual activity as sinful and opposes gay marriage? In other words, Rob isn’t too far off with his earlier note “to the lurkers.” As he said, feel free to dispute the position of the LCMS, but do recognize that yours is not the position of “orthodox” Lutheranism. I have no idea if the LCMS position is derived directly from the Confessions, but you and fws often argue as if your claims are obvious derivations from Lutheran theology. Apparently much of your church doesn’t find your reasoning so patently obvious.

    And no need to feel so offended. Seriously. It’s a blog.

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen: I don’t know fws’s particular Lutheran affiliation, but I do know that on this very thread you’ve professed your affiliation with confessional Lutheranism and the LCMS specifically. Surely you know that the LCMS explicitly regards homosexual activity as sinful and opposes gay marriage? In other words, Rob isn’t too far off with his earlier note “to the lurkers.” As he said, feel free to dispute the position of the LCMS, but do recognize that yours is not the position of “orthodox” Lutheranism. I have no idea if the LCMS position is derived directly from the Confessions, but you and fws often argue as if your claims are obvious derivations from Lutheran theology. Apparently much of your church doesn’t find your reasoning so patently obvious.

    And no need to feel so offended. Seriously. It’s a blog.

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  • Rob

    Interesting, Frank – According to your above argument, the purpose of the Law is not just to reveal sin and lead us to Christ (the two purposes Forde lists) but there is, in fact, a third use of the Law – one that applies only to believers and guides them in righteousness. This third use of the Law is to be seen as proof of Christ’s work. So far, your position above is precisely the position Calvin held.

    Now, here’s where you differ from Calvin. While Calvin believes that the third use of the Law means conformity to all of the Law as revealed in God’s Word as evidence of the Spirit’s work, you hold that the third use of the Law is “to produce fruit”. (citation needed – any Biblical or Confessional texts that talk of “the fruit of the Law”, as you repeatedly did? The only fruit I can think of the Law producing is death. And I’ve got plenty of Biblical and Confessional passages to cite on that. So do you. Your own writings cite them many times) But here’s where the accusation of antinomianism comes in (and sticks, I believe): according to you, the only form of fruit this third use of the Law can produce is love for neighbor (again you ignore the part about “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” – as you have done all along).

    Why the charge of antinomianism then? According to you, the Law that produces love for neighbor is now an abrogated form. Any commandments or instruction for which we cannot perceive an outcome of the neighbor feeling loved are now abandoned. Instead, loving (and thus the entirety of the Law) is defined as whatever makes our neighbor feel loved. There is no behavior which is in itself sin. There is only what makes others feel loved and what makes others not feel loved. You are thus removing portions of the Law which Scripture itself never removed. Ergo, antinomianism.

    So, according to your argument, where can we turn to discern God’s intent? How do we learn this third use of the Law? Not from His Word – it can and does make requirements that, to all human perception, require only mortification but don’t make anyone else feel loved. No, the source of divine guidance is human feelings: do you and I feel loved or not?

    Thus, Pless’ accusation fits perfectly: that this a form of enthusiasm that would make the 16th century Anabaptists blush. You are maintaining that, as believers, it isn’t God’s Word that directs our actions. It isn’t even the inward leading of the Spirit, as the Anabaptists held. It is our neighbor’s feelings.

    Now, if, as your blog and our lengthy back-and-forth via e-mail held, you absolutely reject a Calvinist Third Use of the Law, why does that land you on an Enthusiast Third Use of the Law? Because you want to have your cake and eat it too. The Law accuses your sensual desires. But rather than put them to death, in the daily death of baptism, confession and absolution, and the Lord’s Supper, you instead define the Law down to the parts that feel good. But Christ did not come to remove one iota of the Law, as He himself said. Instead, as Romans 10 says, Christ is the end of the Law, the “telos”. Negate the Law and you negate the Gospel.

  • Rob

    Interesting, Frank – According to your above argument, the purpose of the Law is not just to reveal sin and lead us to Christ (the two purposes Forde lists) but there is, in fact, a third use of the Law – one that applies only to believers and guides them in righteousness. This third use of the Law is to be seen as proof of Christ’s work. So far, your position above is precisely the position Calvin held.

    Now, here’s where you differ from Calvin. While Calvin believes that the third use of the Law means conformity to all of the Law as revealed in God’s Word as evidence of the Spirit’s work, you hold that the third use of the Law is “to produce fruit”. (citation needed – any Biblical or Confessional texts that talk of “the fruit of the Law”, as you repeatedly did? The only fruit I can think of the Law producing is death. And I’ve got plenty of Biblical and Confessional passages to cite on that. So do you. Your own writings cite them many times) But here’s where the accusation of antinomianism comes in (and sticks, I believe): according to you, the only form of fruit this third use of the Law can produce is love for neighbor (again you ignore the part about “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” – as you have done all along).

    Why the charge of antinomianism then? According to you, the Law that produces love for neighbor is now an abrogated form. Any commandments or instruction for which we cannot perceive an outcome of the neighbor feeling loved are now abandoned. Instead, loving (and thus the entirety of the Law) is defined as whatever makes our neighbor feel loved. There is no behavior which is in itself sin. There is only what makes others feel loved and what makes others not feel loved. You are thus removing portions of the Law which Scripture itself never removed. Ergo, antinomianism.

    So, according to your argument, where can we turn to discern God’s intent? How do we learn this third use of the Law? Not from His Word – it can and does make requirements that, to all human perception, require only mortification but don’t make anyone else feel loved. No, the source of divine guidance is human feelings: do you and I feel loved or not?

    Thus, Pless’ accusation fits perfectly: that this a form of enthusiasm that would make the 16th century Anabaptists blush. You are maintaining that, as believers, it isn’t God’s Word that directs our actions. It isn’t even the inward leading of the Spirit, as the Anabaptists held. It is our neighbor’s feelings.

    Now, if, as your blog and our lengthy back-and-forth via e-mail held, you absolutely reject a Calvinist Third Use of the Law, why does that land you on an Enthusiast Third Use of the Law? Because you want to have your cake and eat it too. The Law accuses your sensual desires. But rather than put them to death, in the daily death of baptism, confession and absolution, and the Lord’s Supper, you instead define the Law down to the parts that feel good. But Christ did not come to remove one iota of the Law, as He himself said. Instead, as Romans 10 says, Christ is the end of the Law, the “telos”. Negate the Law and you negate the Gospel.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Stephen, nonexistent studies? Tell you what; look up the “marriage” rates of homosexuals as a percentage of overall homosexuals, and proceed here:

    http://www.family-men.com/Comparing%20The%20Lifestyles%20Of%20Homosexual%20Couples.htm

    Sorry, the fact of the matter is that the data are in, and they do not support the idea that calling homosexual marriages “marriage” tames homosexual promiscuity in any way.

    For that matter, if homosexuals need government help to be chaste (relatively speaking), have they not raised on idol for themselves–and thus are they not demonstrating that what Paul said in the beginning of Romans is true? If homosexuals were convinced of the error of promiscuity, wouldn’t people be clamoring to tame the pride parades, Folsom Street Festival, and such? Wouldn’t the HIV infection rate be plunging? (it’s been steady for over 20 years)

    I’m sorry, Stephen, but what you need is not a marriage license. You need to repent.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Stephen, nonexistent studies? Tell you what; look up the “marriage” rates of homosexuals as a percentage of overall homosexuals, and proceed here:

    http://www.family-men.com/Comparing%20The%20Lifestyles%20Of%20Homosexual%20Couples.htm

    Sorry, the fact of the matter is that the data are in, and they do not support the idea that calling homosexual marriages “marriage” tames homosexual promiscuity in any way.

    For that matter, if homosexuals need government help to be chaste (relatively speaking), have they not raised on idol for themselves–and thus are they not demonstrating that what Paul said in the beginning of Romans is true? If homosexuals were convinced of the error of promiscuity, wouldn’t people be clamoring to tame the pride parades, Folsom Street Festival, and such? Wouldn’t the HIV infection rate be plunging? (it’s been steady for over 20 years)

    I’m sorry, Stephen, but what you need is not a marriage license. You need to repent.

  • Rob

    Stephen – You are still angry that rather than get engaged in lengthy wrangling, I simply pointed out for the benefit of others present that your position does not reflect the historic Lutheran position nor is it reflected in any of the confessional bodies of which I am aware, including your own Synod. As you state it, this has made you feel attacked and I apologize. I was not attacking you, only your theology. I provided an article which gives a scholarly treatment of the topic as a means to back my claims. You dismissed it as argument from authority. Then you say it is incumbent on me to back up my statements. An interesting choice – you demand sources yet refuse to interact with them. When there was a substantive portion of our interchange (the syllogism I presented) you ignored it entirely. As to the article, Frank chose to interact with it. His response and my critique of that response can be seen above.

    There are a lot of things I wish to say in response to your thunderous demeaning of my character and my approach to online dialogue, none of which would be mature or helpful. Perhaps a better route is to explain why I am often constrained to a “fly-by” approach. I have two sons, 5 and 2. Evenings are family time, thus I try not to get too embroiled in any online discussions then. Night-time is the only time that my wife and I have a chance to interact just the two of us. Sometimes my days allow for online reading or writing, sometimes no. Now, this situation would presumably be true for anyone with kids. But there’s a complicating factor: our two-year-old has epilepsy. ER visits and hospital stays are common for our family. I literally never know when I will have to check out for a few days. Thus, I prefer to interact via e-mail, by which means I can guarantee a thoughtful reading and response, even if the response takes a few days. This requires a certain degree of exposure on my part and a certain degree of trust. Some of the subtext of my interactions with Frank is that I do not believe he has honored that trust. You have deemed this cowardly and dishonest. If vitriolic and lengthy online debates are your style, more power to you. I can’t partake – I have neither the time nor the emotional capital to engage in this way.

    For that very reason, I am willing to let my statements above be my final word on the topic for now. I can’t afford, for my family’s sake, to get too worked up about a topic on which I and my Synod are in agreement, and a few commenters on Dr. Veith’s site are not. If this counts as yellow or cutting and running, then so be it: I am a yellow, cut-and-runner. I’ve been called worse.

  • Rob

    Stephen – You are still angry that rather than get engaged in lengthy wrangling, I simply pointed out for the benefit of others present that your position does not reflect the historic Lutheran position nor is it reflected in any of the confessional bodies of which I am aware, including your own Synod. As you state it, this has made you feel attacked and I apologize. I was not attacking you, only your theology. I provided an article which gives a scholarly treatment of the topic as a means to back my claims. You dismissed it as argument from authority. Then you say it is incumbent on me to back up my statements. An interesting choice – you demand sources yet refuse to interact with them. When there was a substantive portion of our interchange (the syllogism I presented) you ignored it entirely. As to the article, Frank chose to interact with it. His response and my critique of that response can be seen above.

    There are a lot of things I wish to say in response to your thunderous demeaning of my character and my approach to online dialogue, none of which would be mature or helpful. Perhaps a better route is to explain why I am often constrained to a “fly-by” approach. I have two sons, 5 and 2. Evenings are family time, thus I try not to get too embroiled in any online discussions then. Night-time is the only time that my wife and I have a chance to interact just the two of us. Sometimes my days allow for online reading or writing, sometimes no. Now, this situation would presumably be true for anyone with kids. But there’s a complicating factor: our two-year-old has epilepsy. ER visits and hospital stays are common for our family. I literally never know when I will have to check out for a few days. Thus, I prefer to interact via e-mail, by which means I can guarantee a thoughtful reading and response, even if the response takes a few days. This requires a certain degree of exposure on my part and a certain degree of trust. Some of the subtext of my interactions with Frank is that I do not believe he has honored that trust. You have deemed this cowardly and dishonest. If vitriolic and lengthy online debates are your style, more power to you. I can’t partake – I have neither the time nor the emotional capital to engage in this way.

    For that very reason, I am willing to let my statements above be my final word on the topic for now. I can’t afford, for my family’s sake, to get too worked up about a topic on which I and my Synod are in agreement, and a few commenters on Dr. Veith’s site are not. If this counts as yellow or cutting and running, then so be it: I am a yellow, cut-and-runner. I’ve been called worse.

  • Stephen

    Rob,

    I truly feel for you and your son. That’s tough, and I don’t pretend to know what that is like.

    My sense of what happened is that you swooped in like a superhero who “just wants to help” and tried to slap a warning label on everything I was saying without making your own argument. You suggested I was a false teacher. That is a pretty strong statement. You did so in front of everyone here, and then suggested we take it elsewhere.

    Now, if you think that is kind or appropriate then you are entitled to that. I don’t. I find it especially rude and demeaning since you didn’t think such a thing was worthy of your time or consideration beyond the accusation. That is what I find unfair, cowardly and manipulative. To add to this, lecturing me about my synod/church affiliation is not your job or anyone else’s on this blog for that matter.

    Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’ll let you know that if you do those kinds of things again, you will get with both barrels. Make an argument. Don’t slam me like that and then say you don’t have time. It’s about boundaries and respect.

    That said, I accept your apology.

  • Stephen

    Rob,

    I truly feel for you and your son. That’s tough, and I don’t pretend to know what that is like.

    My sense of what happened is that you swooped in like a superhero who “just wants to help” and tried to slap a warning label on everything I was saying without making your own argument. You suggested I was a false teacher. That is a pretty strong statement. You did so in front of everyone here, and then suggested we take it elsewhere.

    Now, if you think that is kind or appropriate then you are entitled to that. I don’t. I find it especially rude and demeaning since you didn’t think such a thing was worthy of your time or consideration beyond the accusation. That is what I find unfair, cowardly and manipulative. To add to this, lecturing me about my synod/church affiliation is not your job or anyone else’s on this blog for that matter.

    Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’ll let you know that if you do those kinds of things again, you will get with both barrels. Make an argument. Don’t slam me like that and then say you don’t have time. It’s about boundaries and respect.

    That said, I accept your apology.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus,

    Do you really want to do that too? I know it is “only a blog” but I have recieved the same kind of treatment form, usually in the form of haughty sarcasm and/or some other kind of biting back when you feel unfairly maligned. Should I feel intimidated or afraid that I have an opinion that is contrary to my synod? Don’t you think I know that? That’s about all I get out this attack – “Shame on you for taking something seriously and doing theology from the Lutheran Confessions and Scripture to seek answers.”

    No one has yet been able to answer the question of how it is loving to insist upon gay celibacy, how that is merciful, how it produces love for the neighbor. All there are is diversions about statistics and appeals to Natural Law which is not Confessional. Tell me I’m wrong by making and argument, not an accusation or some other attempt to frighten me into submission. That’s what I’m asking. I’m quite aware that I’m a sinner. So if what I say is sinful, show me from scripture and the Lutheran Confessions which are the witness of the same. So far, I haven’t heard it.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus,

    Do you really want to do that too? I know it is “only a blog” but I have recieved the same kind of treatment form, usually in the form of haughty sarcasm and/or some other kind of biting back when you feel unfairly maligned. Should I feel intimidated or afraid that I have an opinion that is contrary to my synod? Don’t you think I know that? That’s about all I get out this attack – “Shame on you for taking something seriously and doing theology from the Lutheran Confessions and Scripture to seek answers.”

    No one has yet been able to answer the question of how it is loving to insist upon gay celibacy, how that is merciful, how it produces love for the neighbor. All there are is diversions about statistics and appeals to Natural Law which is not Confessional. Tell me I’m wrong by making and argument, not an accusation or some other attempt to frighten me into submission. That’s what I’m asking. I’m quite aware that I’m a sinner. So if what I say is sinful, show me from scripture and the Lutheran Confessions which are the witness of the same. So far, I haven’t heard it.

  • Rob

    Boy, do I ever feel forgiven!

  • Rob

    Boy, do I ever feel forgiven!

  • Rob

    And Stephen – do you ever intend to read Pless’ article, which does all the things you keep insisting you want someone to do?

  • Rob

    And Stephen – do you ever intend to read Pless’ article, which does all the things you keep insisting you want someone to do?

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen: I said nothing of intimidation, but, since you profess devotion to a particular synod with an exceptionally clear position on questions of homosexuality, the burden is upon you to demonstrate the error of your synod. This is a rather onerous burden, I might add: you are a lay person, while, presumably, those who have articulated the position of the LCMS are ministers of the church, theologians, pastors. Maybe, as an Anglican, my thoughts on authority are different from those of an average Lutheran, but one doesn’t lightly question one’s church (and yes, I recognize that the question of homosexuality is being openly debated within Anglicanism at the moment).

    That said, I’m not sure that your question–”how is it loving to insist upon gay celibacy”–is at all the right question. If one regards homosexual activity/sodomy to be sinful, as I do and as your own synod does and as the Scriptures do (arguably, I suppose), then your inquiry is akin to asking how it is loving to forbid an addict from abusing heroin or an alcoholic from drinking beer. Apparently, we differ as to this fundamental question, but I don’t regard it as remotely loving to allow–even to encourage–someone to indulge his particular vices.

  • Cincinnatus

    Stephen: I said nothing of intimidation, but, since you profess devotion to a particular synod with an exceptionally clear position on questions of homosexuality, the burden is upon you to demonstrate the error of your synod. This is a rather onerous burden, I might add: you are a lay person, while, presumably, those who have articulated the position of the LCMS are ministers of the church, theologians, pastors. Maybe, as an Anglican, my thoughts on authority are different from those of an average Lutheran, but one doesn’t lightly question one’s church (and yes, I recognize that the question of homosexuality is being openly debated within Anglicanism at the moment).

    That said, I’m not sure that your question–”how is it loving to insist upon gay celibacy”–is at all the right question. If one regards homosexual activity/sodomy to be sinful, as I do and as your own synod does and as the Scriptures do (arguably, I suppose), then your inquiry is akin to asking how it is loving to forbid an addict from abusing heroin or an alcoholic from drinking beer. Apparently, we differ as to this fundamental question, but I don’t regard it as remotely loving to allow–even to encourage–someone to indulge his particular vices.

  • Steve P.

    Here’s a good question:

    “Should I feel intimidated or afraid that I have an opinion that is contrary to my synod?”

    I don’t know about “intimidated” unless your synod does a lot more radical enforcin’ than one would guess, but who wouldn’t feel afraid of something like that?

  • Steve P.

    Here’s a good question:

    “Should I feel intimidated or afraid that I have an opinion that is contrary to my synod?”

    I don’t know about “intimidated” unless your synod does a lot more radical enforcin’ than one would guess, but who wouldn’t feel afraid of something like that?

  • Larry

    This is simply an example of “the best defense is a good offense”. By changing the subject and generating a discussion on the merits (or in this case, detriments) of monogamy, you take the conversation away from the real issue of gay marriage. Instead of defending themselves, they now place the straight community into a position of defensiveness in the debate. By constantly changing the angle of the argument, we spend all our time debating everything but gay marriage. You don’t have to prove you’re right if you can prove the other person wrong. And by doing so, the implied result is that you must be right by default. So if you can’t do that in the current argument, switch the argument, make the heterosexual community “wrong” in your argument and you get to “win” the debate.

  • Larry

    This is simply an example of “the best defense is a good offense”. By changing the subject and generating a discussion on the merits (or in this case, detriments) of monogamy, you take the conversation away from the real issue of gay marriage. Instead of defending themselves, they now place the straight community into a position of defensiveness in the debate. By constantly changing the angle of the argument, we spend all our time debating everything but gay marriage. You don’t have to prove you’re right if you can prove the other person wrong. And by doing so, the implied result is that you must be right by default. So if you can’t do that in the current argument, switch the argument, make the heterosexual community “wrong” in your argument and you get to “win” the debate.

  • helen

    I have a number of opinions that differ with the CTCR documents and cynical CCM decrees of the last decade because they were written for the acquisition of power. (One or two are wishy washy on the matter of gender and sex.) I don’t feel intimidated because 1. they are wrong and 2. I’m a lay person (woman at that) so there’s not much Synod can do to me, if they even happened to notice.

    The Confessions and Scripture are something else. The elca has an elastic view of Scripture (when it views it at all) and is even more elastic about the Confessions. A couple of people here seem to have the elca’s view. Fine (actually, not so fine) but don’t identify with the lcms.

    Lcms is still working with the elca, in partnerships that originated with predecessor bodies back to WW II when those bodies were Lutheran in fact and not “in name only”. Many of us feel it’s time, for the sake of a clear confession, to divest from those partnerships.

  • helen

    I have a number of opinions that differ with the CTCR documents and cynical CCM decrees of the last decade because they were written for the acquisition of power. (One or two are wishy washy on the matter of gender and sex.) I don’t feel intimidated because 1. they are wrong and 2. I’m a lay person (woman at that) so there’s not much Synod can do to me, if they even happened to notice.

    The Confessions and Scripture are something else. The elca has an elastic view of Scripture (when it views it at all) and is even more elastic about the Confessions. A couple of people here seem to have the elca’s view. Fine (actually, not so fine) but don’t identify with the lcms.

    Lcms is still working with the elca, in partnerships that originated with predecessor bodies back to WW II when those bodies were Lutheran in fact and not “in name only”. Many of us feel it’s time, for the sake of a clear confession, to divest from those partnerships.

  • fws

    rob @ 78

    I do not recongnize a single thing I said in your response to what I said.

    The [Lutheran] third use says that ALL uses/functions of the Law are to be urged about both christian and pagan in the same way, for the same reason, and with the same result. FC art VI.

    Yes, there IS a function of the Law that instructs us AND extorts us for the goal that we are to do compassion and mercy to others that is written in the reason of all men (romans 2:15) .

    “extort” is exactly the word that FC art VI uses to describe this process!

    Are you really trying to assert that calvin or the calvinists believed and believe this? Cmon now!

  • fws

    rob @ 78

    I do not recongnize a single thing I said in your response to what I said.

    The [Lutheran] third use says that ALL uses/functions of the Law are to be urged about both christian and pagan in the same way, for the same reason, and with the same result. FC art VI.

    Yes, there IS a function of the Law that instructs us AND extorts us for the goal that we are to do compassion and mercy to others that is written in the reason of all men (romans 2:15) .

    “extort” is exactly the word that FC art VI uses to describe this process!

    Are you really trying to assert that calvin or the calvinists believed and believe this? Cmon now!

  • Steve P.

    If we’re talking about “consensual adultery,” why is the real issue “gay marriage?” I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just trying to understand how that works.

    I can see some ways in which the two things are related.

  • Steve P.

    If we’re talking about “consensual adultery,” why is the real issue “gay marriage?” I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just trying to understand how that works.

    I can see some ways in which the two things are related.

  • Jeremy

    “If we’re talking about “consensual adultery,” why is the real issue “gay marriage?”

    Because social conservatives understand that they have lost the debate on gay marriage, both politically and rhetorically. They have had to find other issues (polygamy, bestiality, adultery) which they can attack with relative ease, and somehow try to tie gay marriage to these issues.

  • Jeremy

    “If we’re talking about “consensual adultery,” why is the real issue “gay marriage?”

    Because social conservatives understand that they have lost the debate on gay marriage, both politically and rhetorically. They have had to find other issues (polygamy, bestiality, adultery) which they can attack with relative ease, and somehow try to tie gay marriage to these issues.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jeremy@91: Nice potshot/broadside. How come sometimes you say very intelligent things and other times you resemble a troll straight from my local newspaper’s comment boards?

  • Cincinnatus

    Jeremy@91: Nice potshot/broadside. How come sometimes you say very intelligent things and other times you resemble a troll straight from my local newspaper’s comment boards?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Jeremy, the real issue here is gay marriage because Dan Savage makes it exactly that in his article. He is using his lifestyle as a model for what he thinks marriage should be.

    In doing so, he utterly destroys the idea that homosexual “marriage” poses no threat to the real version, because he’s more or less endorsing a version of marriage that is abominably unlike those which heterosexuals generally enjoy. More or less, he’s pushing people towards the only sin that justifies divorce as a means of reducing divorce.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Jeremy, the real issue here is gay marriage because Dan Savage makes it exactly that in his article. He is using his lifestyle as a model for what he thinks marriage should be.

    In doing so, he utterly destroys the idea that homosexual “marriage” poses no threat to the real version, because he’s more or less endorsing a version of marriage that is abominably unlike those which heterosexuals generally enjoy. More or less, he’s pushing people towards the only sin that justifies divorce as a means of reducing divorce.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Because social conservatives understand that they have lost the debate on gay marriage, both politically and rhetorically.”

    This is so detached from reality.

    Every referendum on gay marriage has failed.

    That is the definition of political failure.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Because social conservatives understand that they have lost the debate on gay marriage, both politically and rhetorically.”

    This is so detached from reality.

    Every referendum on gay marriage has failed.

    That is the definition of political failure.

  • DonS

    Ha! sg @ 94, I love the clarity you often bring to a thread! Every referendum on gay marriage has failed. Truth to ponder. It’s another case where the establishment elite presumes the outcome, rams it through the courts, and considers that, once again, it was an inevitable political result. I guess we “lost the debate” on abortion too. Oh, wait ….

  • DonS

    Ha! sg @ 94, I love the clarity you often bring to a thread! Every referendum on gay marriage has failed. Truth to ponder. It’s another case where the establishment elite presumes the outcome, rams it through the courts, and considers that, once again, it was an inevitable political result. I guess we “lost the debate” on abortion too. Oh, wait ….

  • Cincinnatus

    To be fair, gay marriage has been approved by several democratically elected legislatures. Are we prepared to call into question the legitimacy of our legislative forms government?

    (I am, but for other reasons)

  • Cincinnatus

    To be fair, gay marriage has been approved by several democratically elected legislatures. Are we prepared to call into question the legitimacy of our legislative forms government?

    (I am, but for other reasons)

  • DonS

    No, Cincinnatus. Your point is both true, and legitimate. Certainly, there have been significant political victories by the gay lobby, legitimately gained through proper political process in the legislatures of liberal states. But, the notion that traditionalists have politically lost the gay marriage battle is both untrue (or at least premature), and more based on media spin, court decisions, and capitulation by our political “leadership” (such as Obama’s decision to abandon DOMA and California’s decision to not defend Proposition 8) than on any actual political realities.

  • DonS

    No, Cincinnatus. Your point is both true, and legitimate. Certainly, there have been significant political victories by the gay lobby, legitimately gained through proper political process in the legislatures of liberal states. But, the notion that traditionalists have politically lost the gay marriage battle is both untrue (or at least premature), and more based on media spin, court decisions, and capitulation by our political “leadership” (such as Obama’s decision to abandon DOMA and California’s decision to not defend Proposition 8) than on any actual political realities.

  • DonS

    What? How did I manage a smiley emoticon instead of an “8″? I couldn’t do that again if I tried.

  • DonS

    What? How did I manage a smiley emoticon instead of an “8″? I couldn’t do that again if I tried.

  • fws

    larry @ 87 meet jeremy @91!

  • fws

    larry @ 87 meet jeremy @91!

  • http://wistfulwriter.com Wistful Writer

    Hello everyone,

    Firstly, I just want to say that I am glad that there are others who are recognize the implications Dan Savage’s stance on monogamy. I thought that I might be one of the few out there who still believe in fighting urges and exercising willpower in order to better oneself rather than giving in to these so-called “sexual needs” — which aren’t even real ‘needs’.

    I just wanted to share my article with all of you: http://wistfulwriter.com/2011/06/the-dying-american-marriage/
    (I have also written several articles on this trend of veering from monogamy)

    While I do not take any religious stance and do not presume to engage in the hairy debate of the “homosexual agenda”, I do take a moral stance and I hope that you all can contribute to the discussion on my blog: I would like to hear more of your thoughts on the matter, whether it is criticism or support. Regardless of our backgrounds, those of us who still believe in the institution of lifelong monogamous marriage would do well to band together to discuss the state of affairs.

  • http://wistfulwriter.com Wistful Writer

    Hello everyone,

    Firstly, I just want to say that I am glad that there are others who are recognize the implications Dan Savage’s stance on monogamy. I thought that I might be one of the few out there who still believe in fighting urges and exercising willpower in order to better oneself rather than giving in to these so-called “sexual needs” — which aren’t even real ‘needs’.

    I just wanted to share my article with all of you: http://wistfulwriter.com/2011/06/the-dying-american-marriage/
    (I have also written several articles on this trend of veering from monogamy)

    While I do not take any religious stance and do not presume to engage in the hairy debate of the “homosexual agenda”, I do take a moral stance and I hope that you all can contribute to the discussion on my blog: I would like to hear more of your thoughts on the matter, whether it is criticism or support. Regardless of our backgrounds, those of us who still believe in the institution of lifelong monogamous marriage would do well to band together to discuss the state of affairs.


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