Instead of bashing one another, maybe Christians should unite against the barbarians at the gate.
What the Court says in questions does not necessarily reflect how they will rule.
However, two days’ of questioning concerning Proposition 8, which was heard yesterday and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which was heard today, seems to form a consistent pattern. The justices have remarked twice now on the fact that marriage has always been a state issue.
I don’t know if that’s an indicator of how they will rule, but I sincerely hope so. I think it would be disastrous for the Court to wade into this explosive issue that the states are actually handling through the electoral process with a judicial fiat. There is no reason that I can see for the justices to silence the voice of the people with thunder from the Court.
No one knows, but questions for the justices themselves seem to echo this sentiment. Justice Kennedy questioned whether the Court should be hearing these cases at all. On the other hand, Justice Gader-Ginsberg commented that DOMA reduced gay marriages to “skim milk” marriages.
I honestly don’t know what a “skim milk” marriage would be, but I assume that the question was meant to support gay marriage. I could be wrong, but that’s my guess.
From the Wall Street Journal:
By EVAN PEREZ, BRENT KENDALL and JESS BRAVIN
WASHINGTON—Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday questioned whether the federal government has the right to define marriage, a role traditionally reserved for states, in the second day of Supreme Court arguments on gay marriage.
The comments by Justice Kennedy, seen as holding a key vote on the court, came after several justices sharply challenged the Obama administration’s handling of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Some questioned whether the court should be hearing the case at all.
Former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger tells WSJ’s Jerry Seib that arguments in the Supreme Court suggest justices may be seeking a narrow ruling that clears the paths for state action on gay marriage, rather than a sweeping ruling to settle the issue.
The arguments concluded shortly past noon Wednesday, a day after the justices heard a case on California’s gay-marriage ban.
Former Solicitor General Paul Clement, defending the 1996 federal law, said it merely defines marriage for the purposes of the federal government and doesn’t bind states, regardless of whether they want to approve gay marriage.
Justice Kennedy, however, jumped to express concerns with that argument, questioning whether the federal government was intruding on the states’ territory. He said the Defense of Marriage Act ran the risk of conflicting with states’ role in defining marriage.
Liberal justices joined Justice Kennedy in questioning the law. Justice Elena Kagan said it raised red flags, while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the federal law diminished same-sex marriages to “skim milk” marriages. (Read more here.)
I’ve read that the ancients used to slaughter a goat and study its entrails to try to predict the future. Others made tea and studied how the tea leaves settled to the bottom of the cup for the same purpose.
We all want to know what’s going to happen. We’re smart enough to anticipate, but not prescient enough to know. This human conundrum has kept fortune tellers and sooth sayers of one sort or the other in business for all of human history.
I’m telling you this as a caution. What observers of the Supreme Court think they see in the twitch of a judicial eyebrow or rise of a voice at the end of a question may, in reality, be nothing more than a tic or a frog in the throat. Ditto for the questions the Justices ask. They ask questions for their own reasons, or sometimes I’m sure, for the other justices’ needs. Questions, facial expressions and tones of voice do not Supreme Court rulings make.
Having cautioned you — and myself — with all this, I have to admit that what the press is saying about the Supreme Court hearings on Prop 8 today seems to reflect what I’ve been saying all along: Do they really want to jump in there and take the authority to make this decision on themselves? Would they be pushing the country over a cliff? Wouldn’t it be wiser, more honest, and frankly, more in keeping with the Constitutional authority vested in the Court, to let the people continue to work this out through the electoral process?
After all, it is working.
Tomorrow, the Court will hear arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act. While DOMA is important, Proposition 8 is the big one. The reason I say that is because Prop 8 is the question that opens the door for the Court to take the powers which have heretofore been vested in the states onto itself.
These decisions, and the possible fall-out from them, hang like the Sword of Damocles over this nation. Will the Court be wise and let the people speak, or will it be foolish and thrust this country over the culture war cliff altogether?
From the Chicago Tribune:
It was the first of two days of argument. On Wednesday, the court will consider the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies federal benefits to married same-sex couples. Rulings in both cases are expected by the end of June.
The narrower DOMA case does not give the court the same opportunity to issue a broad ruling because the case relates only to a federal law that limits the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples for the purposes of federal benefits.
Only the California Proposition 8 case gave the court the option of finding a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. Polls show growing support among Americans for gay marriage.
But during the argument, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is considered a swing vote, raised concerns about the court entering “uncharted waters” on an issue that divides the states.
Kennedy even raised the prospect of the court dismissing the case, a relatively unusual move that would leave intact a federal appeals court ruling that had earlier struck down the California law, known as Proposition 8.
In a similar vein, Justice Samuel Alito also urged caution, noting that gay marriage, as a concept, is “newer than cellphones and the Internet.”
None of the justices indicated support for the Obama administration’s favored solution, which would strike down Proposition 8 and require the eight states that already recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships to allow gays and lesbians to marry. (Read more.)
I can’t find it.
Googled and looked at
The only place I can find coverage of the March for Marriage today is on the March for Marriage Facebook page. I took these photos from there to prove that, news blackout or not, it really is happening.
The March for Marriage in Washington DC is tomorrow. Go if you can, pray if you can’t.
For information about the march go here.
The United States Conference of Catholic bishops has issued a call for prayer and fasting for marriage. They also encourage Catholics to attend the March for Marriage tomorrow.
This video discusses what’s at stake.
This is Holy Week.
It is also the week in which the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments on Proposition 8 and DOMA. The potential is there for a major change in the way American law defines marriage. This could have far-reaching effects which none of us can predict for foresee.
What better week to issue a call to prayer than Holy Week? Tuesday is the day we have the Chrism Mass. Priests renew their vows at this mass and the holy oils which will be used throughout the upcoming year are blessed. It’s a beautiful mass and I urge anyone who can to attend.
History is coming at us so fast it’s hard to keep up. But we need to remember that this week, above all weeks, is a time for extra prayer and penance. I don’t want to make too much of it, but it seems poignant that so many points of history are converging on this one week. Proponents of traditional marriage are also staging a march in Washington, DC on Tuesday.
The cross, which defines this week and the life of the world, is not just a point of history. It is history. The cross is the fulcrum of all history. There was the world before the cross and the world after it, which is to say that there was the world without hope and the world without despair. Despair is impossible to anyone who understands the power of the cross.
We suffer in this life. We experience loss, setbacks, pain, loneliness, failure and grief. But we are never without hope because our hope is in the One who died for us on Calvary.
We need to pray this week, and not just for ourselves and our families, but for all the world that this light of Christ will shine in the darkness of the human heart everywhere.
This article, by our brothers and sisters at The Baptist Press, has details of the upcoming arguments before the Supreme Court:
NASHVILLE (BP) — On Tuesday and Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases regarding the issue of same-sex marriage. Few issues rise to this level of importance.
These two cases will do much to answer the question for how marriage is going to be viewed in the United States for the foreseeable future. On Tuesday, the court will hear arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry (Prop. 8). In this case, the court is being asked to decide the fate of Proposition 8 in California. At stake is whether or not the people of California can define marriage in their constitution as only the union of one man and one woman. In a worst-case scenario in deciding Hollingsworth, the court could rule unconstitutional the definition of marriage as only the union of one man and one woman, repudiating two and a quarter centuries of American jurisprudence in which marriage has been defined and regulated by each state, not the federal courts. Every state that has passed such laws would be affected. It would also be going against several millennia of the Judeo-Christian definition of marriage.
On Wednesday, the court will hear arguments in United States v. Windsor. That case deals with the constitutionality of section three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Windsor case creates the possibility that the court could overturn DOMA in its entirety. DOMA is important at many levels. For one, it protects states that do not support same-sex marriage from being required to recognize same-sex marriages that have been performed in states where the practice is legal. For another, it provides a standard definition of marriage for all federal programs, assuring that only heterosexual marriage is recognized across all federal government programs. It also provides protections for federal workers from being forced to violate their consciences regarding marriage. If DOMA is overturned, military chaplains will be especially vulnerable to pressures to accommodate an expanded definition of marriage in their ministries. (Read the rest here.)
I’ve read stories about the use of schools to indoctrinate students against Christianity in the Communist block all my life.
Most of the methods that I read about were crude, but effective. I put the behavior of an associate professor at Florida Atlantic University smack in the middle of crude and overt use of the classroom to attack Christians and Christianity.
Evidently, Dr Deandre Poole wrote the name Jesus on a piece of paper, put it on the floor and told his students to step on it. The point was supposedly to prove something about symbols. One of the students, a Mormon, refused, and was subsequently penalized. When the student protested to the administration, he was suspended from the class.
Public outrage subsequently forced Florida Atlantic University to issue an apology.
“We sincerely apologize for any offense this has caused,” the university said in a prepared statement to Fox News. “Florida Atlantic University respects all religions and welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs.”
Does anyone reading this doubt that this is (1) use of the schools to indoctrinate students against Christianity, (2) overt discrimination against Christians and (3) a lot more common than any of us want to admit?
I could write about the obvious here, but I’m not going to do that. Many of the stories about this focus on the fact that the professor is an official in the Florida Democratic Party. I’m not defending that. But I do think that making it about party politics trivializes the story and avoids a major issue.
I don’t want to explain one more time why this is discrimination. I’m not going to point out that our schools are being used to teach our children to hate Christ. I am not even going to go into one of my major hobby horses, which is the evils of party politics.
What I want to talk about are the students in this class who went along with this professor and stepped on the name of Jesus. Only one of them, a practicing member of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, had the gumption to say “no.” Where were the Catholics? Where were the Southern Baptists? Where were the other kids who should have been saying “no.”
Why did this one young person have to stand for Jesus alone while all the rest of the students went ahead and participated?
If this happened to you, what would you do? What have you done when different versions of it did happen to you?
I’m not writing this to make people feel bad. I am writing this to encourage you — yes, YOU — to not go along with attacks on Our Lord when they happen right in front of you.
That would end it, you know. If Christians stopped allowing it to be done, it would have to stop. All we need is some guts.
This article from WND Education has details, but the story has been covered by many sources, including network news.
Persecution doesn’t begin with violence.
It begins with verbal insult, moves to legal prohibitions, which lead to pushing groups out of the mainstream of society and ends up at violent persecution.
Christians all over the world appear to be somewhere on that continuum. Here in the West, Christians have endured verbal insult for quite some time. This has risen to publicly tolerated hate speech and a media that will not report stories about Christians, however positive, without adding some negative twist to them, even if it’s just the reporter’s opinion.
In the past few years, laws that were enacted for other purposes are being used to force Christians to either violate their faith or limit their activities in public life. At this juncture, these laws are aimed at Christian businesses and Christians in the workplace. I predict they will move to limiting the activities of individual Christians within a few years.
The HHS Mandate is one of the most broad examples of this, attacking as it did the entire Roman Catholic Church in America. It is a blatant attempt to destroy Christianity by using government force to make it abandon its teachings.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull, an elderly couple who live in Cornwall in Great Britain, found themselves embroiled in legal persecution for their beliefs. The Bulls own a bed and breakfast, which is also their home. They have a long-standing policy of not renting rooms to either homosexual couples or to heterosexual couples who are unmarried. They accepted a reservation for a Mr and Mrs Priddy, but when the couple showed up it was two men. The Bulls’ employee who was in charge at that time refused to rent them a room.
Instead of going to another inn, the homosexual couple filed suit. The suit wound its way through the legal system, and the Bulls lost. They were forced under government penalty had to either violate their faith or close their business. Their legal counsel suggested that rather than close their business they should reformulate it as a Christian-only non-profit, which they have opted to do.
Problem solved, right?
I don’t think so.
In fact I view this as a successful next step in Christian persecution. This kind of solution is what i was referring to when I spoke of ghettoizing Christians. The message here — and it appears to be pretty direct — is that practicing Christians must either violate their faith or withdraw from the wider public world into a narrower all-Christian world to protect themselves.
This is legal discrimination of an overt and rather ugly sort. It is also the next step on the continuum toward systematized legal discrimination against Christians in the West.
An article from this is Cornwall describing the situation says in part:
THE CHRISTIAN owners of a Marazion guesthouse who were taken to court after they refused a gay couple a double room will now legally be allowed to turn away unmarried straight and gay couples.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull have changed the status of the Chymorvah guesthouse to a not-for-profit company, allowing them to specify that anyone staying with them should abide by their Bible-based beliefs.
Mr and Mrs Bull, who have run the guesthouse for 27 years, were later ordered to pay £3,600 in damages to the couple and their civil case has been the subject of endless media speculation.
Since then, the guesthouse owners have appealed against the decision in the Court of Appeal, which they lost, and are now set to have the case heard in the Supreme Court.
In the meantime, Mrs Bull said they wanted to be able to continue with their policy of not allowing unmarried heterosexual couples and homosexual couples to share a double bed under their roof.
Mrs Bull said: “The Christian Institute advised us on how to form a limited company, which we were able to do by stating in the articles of the company that anyone coming to stay here would be expected to abide by our Bible-based beliefs.
“When we had the trial, there were a number of local B&Bs who said, ‘we are watching this very closely because we want to be able to say no sometimes’, not necessarily to that particular group of people but just on certain occasions.”
The March for Marriage will be March 26, 2013 in Washington DC. Go here for more details. If you can’t go, maybe you can contribute to the airfare for someone else to go.
Click here throughout the Year of Faith, as the Catholic Channel at Patheos.com invites Catholics of every age and stripe to share what they are gleaning and carrying away from this gift of timely focus.