Christians & Gays & Proposition 8

My latest is up at Pajamas Media – my usual deathless pearls about the need for gays to man-up and act like citizens working within the confines of real democracy, and the need for Christians to find a better way to befriend them, and the past-due need for the churches to protect themselves from the litigation we all know is coming their way.

An Excerpt:

The Christians may have unintentionally come off as condescending. We may presume that they would not want a crowd of gays meeting on their curb each week to proselytize. As a Catholic I would take issue with other Christians, no matter how well-intentioned, standing at the curb praying for my redemption based solely upon their knowledge not of me, but of my habits or my religion. Their singing songs for my salvation would come off as sitting in judgment of me. Even if that’s not how they meant it.

That said, the gay community is being rather cowardly in going after praying Christians and the always placid Mormons. People of faith have
certainly made their share of public missteps and that gives some people a sense of justified loathing. But analysis has shown that Proposition 8 passed largely thanks to the Hispanic and African-American voters who turned out for Barack Obama and who, generally, do not support gay marriage. The gay activists — ever politically correct — are not targeting those communities; they’re targeting the churches.

Or, more correctly, those parts of the faith community easiest to hammer, not the storefront churches in disadvantaged neighborhoods and not the mosques.

Please read the whole thing!

UPDATE: A friend, noting that I’ve seriously pissed off a few Christians in the comments section wonders if I should go all Kathleen Parker and embrace a prissy martyrdom. Not me! I’m strong in spirit! And I love mostly everyone. Heh. My intention was never to annoy the Christians, but some of them seem to have either completely misunderstood my point, or they were simply in a hurry to feel insulted. There are people – I am convinced – in every “community” who live to feel insulted and put-upon by others.

The whole point of the piece is to get to that last paragraph, which I think is important. It’s past time for folks to start considering the need for the churches to separate themselves from the having any authority imposed by the government – so that they can exist more freely within the Bill of Rights. It’s about protecting the churches from the reach of gay marriage laws and still exist within their own customs. Some don’t seem to be getting that.

The gays and Christians are acting out. Neither side is taking the time to engage on personal and human levels, possibly because once you do that – once you force yourself to break out of the comfortzone of your own convictions, to hear the other side – more is asked of you, of your reason, of your understanding, of your humanity and your heart. It’s that damned devil, vulnerability, again.

Hot Air has more on all this.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • caite

    Personally, I love “The transitional expression, ‘That said,’”.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    It’s past time for folks to start considering the need for the churches to separate themselves from the having any authority imposed by the government – so that they can exist more freely within the Bill of Rights. It’s about protecting the churches from the reach of gay marriage laws and still exist within their own customs. Some don’t seem to be getting that.

    We are at a cross-roads. Or, if you will, we are standing in the arena. We have two choices — to stand firm in the faith or to turn our backs on the faith.

    Recently, it has been Catholic adoption services being pressured to adopt out to singles and gay couples.
    Today, it is an evangelical dating service – e-Harmony – being compelled to making gay “love connections.”
    Tomorrow, it will be Catholic pharmacists and doctors and hospitals being compelled to dispense abortion drugs and perform abortions or else close down altogether.
    Many will apostacize. Some will stand firm. But we will all have to choose.

  • exhelodrvr

    This is partly in response to this, and partly in response to your recent column on Parker. SO ironic that they choose not to go after Obama, who stated that he thought marriage was for a man and woman, who who has repeatedly stated how important his faith is to him.

    And Anchoress, as a Lutheran, let me say that you are one of the “good” Catholics.

    [LOL - you made me spew my tea onto the screen! Thank you! -admin]

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    It is only in the issue of marriage that church and state have commingled authority. That should perhaps change, and soon. Let the government certify and the churches sanctify according to their rites and sacraments.

    That is an attractive argument, especially the last sentence. But the problem is the use of the word “marriage” in the first sentence.

    “Marriage” is not a malleable concept, “marriage” is not like the word “is.” There is a truth about marriage. And the truth of marriage is that it necessarily involves two types of persons uniting into one, namely, a Man and a Woman. It is not a matter of opinion. It is not a matter of preference. It is not a matter of human invention or reinvention. It is what it is, and that’s all it is. It cannot be something that it is not, and still be what it is. Marriage is the union of a man and woman, and only a man and a woman. Period. Marriage is a truth, not an opinion, even in these dictatorial relativistic times.

    Now, government may very well be able to certify joinders of a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, or men and men and women, but whatever that union might be, it is not, it cannot ever be, “marriage.”

  • lsusportsfan

    “The whole point of the piece is to get to that last paragraph, which I think is important. It’s past time for folks to start considering the need for the churches to separate themselves from the having any authority imposed by the government – so that they can exist more freely within the Bill of Rights. It’s about protecting the churches from the reach of gay marriage laws and still exist within their own customs. Some don’t seem to be getting that.”

    That should be in the discussion I suppose. But I am not sure at all the CHurch is telling us to retreat to the Catecombs for our own personal safety ( a safety I think will be shortlived). Is not the Church in its teaching saying we have to oppose this in society and it is a matter of Social Justice to do so? I am not sure the Catholic repsonse is State of California do whatever you want but if you live us alone we are ok with it.

    [That's precisely right. That's why a discussion must take place about THE LONG VIEW. Gay marriage WILL happen, everything indicates that we're living in a post-Christian, post-faith society. The churches WILL be coming under serious fire and there are going to be a lot of confrontations. I'm talking - initially - about keeping the churches free for as long as possible; it won't be forever. It does make sense, in the short term though, for the state to "certify" a marriage while the church takes care of the sacramental - the things of God - until it gets to the point where, even separated, the secularists try to force themselves on the churches and work to shut them down. We needn't rush into the catacombs, but we DO have to think about both HOW we engage others (if we cannot do it lovingly, then we will not be effective) and how we protect ourselves. If the reactions to my piece are any indications, the Christians are going to have to grow thicker skins, or they won't last through the first wave, which we're experiencing right now. - admin]

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    Posted over at PM –
    I know that this is hard to believe ever since the age of Clinton, but words do mean things.

    But the very fact that the ever-militant gay brown shirts have rejected the attempt at compromise that is known as the “civil union” only goes to show that they are not really interested in gaining legal protections for themselves, they are not about expanding or protecting civil rights — they are only about DESTROYING existing institutions, especially the institutions that are the family and the church.

    It is time that we all saw through the fraud.

  • kelleybee

    Well done as usual, A.

  • Matteo

    Wow, it looks like you ruffled many feathers with that piece. The only thing I’d say is that categorically criticizing the Christians on the street corner is probably not useful. Different situations call for different approaches. Are the Christians supposed to go into the bars and bathhouses to make some new pals and *then* evangelize? Moreover, on the day of Pentecost, the word was proclaimed publicly “on the street corner” as it were. 3000 were added that first day. Should the apostles have instead embarked on a multi-year campaign of dinners and befriendment to add, oh, hopefully maybe eventually 30?

    The Christians on the street corner are doing something brave, necessary, and, yes, on the face of it, insane and annoying. Or perhaps it’s better that we all just get along even if such mildness almost guarantees that many will end up in perdition who might not have otherwise? Do we trust the power of God to act when the truth is publicly proclaimed or don’t we?

    Of course it’s all got to be done prayerfully and with prudence. But what have “low-key stealth tactics” done for the world lately? They are the precise reason we’ve reached this abyss…

    [Matteo, I certainly wouldn't expect the Christians to go into the bars...but setting up a "coffee corner" and inviting gays to come "talk and pray together" would go a lot further, I think, in attracting them to the message of salvation, than standing there basically saying, "we're praying for you that you'll be converted," which rarely goes over well. Again, it's the idea of doing something with love, so that it can be received as non-threatening and respectful. - admin]

  • Matteo

    I could be wrong, but it was my impression that this group was more along the lines of what you’ve just said, and, after having been active there for months, suddenly became a scapegoat/lightning rod for Prop H8 rage…

    It would be interesting to know just what the group had been up to the last few months and how they’ve been presenting themselves. I salute their bravery. I’ve long felt that I’d like to somehow do something apostolic up in the Castro, but I’d genuinely fear for my safety…

    [I didn't get that impression at all. I gathered they were standing in a circle praying out loud for these folks and singing hymns, which is quite different from personal engagement. I try to think in terms of what Mother Teresa or the Sisters of Life would be doing. They'd be serving the community in a non-judgmental way, and gently making the case, by their own examples, for Christ. Don't you think? -admin]

  • Gayle Miller

    Seldom do I agree with Bender. This time I do.

    Either we believe something, or we don’t. I was taught by the nuns to hate the sin and love the sinner and that is what I have always sought to do. I will not, however, compromise my beliefs that there are certain things that are inherently wrong (abortion, marriage between anyone other than a man and a woman, wearing white after Labor Day). Civil unions, if gays are insistent on some “formal” recognition, I suppose I can understand their need for some state-sponsored protections. But MARRIAGE in MY CHURCH – not now, not ever! Sorry – I am a Catholic and my Church has the right to teach the word of God as they perceive it based on 2,000+ years of teaching. And I have the right to believe the word of God as it has been taught to me. And according to our nation’s Bill of Rights – nodamnbody has the right to tell me I cannot. Marriage is a SACRAMENT and is the joining of a man and a woman to live together in a state of grace for the purpose of procreating and continuing the human race. The Catholic Church thus having defined MARRIAGE as a sacrament, has the right to define who may participate in that sacrament. Period.

    And the tactics currently being used to demonstrate the angst of the MINORITY at being forced to accede to the will of the MAJORITY (which is the rule of law in this country in all areas – and thus confers full equality) is just infantile and foolish because quite honestly – it’s pissing off moderately sympathetic people like me.

    ["The Catholic Church thus having defined MARRIAGE as a sacrament, has the right to define who may participate in that sacrament. Period." Gayle, I completely agree. I'm in no way saying that the church should do anything differently or teach differently than it does. In suggesting the separation of "certification" from "sanctification" my point is to try to protect the church from being compelled to perform gay marriages or be sued into collapse. I have no doubt that we're coming up for hard times, and the church cannot be expected to conform to the age. I must be writing this very badly if folks are misunderstanding that! :-)]

  • JohnnyL

    I’ve tuned the gays out on this one as soon as I saw they weren’t being serious about why Prop 8 failed. I imagine quite a few black and latinos were insulted when the Advocate came out with an issue with the headline in bold “Gay…The New Black” as if once we get their problems settled, then everything is hunky-dory in America with regard to civil rights. If I was black I would have voted against prop 8 just based on that headline.

  • Bridey

    I’m not usually entirely on board with Bender either, but he’s right on this time.

    This is not about gay marriage per se, any more than global warming hysteria is about the temperature of the earth (it’s about control, of course).

    This business of placating homosexuals as a top societal priority is about the marginalizing of Christians and, finally, all people of serious faith. Gay people lost precisely nothing with the passage of Proposition 8. The insistence on calling their pairings “marriage” is largely a desire to stick it to the Christians, because we, of course, have the awesome and devastating power to — sometimes — hurt their feelings! How horrifying, to be actually, actively disapproved of!

    (There’s also something weird going on with a need to force everyone to participate in a fantasy of normality that is way beyond my understanding.)

    We may see the true faith driven underground, and even some push to move us all into some state-sanctioned, weasel-wording compromise of a religion that blows with the winds of this world. Actually, given how much Americans love their churches, presenting us with a list of “approved institutions” that toe the line on female clergy, gays, and killing babies — as an alternative to being shunned for sticking with a real church — may very well be one of the steps on the way to a completely secular state. We’ll see.

    [Well, Jesus SAID the world was going to hate us. Of course it does. And this gay marriage issue is part and parcel of that. Of course we're going to be hated and despised and marginalized and suppressed. Scripture all but promises it to us; it's going to be part of the whole gig. Of course there is going to be - as there usually is, in socialist states - a move to placate some by instituting "national" churches, and of course there will be Americans content to worship there. I've always been of the mind that we will - as a remnant - have to eventually go underground. I accept that as the next thing that will happen. As Benedict says, the church may get "smaller" but more fervent; it always does when it become the target of suppression. Seems to me Christians are going to have to do more than get insulted and offended and carry on about their victimhood in the same way that all of the special interest groups do. We Christians are not supposed to join the "Who is the biggest Victim" derby...we're supposed to be ready to be hated for the sake of Christ. I say, gird the loins; it will be get much worse. -admin]

  • s1c

    Tomorrow, it will be Catholic pharmacists and doctors and hospitals being compelled to dispense abortion drugs and perform abortions or else close down altogether.

    I would suggest you check out CT, where the legislature forced St. Francis to provide the morning after pill to rape victims that were sent to the emergency room. This is already happening.

    As for the Gay Marriage / prop 8 shenanigans happening right now in California it calls to mind when CT passed the Civil Unions, I made a comment on gay patriot, (I think) where I said that it seemed that for those who were advocating gay marriage this seemed to be a major victory. I was blasted as a bigot, etc etc. So the reactions of the anti-8′s is not surprising to me.

    Then again, my argument has always been that the state should stay out of the church period and that includes abortion, gay rights, or another other things that the Church would approve or disapprove of in today’s society. My objection to gay marriage is that it should be decided by the people and not by 3-9 people in black robes.

    After all with divorce rates as high as they are in these United States, it is not like heterosexual couples have made “Marriage” the gold standard and just to head off any comments about that, my better half and I just celebrated our 24th early last month.

  • newton

    “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” – 2 Timothy 3:12

    There will be a time when True Christianity becomes a crime, here, in the Land of the First Amendment. Many will lose everything they have, even their own families, for the cause of Christ. Many will lose their freedoms. Some will lose their lives.

    I think the “Lavender Mafia” will not be satisfied until we’re all tied up in dungeons and our children brainwashed into their cult. Their hate is much more powerful than any “love” they profess to have.

    May God protect us all. We’re going to need it.

    “[B]e thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” – Revelation 2:10

    [Rev 2:10 is one of my favorite quotes, I love to ponder it, and one of its deepest mysteries, to me, is this: that even as we are threatened, even as we face the hate, we are called to love, still. That's part of being faithful. We must be faithful to Jesus, but also to his command, which is to love, and to his example, which was to love, and to ask pardon for those who persecute, remembering that they too are merely sheep like the rest of us, lost and in need of a shepherd. That's what keeps us humble. When I think of it, I often remember Corrie and Betsy Ten Boom, especially Betsy, and their father, who suffered in Concentration Camps for daring to save Jews, and who never lost their humility, love or composure to return in kind. We're facing nothing so dramatic or drastic (yet) and yet often we cannot begin to rise to their level of faithfulness. - admin]

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  • Hislittlelamb

    I’m a California voter. This issue was about alot more than the word marriage.

    This will be the third time in recent memory we’ve voted on a proposition only to have it overturned by the State or the Courts. I think a number of voters used it to send a message to our State Supreme Court about just how thrilled we weren’t when they overturned the will of the voters…again.

    It’s also about the divisions that exist in this State between North & South, Inland & Coastal communities, Secular & Christian, Minorities & Priveleged White (which most view gays as being among the priveleged elitists).

    It was mostly about our children. What they are to be taught about marriage in schools. Just a month before the vote a grade school class was taken on a field trip to witness a gay wedding, which was made into a Yes on 8 political ad.

    It was primarily about voicing our concern over all children’s fundamental right to a mommy and a daddy.

    There’s some really good videos explaining how “Marriage Matters to Children” at

    I don’t agree with those christians going to preach into the gay sections of the community while tempers were hot. It almost appeared as though they were trying to incite them by doing so rather than being sincere in preaching the word. There is a time and a season. This was not the time or the season.

    Perhaps a reaching out as in “we love you, we care about you, we’re sorry you are disappointed and hurting and when you’re ready we would like to reach out to you”.

    I have an extended family member who is openly gay. The best approach there was to calmly (a.k.a. non-judgmentally) ask questions with a sincere desire to understand. To pose questions about why it’s necessary to ‘marry’ when civil unions accomplish the same goal. As Elton John put it, “I don’t want to be married. I’m very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership,” John says. “The word ‘marriage,’ I think, puts a lot of people off…You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships.”

  • pendell

    “That’s why a discussion must take place about THE LONG VIEW. Gay marriage WILL happen, everything indicates that we’re living in a post-Christian, post-faith society.”

    Well said. The protestant blogs are talking about this all ready. Google the phrase ‘missional church’. The concept is of a church surviving in a non-Christian hostile society such as exists elsewhere in the world.

    Kind of disappointing because so many of the early colonies — Plymouth, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland — were founded as religious refuges for Puritans, dissenters from the Puritans, Quakers, and Catholics respectively. That’s precisely why we have a First Amendment. Without it, this country would have been one long religious war.

    But it seems that it’s not possible to flee from the world. The world travels along with us. The children of those early religious people have turned their backs on the beliefs of their forefathers, persecuting those who still cling to them.

    Still …

    I’m not *entirely* convinced it’s the church’s destiny to go underground, just yet. The 20s were pretty abandoned also, but twenty years of economic collapse and war brought about the 1950s. Then prosperity came and the whole cycle began again.

    Vice, it seems to me, is a luxury of wealth. Like fat. A person who’s having to run for his life has to get into shape in a hurry.

    Not that our society is experiencing anything like economic collapse or war, of course.

    Doesn’t really matter , does it? Our job is to be faithful through all seasons ,through winter and through summer both. Not to be like Bunyan’s By-ends, who was for religion when it walked through town in silver slippers but contemptuous of it when it was in rags.

    May you be found faithful to the end, Anchoress. I hope the same for myself.


    Brian P.

  • sarahrolph

    It seems to me that the debate over gay marriage is showing us that as a society we have quite a few different ideas of what marriage is.

    Both Ms. Miller and Mr. Rodriguez have given a religious definition of marriage, and seem to be conflating it with the civil definition. (Or perhaps they are saying the civil definition doesn’t matter?)

    I didn’t get married in a church, I got married at an inn, by a justice of the peace. What makes it a legal marriage is the certificate we had to get from the state of New Hampshire.

    Religious marriage ceremonies in the United States do not confer any legal status. Legally, in this country, all marriages are civil marriages.

    The fact that Ms. Miller, Mr. Rodriguez, and many others believe that their marriage is a sacred union is something I respect. And I can certainly understand and respect the belief that this sacred union is far more significant than the mere civil marriages of others such as myself.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t count.

    Civil marriage and religious marriage both exist, and they are two different things.

    Yes, there is a relationship between the two. But it is a complex relationship, and none of us are well served by arguments that ignore the distinction.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    Civil marriage and religious marriage both exist, and they are two different things.

    But marriage is marriage is marriage, whether it is civil or religious. Marriage is a truth, not a relative concept, and, thus, it is not subject to redefinition by government.

    Marriage existed prior to the American judiciary. Marriage existed prior to the the U.S. or state governments. Marriage existed prior to all government. Marriage existed prior to organized civil society. Indeed, marriage, the joining of one man and one woman, who, by their very nature complement each other, with a view toward perpetuating the union by and through children, was the very first civil society.

    Since marriage pre-exists all of these institutions, clearly they did not create marriage, they did not establish marriage. Marriage is a truth that existed prior to all these institutions, and thus cannot be changed or redefined by them. For the sake of public order, government can regulate marriage, just as it can regulate other aspects of life, but it has no authority, other than the authority of tyranny detached from reason, to try to make marriage into something that it is not.

    Whether it is “civil” marriage or “religious” marriage, it is still “marriage,” that is, one man and one woman uniting together as one, just as it has always been, not only throughout the entire history of America, but even before the formation of all civil government everywhere.

    Government (including courts) could just as well declare by fiat that 2 plus 2 equals 5, but that would not make it so.

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