Catholics don’t like gay marriage in Illinois.

The Illinois legislature is moving rapidly toward marriage equality.  Though this will not alter a single Catholic marriage in any way, the Catholic church is greatly displeased.

Chicago Cardinal Francis George has launched a last-ditch campaign to convince the lame-duck Illinois legislature not to legalize same-sex marriage, saying that government “has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible.”

Impossible, he says!  A guy rising from the dead and walking on water?  That’s totally legit.  Two men falling in love?  Could never happen.

The cardinal and his six auxiliary bishops on Tuesday (Jan. 1) sent a letter to all priests in the Chicago archdiocese that asks parishioners to contact lawmakers to urge them to vote against the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.

Because religious freedom apparently means the freedom to view love and marriage as the Catholic church does.

The showdown is the first test of strength between the Catholic Church and gay marriage advocates since Election Day in November, when voters in three states endorsed same-sex marriage and refused to ban it in a fourth.

Those unprecedented votes were seen as a watershed that reflected rapid changes in the public’s acceptance of gay rights; the Catholic hierarchy and religious conservatives have been trying to figure out how to respond to the shifts.

Because lord knows admitting they might be wrong isn’t an option.

They’ll respond the same way religion has always responded as society begins listening more to compassion than to their religious doctrines: they’ll kick and scream, cry persecution, and eventually change when no other option remains before claiming that their new, slightly less outdated stance was their position all along – in fact, it was Christians/Catholics that helped win equality for the gays!  The fact that opposition to gay rights emanates almost exclusively from the pulpit will be dismissed as a few rotten Scotsman (who didn’t truly understand religion and probably mixed metaphors to boot).

Seriously.  Give it twenty years.

In their letter – and in more extensive remarks in the cardinal’s weekly column – George and the Chicago bishops argue that their opposition to gay marriage is not a political maneuver or an attempt to promote Catholic morality but an effort to oppose attacks on “the common good of society.”

If “good” in their eyes has any relationship to happiness or sadness, rather than just obedience to Catholic dogma, then they should be able to point to some suffering created when gay people are allowed to marry, or in countries where gay marriage has been legalized.  Of course, there is none.  Allowing people to marry who they choose creates only happiness in those individuals (and horror in the minds of people who think the love lives of other people are theirs to control).

The bishops weren’t done.

“Marriage comes to us from nature.

No, sex comes to us from nature.  Marriage is a human construct.

And while marriage doesn’t happen in nature, homosexuality does.

The human species comes in two complementary sexes, male and female.

If you think marriage is all about sex, then you have a very narrow idea of marriage.  And, what’s more, the same sexes are sexually compatible.  There are plenty of videos on the internet that confirm this.

Their sexual union is called marital.

Unless it’s between a priest and a child in their care.  Then it’s called “rape” or, if you’re the Vatican, a “lapse of faith”.

The “sexual union” is called “sex.”  It doesn’t require marriage, and there is much, much more to a marriage than sex.

It not only creates a place of love for two adults but also a home for loving and raising their children.

Which gay people can do.  They can also raise the children that were taken away from their straight parents, in marriages recognized by the Catholic church, who abused them.

It provides the biological basis for personal identity,” the bishops write.

You need to be married to have a personal identity?  So, by that logic, Catholic bishops, nuns, and even the Pope have no personal identity.

News flash: your personal identity doesn’t magically materialize when you slip a ring on the finger of someone of the opposite gender on the way to a very awkward wedding night where both of you learn, for the first time, where the clitoris is – just as god intended.  You don’t get straight married and, all of a sudden, realize that you like strawberries, sunny days, and the color blue.  Your personal identity is yours, and it develops as you grow.  In fact, it is your personal identity that determines if you’re the type who even wants to get married and have kids.

The bishops say that those who oppose same-sex marriage will be cast as “the equivalent of bigots.”

In the same way that ants are cast as insects.

But they argue that they are simply advocating for commonly held moral norms, and note that the church condemns violence or hatred toward gays and lesbians.

Yes, they condemn hatred toward gays and lesbians, but think that they are corrupting to society and shouldn’t be allowed to marry or adopt children.  Somehow that doesn’t register as hate because it’s “commonly held.”  It doesn’t occur to them that the mechanism of hate has nothing to do with how many people do it.

It’s like these people think less before opening their mouths than they do before accepting claims of Jewish guys walking on water.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Loqi

    Illinois Catholics.
    I hate Illinois Catholics.
    *steps on gas*

  • Dan Marshall

    Well, I guess we should just be happy that their definition of marriage is all they’re trying to force down our throats. Since they’re catholics, there are much worse things they could be trying to force down our throats.

  • smrnda

    It does seem that religions make marriage all about ‘penis in vagina,’ while secular people have the perspective to focus on things like love, commitment, and emotional intimacy.

    And yes, sex is from nature, and marriage and all this other stuff are social constucts invented by people which have changed a lot over time and which have always had more than one purpose.

    Just a note – though the Catholic church is pretty adamant about this, at least in terms of the hierarchy, I don’t think the members are really so up in arms over this; I think the major effect this is going to have is to drive more people out of the church who get sick of its anti-GLBT agenda.

  • UsingReason

    “Their sexual union is called marital.”

    I had to laugh at that. Let’s just invent shit to support or asinine argument. So they have marital sex on the marital bed in the marital home. Or did that dude fuck his bed and house?

    • Nate Frein

      They’re not exactly “inventing” this. Paul basically stated that engaging in sex was consummating a marriage, whether or not that marriage was blessed by a priest.

  • Jasper

    1) You don’t find marriage in nature.

    2) What they’re defining marriage in nature would mean that all boyfriends/girlfriends who are casually having sex are now married – a staggering redefinition of the term, even fore them.

    3) Homosexuality occurs in nature, which by their logic, means it’s now valid.

    The argument makes no sense in any way, shape or form.

    • Steve

      Two other things you don’t find in nature:
      1) religion
      2) voluntary celibacy

  • John Horstman

    The human species comes in two complementary sexes, male and female.

    Also a number of intersexed possibilities. Does the church consider them abominations, or what? Nah, just kidding: they’re clearly ignoring reality because it doesn’t match their dogma, or they don’t know a whole lot about the subject, or both.

  • Ken

    The Great Prophet Sergeant Hulka had the correct response to this: “Lighten up, Francis.”

  • Steve

    And in hilarious news:

    A Springfield priest called the police because he was left handcuffed and gagged in the rectory. It is unknown if his lover was male or female.

  • Glodson

    Can I just call these priests assholes? Because they are assholes. It is too bad these assholes don’t like being cast as bigots for holding the bigoted position of assholes.

  • Chakolate

    “Catholics don’t like gay marriage in Illinois.”

    This is misleading. Catholic priests, bishops and the Catholic Church don’t like gay marriage. Fortunately they are vastly outnumbered by Catholics who will approve of this.

    • Anonymous


      • Andrew Kohler

        Or, perhaps, the wheat among the weeds ;-)

  • ah58

    “But they argue that they are simply advocating for commonly held moral norms, and note that the church condemns violence or hatred toward gays and lesbians.”

    Someone needs to tell their Pope that. If the above is true, why did he bless those pushing the “kill the gays” bill in Uganda?

  • Brad1990

    “government has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible.”

    What? What does that even mean? What’s he saying is impossible, homosexuality? Because that clearly is possible. If you don’t believe me, watch the discovery channel. Or go on the internet. Or go clubbing in Brighton. Or is he talking about gay marriage? Because marriage is a human construct, so how can nature have anything to say on the matter whatsoever? That’s equivalent to saying “nature tells us that concrete is impossible”. How utterly moronic. These people need to stop talking out of their arse and just admit that change terrifies them.

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant, JT.
    Your breakdown is concise and beautifully put. The catholic clergy that come out with this dangerous nonsense deserve to be treated as ridiculous, dogmatic clowns. If the silk shoe fits…..