Caesar to Church: Knuckle Under to Abortion and Gay “Marriage” or Else

Caesar to Church: Knuckle Under to Abortion and Gay “Marriage” or Else November 15, 2014

Combine this with the story out of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where Christian churches — not merely the for-profit marriage chapel that was initially warned — are being told that they*must* perform same-sex wedding ceremonies or face stiff civil penalties, and it seems the Left is taking off the gloves much sooner than most expected.

California Orders Churches To Fund Abortions—Or Else

The proper response to this is, of course, “Nuts”.

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  • Hugh1

    What does same sex marriage and abortion have to do with each other? As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, abortion is non-negotiable issue. That tenet of the faith is at odds with the practical reality that once “gay”can be detected in the womb, abortion, allowed or not, will be a viable option. The world is a big place and already the abortion of female children is distorting marriage and birth patterns.

    Once you place abortion and same sex marriage on the same plane, then they may erroneously be compared as interchangeable – and they are not. I am not here to play linguistic games, but to make clear what many Catholic authorities in the US are apparently unwilling to do. Gay marriage is akin to divorce on the morality scale – it is absolutely not taking a life, aborting a fetus, or anything of the kind. This talk is foolish talk and dangerous in the extreme.

    In the cases being appealed to the Supreme Court, there a number of gay parents of the “least desirable” of adoptable children – many with developmental problems. If these problems were detectable in the womb, they may have been aborted too. These so called ‘hard to place children’ (near impossible) are at risk and benefit from their gay parents. This is just crazy talk comparing abrtion and same sex marriage and it is time to stop. Act responsibly, like Christ.

    • Elaine S.

      “What does same sex marriage and abortion have to do with each other?”

      I think the answer to that is pretty obvious — they are the two sinful actions that civil governments most frequently try to compel Christian individuals and institutions to perform or to cooperate in. They are mentioned together NOT because they are “equally bad”. If anything it is the cultural Left, not Christians, that place them “on the same plane” as equally important “rights”.

      • Hugh1

        Abortion is never going to be accepted by the Catholic Church. Period. The Hyde amendment prohibits the use of federal funds except in cases of incest and rape (the Catholic Church opposes that exemption). This is an objective fact. Do not even think of saying that I approve of abortion. Further, many gays oppose abortion since the first babies aborted would be gay babies – demonize gays at your own moral risk.

        If you are talking about baking a cake for a gay wedding, no church or religious institution, or their representatives is required to do anything at all, most certainly not to perform same sex marriages. On the other hand, if you are a Catholic and own or work for a business that serves the public, you as a business or individual may not deny services for certain reasons like race, handicap, religion, and ethnicity – or being gay. You might be forced, against your moral compass, to bake a cake. If that makes you think of Christ on the cross, you should reevaluate your life.

        A Catholic promoting false equivalencies between two morally incompatible matters in the public forum is on a fool’s errand.

        • Dave G.

          According to the article, it’s not about baking cakes. It is the next of many steps we were assured would never happen. Not that abortion and homosexuality are the same. But they are both championed by a movement increasingly impatient with those maintaining the right to not conform to its values.

          • Paxton Reis

            I agree Dave G.
            The issue is not moral equivalency, but that those in disagreement with the Church are seeking clubs to wield against the Church so to put her in her place.

        • Cypressclimber

          I absolutely will assert a moral equivalency. See fuller explanation in reply to Jonk a few minutes ago.

      • Kurt 20008

        SSM is sinful? That is one of the stupid lines the politically obsessed Catholic Right presents. Say sodomy is sinful. SSM marriage by itself does not make sodomy a worse sin.

    • Jonk

      Gay marriage, as an intentional perversion of a sacrament, is more akin to a satanic black mass.

      • Hugh1

        Same-sex marriage, divorce, re-marriage, polygamy etc. etc. etc. are not sacraments. Marriages in Mormon, Jewish, and Muslim religious ceremonies are not sacraments. Never have been, never will be. Heretical? Perhaps. But why are you talking about satanic black masses?

      • Cypressclimber

        To be blunt and clear, the Church’s battle over marriage is not primarily or essentially about the sacrament of marriage.

        Not. Not. Not. Not.

        It is about marriage per se, which is prior to the sacrament, and which is about human nature itself. When two atheists (male and female, free to marry and able to give consent, etc.) marry, that is not a sacrament, but it is a true marriage.

        The battle over marriage is absolutely necessary, just like over abortion, but for different (but related) reasons.

        In some ways, the marriage battle is an even more fundamental assault on humanity than abortion, because it goes beyond the destruction of an unborn child to the destruction of the family itself.

        • Hugh1

          “In 2013, as it has been for six consecutive years, more than four in ten births were to unmarried women.” And it gets worse, “Children born to unmarried mothers are more likely to grow up in a single-parent household, experience instable living arrangements, live in poverty, and have socio-emotional problems.” This according to childtrends. And worse yet, 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

          You say that gay marriage (160,000 est.) is undermining the institution of marriage? Blaming societies ills on minority populations is as old as civilization itself, and it never works out well, does it. Try listening to Pope Francis, you my learn something. And please stop rationalizing abortion as less wrong than a secular marriage contract – a same sex marriage is not equivalent to the destruction of an unborn child – not in any way whatsoever. Grow up.

          • In Spiration

            You have failed to understand cypressclimber’s point.Try again. (And this time without the predictable talking points.)

          • Cypressclimber

            “You say that gay marriage (160,000 est.) is undermining the institution of marriage?”

            I said that? Where? When? Please quote me.

      • Kurt 20008

        And what was Ronnie and Nancy’s “wedding?”

  • Jonk

    Look, everybody! Yet another situation where depending on giving extra authority to government has turned out badly. If only there were a group of people opposing the involvement of government in lives and private social interactions.

    On a related note, I’m gonna just leave this here:

    • Kurt 20008

      The government was not given extra authority. PEOPLE were given rights not to be discriminated against in employment, housing and service by for profits businesses. Take away those rights? Bring back segregation?

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Two entirely separate issues, actually, rescinding civil rights and reinstating segregation.

        But as we saw before by your grasp of “blow”…

        • Kurt 20008

          It is the enactment of laws on public accommodations that ended segregation. They are very much related issues.

  • Dan13

    Mark, your linked article only refers to the ordained minsters who run that for-profit chapel in Idaho.

    • It does note that Idaho has no religious exemption for its anti-discrimination ordinance. Then the article notes that the for-profit chapel is not a “religious organization.” So it leads to the common-sense conclusion that the same ordinance might conceivably be used against churches.

      However, I’m not a lawyer, and haven’t read the applicable laws, and don’t know what the higher state protections for religious organizations are. I don’t know if this is a realistic concern for this particular ordinance. I would only say that it seems within the realm of possibility. Unless Mark knows something more, he’s overstating the current situation.

      • Kurt 20008

        The First Amendment protects religious organizations.

  • Sparky

    There is a difference between Civil Law and Religious Rules. Here are some examples
    1 – Divorce is legal Civic Law – yet the catholic church does not recognize divorceor allow those who are divorced to receive sacraments
    2 – Birth – The state recognizes my birth and issues a Birth certificate. As a legal person, I am granted certain legal rights and responsibilities. I have the Option of a religious ceremony called a Baptism. Different religions have different traditions but at no time does the baptism have any impact on my legal status or rights recognized by the state.
    3 – Death – When I die, the state changes my legal status to deceased and there are legal implications which take affect. I have the Option of a religious ceremony called a funeral. Different religions have different rules for which funerals they will conduct and when. At no time does the religious ceremony impact my legal status with the state.
    4 – Marriage – Just like Birth and Death and Divorce,… the state issues a license and changes my legal status with certain legal implications. I have the Option of a religious ceremony officially referred to in many religious documents as a HOLY MATRIMONY…. The error we have made as a country is we have allowed religious groups to “Officiate” on behalf of the state. When a priest says.. “With the power invested in me by the state.. I pronounce you Married”. They are in fact acting as agents of the state. Herein lies the issue. Only in the case of Marriage do we involve Religious ceremony as part of the legal process. Therefore – it makes sense to remove religious officiate as agents of the state – which means no signing of the register or announcements at the end of a ceremony,. Rather We ought to treat Civil Marriage just like birth and death and divorce. This would end all conflict.

    • Boethius

      The words “With the power invested in me by the state.. I pronounce you Married” are not in a Catholic wedding, only on TV…

      • Sparky

        You are totally missing the points
        1. Civil law and religious rules are two very different things. We have many examples where civil law differs from religious rules. Yet there is little noise about the other instances where this happens
        2. The first amendment is very clear. No single religion will dominate our civil laws. We are a nation where all religions co-exist and none dominate our civil law. It is the foundation for freedom and not tyranny
        3. If one is so strongly devoted to violations of there chosen religious belief why are Catholics not fighting equally hard to outlaw divorce? Anything which zeros in on only one particular violation of their religious set of beliefs is nothing short of hypocracy, and discrimination
        4. I will differ with your thoughts on that a catholic priest is not an agent of the state. They are granted permission by the state to conduct marriages which is over and above the ceremony of holy matrimony which is the official term in the catholic sacraments

        Conclusion. If a priest claims to be in conflict with civic laws then they ought not be conducting state business. They are free to conduct holy matrimony but not Legal aspects of marriage. Make it just like a baptism or funeral with no legal connection what so ever. Just like in other countries.

        • Eric

          Are you Catholic?

          • Artistree

            In this weeks “Our Sunday Visitor” ( November 16,2014), in the Law section, there is an article titled “Should the Church abandon civil marriage”. The article raises some issues that are also raised by Sparky’s post. and talks about the pros and cons of the Church abandoning civil marriages.
            If you have access to OSV give it a read; its very interesting.
            The implications would extend beyond Roman Catholics.


            • Eric

              I never said the implications didn’t extend beyond Roman Catholics. I’m very aware of the varying opinions on the topic as well. I find it very interesting.

              I asked if Sparky is Catholic. Is that frowned upon now? If so, I apologize.

              • Artistree

                Hey Eric,
                No it’s fine to ask if one is Catholic. It helps us understand the Faith Tradition background of the posters, so your question is certainly not frowned upon. I’m sorry if my words seemed to imply that.
                I’m an Anglo-Catholic and this topic was brought up at our Synod last year and I found it very interesting to listen in on what the bishops were discussing.

                Blessings of God’s Beauty to you,
                Br. Rodd

    • Evelyn

      The Catholic Church DOES NOT withhold the sacraments from divorced people! (!!!) If a married person commits adultery, s/he is in a state of mortal sin and should not receive the sacraments. It is civil remarriage withOUT benefit of declaration of nullity (adultery in the eyes of the Church), and the sex that goes with it, that creates the situation where a divorced person would cut him/herself off from the sacraments.

      • kmk

        Thank you so much for catching that and stating the truth.

        I think we should have a national (or maybe global!)

        “Clue-in Sunday” wherein every pastor at every Mass gives the basic facts about divorced people who are living chastely or those struggling with whatever attraction who are living chastely or any other category of persons who are living chastely and, really, just reminding all of us about when any of us can receive. It is disheartening (but not surprising, unfortunately) to discover that so many adult Catholics do not know this basic stuff.

      • Kurt 20008

        Here is the issue that needs to be considered. I think you would agree with me that an annulment is not a “Catholic divorce”, right? So a person in a civil remarriage may or may not be committing adultery or bigamy. If the subsequently receive a declaration of nullity, that does not mean that they henceforth are not committing adultery or bigamy, it means they never were. Now, I would say there is a sin there — they did not conform to a juridical procedure of the Church which is necessary for the good order of the Catholic People of God. But that is a different (and probably lesser) sin than those you suggest.

        • Evelyn

          Certainly true, but a marriage is always considered valid until proven otherwise. I would bet my life that the marriage I left was invalid, but I live chastely so as not to give scandal, even though I’m 100% convinced a remarriage would not be adulterous. My only reason for posting was to dispel the far too common notion that divorce itself makes one unfit for the sacraments. Too many people stay away unnecessarily.

          • Kurt 20008

            I understand Evelyn. And your actions to avoid scandal were heroic. But we need to understand that we really don’t know if a person currently lacking a decree of nullity is in a valid marriage or not. And the prayerful discernment of the person might be just as credible as a Church court.
            For me, this is a path that should be considered by the Synod. If an individual is personally convinced of the nullity of their marriage, should they be banned from the sacraments until the Church fully completes a juridical process? And is this question not one of doctrine but of prudence and pastoral care?

            • Evelyn

              That’s a really slippery slope, and as ripe for abuse as the current process.

              • Kurt 20008

                OK. I agree there are prudential reasons to be cautious about this. But wouldn’t you agree that prudence and doctrine are not the same?

                • Evelyn

                  What’s your point? The current process is flawed. It can be abused in both directions. But if it’s turned over to personal conscience, when we already admit that much of the marriage mess is due to poor catechesis, how do we trust those poorly catechized Catholics to have the well-formed conscience necessary to decide whether their failed marriages were valid or not? Especially if it’s in the context of having found another relationship and wanting to remarry? And when you’re talking about mortal sin? I don’t think it’s a reasonable solution to the problem. I don’t like the idea of leaving it up to pastors, either, since they differ so much in their approaches. I think something needs to be done differently for Protestants who married having no idea what Catholic marriage is, and I’d be glad to see the automatic second instance go away, since that just seems to be a meaningless delay. But otherwise, I have no great ideas.
                  BTW, I think the sin involved is not just disobedience, but giving scandal, which is a huge problem. People who don’t know all the details see stuff, and in poorly catechized minds can draw wildly erroneous conclusions.

                  • Kurt 20008

                    Evelyn, we don’t differ much. I agree with you that the issues here are trust and reasonableness, not doctrine.

    • Marthe Lépine

      There is at least one country that I know of that requires 2 different ceremonies for a couple to get married. In France, people have to go first to city hall or whatever other entity in order to get their civil wedding, and then to their churches, if they choose to do so, in order to get married according to their Church laws. To my knowledge, it has been going on for several generations and seems to be considered normal. I find it difficult to understand why the same thing could not be done in the US, and that should mostly solve the problem, or at least simplify it for the time being.

      • It’s not just France. So far as I know, this is a european norm. Americans have two ceremonies as well. They’re just held at the same time because it’s a cheap and easy thing in this country to get the right to do the civil paperwork and most priests have that as a matter of course. When civil marriage strays too far, we will stop having the ceremonies being done at the same time by the same person.

        In my own case, due to the peculiarities of how I met my wife (divine intervention was needed) we went the two ceremonies route in the US and had a JP marry us in civil law in January and the religious ceremony the Sunday after Easter. We celebrate our anniversary in the spring. The civil paperwork is just that, paperwork to keep Caesar happy.

  • A J MacDonald Jr

    Pope Francis told us to stop ‘obsessing’ over gay marriage and abortion.

    • Benjamin2.0

      Indeed. He said to focus on the irrefutable foundational things in light of which abortion and gay “””marriage””” are absurd. Shouting mere conclusions changes no minds. Demonstrating logical irrefutability can do wonders when the opponents are willing to try to make sense rather than make up moral positions out of whole cloth when convenient to their deeply-held preconceived unsupported conclusions which are actually premises. As such, the Pope, being who he is, in my opinion, gives the opposition far too much credit.

  • The Eh’theist

    It is unfortunate that someone who makes such lofty claims for the church in his writing would then attempt to conflate it with a “rent-a-chapel” for the purpose of scoring political points. No church community existed there, no tenets of faith beyond “will that be cash or credit”. In selling a service, the owners made themselves accountable to the non-discrimination law like any other business owner, and in choosing to transform into a non-profit, they then exempted themselves from the law. Plain and simple.

    The California case speaks to equality in employment conditions. By employing people, churches make themselves liable to obey employment law. If religious liberty became an excuse to nullify employment law, at what point would it no longer be a valid excuse? Could someone discriminate based on race, on gender, on caste if they could prove a genuinely held religious belief?

    Can I also deny blood transfusions from basic health care because I am against them for religious reasons? Can I insist on female circumcision? Can I not pay OHSA because “God will provide” for anyone hurt on the job?

    It’s easy to ask for your special consideration, and feel justified, but the reason there are “minimum standards” is because otherwise there would be no standards, and workers would be at the mercy of employers. And claims of devotion to God have not be shown to be mutually exclusive to employee abuse.

    • No church community? Matthew 18:20

      Caesar’s a little late to the party to determine what a church community is. And if they had “no tenets of faith beyond “will that be cash or credit”” then they wouldn’t be refusing the fee, would they?

      I’m sure that as non-Catholics, these ministers and I have plenty to disagree with on theology. But it’s not theology that’s in question, now is it? It’s the dominance of Caesar and his ability to slip the bonds of the Constitution.

      We’re really trying to be tolerant here with the state sanctioning murder. Sorry, I just threw up in my mouth there a bit. But this is the current state of affairs in our view, that the state is sanctioning the murder of the unborn and we do our best to save as many as possible from that horrible fate within the law without cooperating with the commission of evil. It’s sort of a truce that goes part and parcel with accepting the US Constitution and the religious peace promised by the 1st amendment. If employment law obligates us to cooperate in murder the truce is off. This isn’t the first time this issue has come up. It unfortunately will probably not be the last. Do not imagine that you know and understand the shape of the maelstrom that is to come if this multi-century religious peace is broken. Nobody knows and all sides should shudder at the prospect because religiously, we’re set up to have a situation worse than the Yugoslavian wars of succession.

      We are not there yet. I pray that wiser heads will prevail and we never reach that day. But don’t be daft and imagine that this is just about employment law.

      • The Eh’theist

        Caesar is quite competent to determine whether someone has incorporated as a for-profit entity where profits get paid to the owners (perhaps you could show the biblical basis of church ownership and profit sharing). By changing their status, they are no longer subject to the rules that apply to businesses. And surprise, there’s no longer talk of a lawsuit.

        As for your latter point:
        – the state has ruled that abortion doesn’t constitute murder
        – no one is arguing that someone must have an abortion to be employed, or have an abortion as part of a yearly performance review, or have or perform an abortion at all.
        – the state has determined that employees have a right to certain minimal protections, including health care. They are entitled to that care even if:

        1. They seek a blood transfusion and work for a Jehovah’s Witness
        2. They seek psychiatric care and work for a Scientologist
        3. They seek surgery and work for a faith-healing only Pentecostal
        4. They seek an abortion and work for a Catholic

        Unless you can make the case why the Catholic belief about abortion should get a different treatment than the beliefs of these other 3 faiths, then you support denying all of these services to employees.

        (hint: yelling “We think it’s murder” in a louder voice isn’t a case, it’s been tried and found wanting)

        So you are in the situation that first century Christians found themselves in, where laws didn’t automatically accommodate themselves to your beliefs. You have the same options available:
        – Don’t hire people in California, let your churches work with volunteers or independent contractors and avoid any entanglement with the law.
        – Recognize that the law doesn’t compel you to perform or undergo an abortion, and that if your employees are devout members of your faith, they won’t be doing so either, and so the impact for you is moot.
        – Attempt to convince the general population of the rightness of your proposition, and change the laws so that abortion is considered murder.

        Perhaps instead of just quoting Matthew, you might give some thought to how your faith was practiced when it was written, and stop assuming entitlements for Catholicism are unchangeable just “because”.

        So, do you support “religious freedom” and limiting health care in all 4 of the examples I gave above, or do you acknowledge that the state has a responsibility to ensure that people aren’t discriminated against based on the religion of their employer?

        • You persist in coloring within the lines which means you don’t get it. If you start jailing priests, nuns, and monks, there will be a rebellion. Among the well catechized it will be non-violent. I strongly doubt that the discipline will hold among the poorly catechized, though I would wish it so. There are enough Catholics to make the country ungovernable if the left persists on this course. All that need happen to paralyze the judicial system in the US, for example, is to decline to accept plea bargains and to go to trial on every offense.

          Yes, people will get life sentences due to overcharging and it will get ugly.

          Our faith, when it was written, led people to accept death penalties rather than take a pinch of incense and throw it in a fire, an act infinitessimally smaller in both sacrifice and import than laying out a substantial check every pay period in order to fund abortions.

          The state has a number of responsibilities in the structural concept of the Catholic faith, many of which it is significantly derelict in its duty. In other cases it has gone far beyond what is its duty into irrelevancies. In this case it’s expanded into promoting evil and now edging towards forcing us to take part in it.

          • The Eh’theist

            So you offer no reason for us to respect your faith except threats and “nice government you have there, it would be a shame if anything happened to it?” Sorry, that’s not good enough.

            You know that the majority of Catholics in this country don’t share your opinions and wouldn’t back up your threats. You’ll call them cafeteria Catholics or some other cute slur, but at the end of the day you know they don’t have your back and understand reasonable accommodation to ensure a well-run society.

            But before you run off to start your revolution, you might glance at Romans 13:1-7.

            Inconvenient, isn’t it? Paul doesn’t list any exceptions to the rule.

            Now tell me how you are being faithful to all the teachings of the church.

            • sez

              re: Romans 13:1-7: Yes, but “An unjust law is no law at all.” – St. Augustine. No way no how does any thinking believer conclude that obeying Caesar in killing the innocent is OK by St. Paul.

              re: forcing believers to fund abortion: 51% of the population is pro-life, and that number is growing because it is the younger folks who see the damage abortion has done. You know about younger people, right? They have a lot of energy for political issues they care about.

              So it ain’t just Catholics who’ll fight Caesar on this issue. And those Evangelicals and Fundies won’t listen to the Bishops who call for calm and peaceful means of resolving things.

              So, yeah: it could get real ugly.

              • The Eh’theist

                Setting aside the question of whether Augustine is in a position to offer loopholes to the principles laid out in Paul’s writings, I think you’ve answered your own question.

                If you have 51% of support, then use it to change the laws in society (I would agree that you could call on a significant bloc of voters, while disagreeing that a similar large number would be willing to mount the barricades with you) and make this requirement a non-issue. This is one of the solutions I suggested in my previous comment, and I think it is a much healthier approach for society than opening up exceptions to basic treatment of people and protections for workers.

                Do you want to fight? That’s what it is starting to sound like, that it’s no longer about the issue, but about showing strength and power over others. Much like Peter and his swordplay, wouldn’t you reckon?

                If you’ve got the votes, use the votes and this becomes a non-issue. No fighting, no revolution, no bad exceptions to good legal protections for workers.

                • Michaelus

                  “Much like Peter and his swordplay, wouldn’t you reckon?” Yes – yes indeed. Count me in with Peter and that other guy.

                • sez

                  California fought w/Prop 8, but judicial fiat overruled. So they fought again, and were overruled again. Other states also fought gay “marriage”, but were overruled by judges.

                  No, I don’t want to fight. But if we no longer have the representative government we thought we had, then we might have to.

                  Of course, we are working to repeal Roe v. Wade, and we are making progress. But the other side keeps coming up with new laws that push back against our efforts. The OP points to one in California, and we’ve fought something similar in Washington State. Even when the majority of the folks are on our side, we can lose, because the media and the big bucks are on the other side, along with those damned judges.

                  • The Eh’theist

                    We’ve jumped back to marriage equality from abortion, but that’s ok. The society we’ve put in place also has a judiciary to make sure that basic rights don’t get trampled by the self-interests of a majority.

                    With regard to the specific cases, the reasons for banning same-sex couples from being married had never been challenged before so a lot of the arguments that were put forth were *really* bad. The Prop 8 defense, and the cases in Kentucky both come to mind. *Really* bad.

                    So what happened? Supporters of traditional marriage realized their arguments were bad, rethought their objections and produced new arguments. In Puerto Rico and the 6th Circuit these arguments won.

                    Do I find them convincing? No, but they certainly made me think harder than some of the previous arguments. Will they convince more people of your position? I think so. Will they convince SCOTUS? I think they have a fair chance. I hope not, but I honestly don’t know.

                    I would think Catholics would take a longer view of things, given the time frames the church typically works with and its fondness for the story of Athanasius alone amongst the Arians.

                    Society is changing and it’s messy, just like the discarding of slavery and the increased role for women. Views and arguments will conflict, positions and alliances will shift and hopefully we’ll come out with a society that is better for as many people as possible. If not, it will mean more work needs to be done.

                • Yes, Augustine is in a position to offer loopholes to the principles laid out in Paul’s writings. Why wouldn’t you think so? So was Thomas Aquinas, and so are the bishops today because the root of the Bible is the teaching authority of the Church and that authority persists from the garden of Gethsemane to the creation of the biblical canon to today. It cannot be contradictory but it can provide further detail later.

                  • The Eh’theist

                    So you accept Aquinas’ teaching on the Immaculate Conception? And Augustine on the role of prostitution in a Christian society?

                    Contradictory enough for you?

                    Cherry picking their teachings that agree with you shows either (a) they don’t have the authority you claim for them or (b) that you don’t respect that authority as much as you claim. My money is on (a) as you’ll likely be replying that the authority is in the Magisterium rather than the individuals.

                    Since you now feel free to reject some of their teachings as contradicting *the* teaching of the church, then it’s entirely possible that that they contradict Paul as well.

                    • I notice you very carefully stepped over the idea of teaching authority. Sorry, I’m not playing any more until you address that. You want to set aside the question of whether “Augustine is in a position to offer loopholes to the principles laid out in Paul’s writings”. We really aren’t going to get anywhere until that very issue is settled. You don’t want to go there because I suspect answering that makes your position much less tenable and I also suspect you know it.

                      But maybe I’m just overly suspicious. Please, prove me wrong.

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              Who owes you more than a word to the wise that you’re making an error? Go ahead, I have no doubt, like a good American dedicated to a smoothly functioning society you will do whatever it takes to protect it. No different than your bloodthirsty, avaricious, genocidal forefathers.

              I don’t care what happens to this blood drenched whore who birthed you and taught you “right” from “wrong”. Your smooth comfortable system runs, not on oil, but on the blood and tears of the weak and vulnerable. Watching you happily don the oppressor’s cowl is sick making though.

              • The Eh’theist

                I’m sorry if that’s your impression of my reason for making these arguments.

            • If we’re starting from ground zero in the year 2014 and you’re demanding a reason to respect the Catholic faith, let’s cut to the chase, recognize you’re a bigot and just move on.

              The largest single christian denomination, running some of the country’s most extensive systems for caring for the poor, extensive hospital networks, well recognized primary and secondary school systems, having a proud tradition in higher education, with significant contributions throughout the history of this country should already be well known.

              But let me be charitable and assume that you’ve just been living in the backwoods and were unaware of all that. Now you know that the Catholic Church does admirable things. But I do wonder where else your education has been lacking.

              Were you unaware of the long history of government making accommodation for religious objection? Even the Obama administration has grudgingly gotten past that sorry position.

              You’ve referred to Romans 13. Have you heard of Thomas Aquinas and his highly influential analysis of how and when that applies? Are you aware that even in the most slavish of interpretations, this duty to obey doesn’t apply when an authority orders you to actively sin, you know, like when you’re ordered to financially support murder.

              Have you ever heard of the martyrdom of Polycarp? Loyalty to Rome was often expressed by going before a statue of the emperor and throwing a bit of incense on a fire in front of the statue. This was the rule for the whole empire except for the jews. Christians did not gain from that immunity for long. A great many christians died for a refusal to do something a lot less burdensome than write a check to pay for an abortion insurance clause. Polycarp was just one of the famous cases.

              As for “cafeteria Catholics” I don’t know what they will do. I do know that a great many priests will go to jail over the issue as will the episcopacy and the religious. And when little timmy can’t be baptised by a priest or confirmed by a bishop because they’re all in jail, do you really think that the loss of the sacraments will leave even those who disagree with those being jailed unmoved? Perhaps you’re right but I doubt it.

              • The Eh’theist

                I’m sorry, I thought you meant the Catholic church with a long history of abuse of First Nations and other indigenous people, orphans, unwed mothers, Jews, and others. The facilitating of false adoptions, encouraging the execution of heretics by civil authorities and the suppression of free speech and democracy until it became impossible to do so.

                Wait, they’re one and the same.

                Before you tell me that “it wasn’t the church, it was people in the church that did those things” recognize that I’ll give you back the exact same answer for all of the charitable and educational achievements.

                (I’ll pass up the ad hominem on my schoolin’)

                Yes there has been exception made for religious objection, though not typically with regard to basic human rights. As you’ve noted, this hasn’t been universal in all times or all places, so why do you feel entitled to it? Weren’t you told to expect persecution?

                So you also follow Aquinas’ teaching on the Immaculate Conception? Or if he’s wrong about that, why couldn’t he be wrong about his exceptions to what Paul wrote? Did Aquinas advocate the same sort of “revolution” as you were supporting in your previous posts? If not, why should you assume that his words would support your actions?

                So why didn’t Polycarp revolt? Or his mentor John? Or Peter? Or Paul? It seems that your solution to the problem doesn’t exactly line up with those in the church that you claim to follow. Why is that? Might this be a topic for further study on your part?

                If cafeteria Catholics are pushed into open revolt because they can’t schedule a baptism, I’ll kiss your shoes. (Right after reminding them that they can perform a valid, if illicit baptism themselves). I don’t think this will happen.

                I’ve offered several possible productive approaches for Catholics to effect change, but there seems to be a preference for confrontation and conflict. So be it, but at least own up to it being your desire, rather than trying to gild it with devotion to the church.

                • You say “[s]o why didn’t Polycarp revolt?” Are you for real? Of course Polycarp revolted. That’s what he was killed for. I think you are one confused individual about the subject of proper christian rebelliousness. I think you’re also confused as to the way that the US government is organized. Your confusion extends to how fragile that government currently is and how close we are to an Article V convention that will lead us who knows where. It’s a coin flip whether that convention is going to get pulled off with the blessings of DC.

                  Have you seen the legitimacy numbers for american government? Do you really think that when they get around to listing the reasons this experiment in constitutional governance died, they won’t be listing tossing large numbers of religious people in jail for political reasons? Who do you think is going to be writing that list? Demographically 1:4 people on the committee will be cafeteria Catholics and by the luck of the draw possibly much more.

                  Finally, the Church has sinned in the past. News flash, it’s an institution for sinners. John Paul II apologized for sacking Constantinople. This sinfulness and error phenomenon is hardly a recent development. It’s also very human. So do you judge everybody else’s merits by the standard you’ve judged the Church by? If you did, you’d hardly have a kind word to say about anyone on the planet.

            • falstaff77

              “But before you run off to start your revolution, you might glance at Romans 13:1-7.

              Inconvenient, isn’t it? …”

              Is Tony Soprano an authority? Anyone with a gun? Careful, if your response starts with something like “duly appointed…” then you are interpreting the text, an option you would not allow others.

          • Newp Ort

            “If you start jailing priests, nuns, and monks, there will be a rebellion.”

            Are any priests, nuns, or monks performing weddings for pay to people of all faith traditions (or lack thereof) just so long as it’s not same sex?

            • You don’t know much about the Catholic tradition and who does weddings, do you. Of the three listed groups only priests do weddings. All three, however, often get health insurance. I didn’t think I needed to point that out. Sorry about that.

              • Newp Ort

                There’s two issues here (although they are related).

                1. Coeur d’Alene: doesn’t affect the Catholic church, as the Catholic church does not perform for-profit marriages to anyone but gays. So no threat of jailing priests (who, yes are the only ones who perform marriages).

                2. California, where any employer is required to meet certain standards in the healthcare they provide, including things like abortion. I don’t understand why you think anyone will be jailed over this, and your supposition that someone will be imprisoned for life strikes me as ridiculous. An institution refusing to provide the legally required insurance might be fined into nonexistence, but why would anyone be jailed?

                And I suspect that most of these institutions will just knuckle under and provide the required insurance like so many other Catholic institutions already have.

                Anyway, probably half of Catholics won’t give a shit, a large portion will furiously wring their hands, and a tiny amount, or maybe none will “rebel.”

                Just what do you think such a rebellion would look like?

                I am not commenting on the level of injustice here, just your bizarre suppositions.

                ETA: my comment you so sarcastically and/or condescendingly replied to obviously concerned Idaho only. You are either dumb as a rock or were being a dick about it, both likely scenarios

                Further edit. Sorry, my last bit there was petty, uncharitable and stupid. I’d delete it except I don’t want to pretend I didn’t write it. You’re a good guy, TM. I don’t agree with some of what you say, but I shouldn’t be such a strident a-hole about it.

                Been listening to Wormwood again.

                • Something like 10% of charges get dropped in the US. Something about 95% of the rest get pled out. How many people have to just insist on going to trial to make the courts unworkable?

                  You can’t just look at one side of an equation. You have to look at both sides. I actually agree with the thrust of your analysis. The large total numbers of US Catholics mean that even with high dropout rates, you still have a significant effect. I’m estimating that between 1-5% of Catholics who contract health insurance actually take action and stop cooperating as I describe. I think a good 20% of the 90%+ might vote to acquit in the jury room. It would be enough because we have so many judicial emergencies, the confirmation process is about to go really bad for potential persecutors, and prosecutors are out of practice. The Vatican will likely issue diplomatic passports strategically to make further difficulties for overzealous prosecutors and no doubt, some resisters will simply disappear and appear in non-extraditable countries.

                  Most of the time I worry about the other side of this equation, how to keep this creaky system going. I love this country. The theme of this article is that the religious peace written into the US Constitution is breaking down. If it were to do so for real, this is the sort of challenge that would arise in the best case.

                  Don’t even ask what the predominantly Catholic crime gangs would do. That’s just an ugly wild card that the Church doesn’t control but likely would involve themselves in all their poorly catechized, cafeteria catholic glory.

                  Ultimately, I hope dry runs like mine wake people up to the desperate need we have as americans to tend to our religious peace and not let it get that far that my theorizing looks more like an instruction manual than a cautionary tale.

                  • Newp Ort

                    I still don’t understand what you mean about this rebellion. Are you talking about employer-provided healthcare standards or some future worst-case scenario where the church becomes even more persecuted?

                    ETA: I don’t really think they’re being specifically persecuted now so much as they are on the losing side of certain issues because they’re beliefs are out of step with societal change.

                    And maybe I should be saying “we” instead of “they,” since I am Catholic.

                    • I’m talking about a world where the religious peace promised by the 1st amendment and upheld by long practice is violated and the headline at the top is real.

                      Your analysis is not forward looking but within its limits is not inaccurate. I respect Cardinal George’s prognosticating that “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

                      I think that, if we don’t work very hard to avoid it, this will be the US’ fate over the next century.

        • freddy

          I’m not the brightest Catholic crayon in the box, but as you seem a patient and courteous writer, I’ll give answering you a shot. Forgive my bumbling!
          For starters, I agree with you that there are various solutions than given for dealing with the Caesar/Church question regarding funding abortion. For one, I’d really like to see the end of employer-based health care. Catholics can have legitimate disagreements on solutions.
          However, as I understand it, the Church cannot be asked to fund healthcare that includes abortion coverage, even if all employees were to take some sort of oath never to use it, simply for the reason that abortion is wrong. Catholics see a difference, you see, between “legal” and “right/wrong.” For a very poor analogy, it would be like the state deeming it okay to sell liquor to anyone, regardless of age, under the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” and trusting vulnerable consumers to obey the law.
          It seems that your arguments revolve around two main points; religious freedom and authority.
          For the Catholic, all authority comes from God, and no legitimate authority is in opposition to Him. While the Catholic is among the first to acknowledge the legitimacy and even the necessity of the State, he must always compare the workings of the state to what his faith tells him is true, necessary, reasonable, etc. For a Catholic a law, ordinance, or whatever is no true law unless it is in accord with what the faith tells him is true. So a well informed Catholic will oppose abortion, but within the framework of the laws of this country.
          Regarding religious freedom; this is a little tricky and I’m sure to express myself very badly, but as I understand it a Catholic supports religious freedom that does not oppose Catholicism or the freedom of those searching for the truth in religious matters, or the freedom of those religions that do not directly espouse harm to others.
          Sorry for being terribly long-winded, but to take your examples:
          Care for human life trumps religious freedom: blood transfusions, psychiatric care and surgery are proven science which a Jehovah’s Witness, a Scientologist or a faith-healer cannot refuse. These things help humans; according to science and in spite of the law of the land, abortion ends a human life. The Catholic Church, preferring to err on the side of caution in protecting the lives of the weakest and most vulnerable must oppose abortion. In doing so she’s really just following the science.
          Thank you for your patience. The above is just the meanderings of one Catholic peasant!

          • The Eh’theist

            Thanks for considering different solutions. Eliminating employer-based healthcare would eliminate this instance of things, but if the government became the sole payer, then we’d still have the issue of paying taxes and supporting abortion. That could possibly be solved by making it voluntary to contribute to subsidize reproductive health support for women, but it’s likely there would still be some problem.

            I understand your distinctions about right and wrong vs legal, and I also understand the teaching of the Catholic church on the topic. That’s why I laid out a variety of possible solutions. Just as Muslims don’t slaughter pigs for a living and hassidim don’t take work as ballroom dance instructors, avoidance is one way to not transgress the belief that you have. Another is to convince a majority of society that your belief is a good idea. If you believe the story about the abolition of violent games in the Coliseum, Christians accomplished just that in the past.

            What I can’t support is discriminating against some people because of others’ religious beliefs. The 4 examples I gave were all drawn from real situations, and in the case of examples 1-3 they all resulted in the death of the individuals through the actions of the people who imposed their religious beliefs. While the specific examples were of parents, whose beliefs resulted in the deaths of their children, the principle remains: exempting people from standards of safety and care given to others on the basis of a third party’s “religious freedom” isn’t acceptable.

            I very much support your right not to have an abortion, not to perform one, to encourage others not to have one, to encourage others to support laws against abortion, but as long as society legislates standards of care for workers and those standards of care include access to abortion, I don’t accept that religious employers should be able to exempt themselves from that obligation solely on the basis of their belief.

            To support a religious exemption for you means supporting a religious exemption in the other cases I mentioned, and ultimately a host of other scenarios where people’s rights and safety can be infringed on “to please God.” I don’t see that as contributing to overall well-being and to the sort of society that is working to improve conditions for people.

            The early Christians didn’t serve in the army or participate in the senate because it necessitated idolatry. Many Catholic service agencies stopped providing abortion services because of the changes in government regulations. If this is the matter of conscience, there are solutions to enable you to not violate your conscience while you work to convince others and change the laws of society. But without some reason to prefer the Catholic church over other religions, I don’t see a religious exemption as a good solution.

            • freddy

              Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I think we’re coming at this from very different directions. It is only natural for a non-Catholic to view the State as an entity divorced from religion; especially one that espouses freedom of religion. That state, viewed in that way, then must derive it legitimacy from only its whims, as supported by the populace. (Okay, waay simplifying; sorry!)
              For a Catholic, the State derives its legitimacy from God. It only exerts its power properly if it acts in its proper sphere and in accordance with the Catholic idea of justice.
              Now, I agree with you that the best way to work with people is by reason and example. I would much rather live in a society with a few good big laws than thousands of small nit-picky laws. However, the examples you cited (I have been familiar with them for some time — they come up from time to time in discussions of “why belief in some things does not equate belief in others”) do not equate with the Catholic opposition to abortion.

              I do see reason to prefer the Catholic church over other religions, though I understand that’s hard for a non-Catholic to understand. However, it is possible to base religious exemptions on reason and science in service to justice.

              • The Eh’theist

                We are coming at this from different directions. To me the primary difference is that while you see unrestrained Catholic influence on government as a good thing (since you see the Catholic church as having a correct understanding of things which would lead to better government), I don’t accept that claim, and therefore want to limit the role of the church to what can be demonstrated to be beneficial for all citizens.

                I recognize the limitations under which I work-society has and will make mistakes over time, and mistreatment must be identified and corrected.

                I also believe that when the Catholic church has had a dominant impact on countries that bad things have occurred. Pope Paul IV instituted ghettos where Jews were required to live, and this led to restrictions on what jobs could be held and the requirement to wear distinctive clothing and/or markings. Likewise the various massacres of Christians of other faiths, and the mistreatment of First Nations people in residential schools in Canada.

                All of these things took place because the government allowed its policy to be influenced by the Catholic church that claimed the truth of its beliefs as the vindication of its commands. “Because we have the true faith, this act must be carried out to preserve it,” led to a great deal of suffering and misery and death for a great number of people.

                This isn’t only the case for Catholicism, other Christian faiths, Islam, and even non-religious belief systems like eugenics and white supremacy have caused pan and suffering when they’ve influenced government beyond what could be proved to be good for society.

                That’s why I support enshrining protections for people in law and having them enforced by society, to ensure that someone with a “Thus sayeth” can’t harm or persecute those who are excluded by the faith claim.

                That’s why I can support Catholics making the case for changes to the law, but not for exemptions to the law rooted in faith-based rationale. Those rationale have led to great suffering and discrimination. If reason and science can make the case, that’s wonderful, the task of changing minds should be easy.

                If not, then one should recognize that a secular government, while it won’t get everything correct, has been the reason much pain and suffering that was common in the past has been eliminated. And then work to make one’s case even more.

                • freddy

                  Just a couple of thoughts. You seem to disagree with religious exemptions in principle. Would that include allowing the Arapaho to kill bald eagles as part of their religion, or the use of peyote, or exemptions for certain Amish groups from paying social security?
                  You claim that a secular government has been the reason much pain and suffering has been eliminated. I would argue that the secular government has been the cause of more pain and suffering that any in history. Mao’s China, Stalin’s Russia, and Hitler’s Germany come to mind. In fact, the modern secular state was responsible for the bloodbath that was WWI, was it not?

        • Alma Peregrina

          “Unless you can make the case why the Catholic belief about abortion should get a different treatment than the beliefs of these other 3 faiths, then you support denying all of these services to employees.”

          Simple. No. 4 is not a religious claim.

          Abortion is murder, not because God says so, but because human life begins at conception and killing a human life is murder. See? Never called God to answer that. Only my biology and embriology lessons, that say that a human being’s life cycle begins at conception (fact) and that the foetus, newborn and adult person are the same organism (fact).

          Anyone can understand that abortion is murder.
          Atheists can understand that.
          Hypocrates, the pagan, acknowledged that in his oath.

          Want to prove that abortion is not murder? Well, you’ll have to do better than yelling “but the State has legislated it is not”! It’s been tried and found wanting.

          PS: I could also venture to say that abortion is, contrary to the other 3 claims, not healthcare. You’re not healing or preventing any pathology, you’re destroying a human life, and in the majority of cases, terminating a normal, physiological process.

          • The Eh’theist

            Beyond the basic point that not all killing is murder, I’ve noted that those in authority in the US disagree with you at this point in time. So, from a legal standpoint, the burden of proof isn’t mine. While I recognize that you are claiming a non-religious argument, the argument being made for an exemption is under the heading of “religious freedom.” If you don’t think this is a religious issue, please tell that to those who are trying to make it religious.

            If the facts are on your side, and the case is clear-cut and anyone can understand it, then persuade people and bring about change to the laws in question. If you have the law changed so that abortion is no longer considered part of the basic health care mandated to be provided to employees, this becomes a non-issue and the talk about exemptions based on “religious freedom” goes away as well.

            • Benjamin2.0

              If the facts are on your side

              They are.

              and the case is clear-cut and anyone can understand it

              Taking an innocent human life is the definition of murder in all but the most dystopian positivistic Hobbesian nightmare “civilizations.” If murder is a thing with an essence, we can talk about it. If ‘murder’ is just a malleable term subject to the ebb and flow of popular opinion, why bother talking at all? Krigberg nathington frish, Baglibbleston!

              then persuade people and bring about change to the laws in question

              That’s how things are supposed to work, sure. When the people who own just about everything are moon-headed jack-bats without any loyalty to reason or sanity, things don’t work the way they’re supposed to.

              And here we are, killing our infants and marrying roller coasters.

              • The Eh’theist

                Is it *possible* that your arguments may not be getting general support because of how they are being presented and the dismissing of contrary points of view?

                Something to consider.

                • Benjamin2.0

                  If the grounds for dismissal are valid and presented, who cares? It just means the opponents are delusional and can only be manipulated by reasonable men into doing the right thing (think Plato’s Republic). To demonstrate with reason that a thing is worthy of dismissal and dismiss it can not be compared to the dismissal of something which ought not be dismissed. The validity of the points in question is the entire question, and to descend into the madness of putting connotations and feelings first is a muddled distraction leading to our present state.

                  To argue that a point does not get general support because of the pinch of its conclusion rather than its veracity is simply to argue that the wrong kind of men are in charge of general support.

                  Extending to your previous argument, to appeal to the men in charge with reason is worthless when the men in charge are the wrong kind of men, men who put party loyalty and pet Nihilist theories before their obligations to truth. Such men are rightfully the dregs of any society, because a man who can’t order his will to his intellect – who can’t order himself – has no business ordering other men. He is better off being ordered by well-ordered men.

                  A man who avoids murder charges by playing with the definition of ‘murder’ will ultimately be guilty of the same crime. He’ll just have impeded us from talking about it.

                  Either (1) there’s moral truth, or (2) there’s nothing wrong with doing anything. Those who favor abortion reject both statements, somehow, and warrant my dismissal. The law of noncontradiction is the first law of reason. No argument can exist without it. The only necessary refutation of a mere assertion is a mere denial.

            • Alma Peregrina

              You say that we should “persuade people and bring about change to the laws in question”. But we have been doing that. For quite a lot of time, actually. You seem to be overestimating the ability of people to follow facts and clear-cut cases when that infringes on their ideological worldview or takes away something “convenient” from them.

              Arguments, no matter how reasonable they may be, rarely change opinions. Not that I’ll quit making my case, but it’s my experience.

              Now let’s face the problem. You’re right when you say that nowadays the State (and even a majority of people) don’t agree with us. You’re right in saying we should try to change that.

              But while that doesn’t change, abortion is still murder. And we’re faced with the problem that we’re being told to “knuckle under” a mandate to be complicit with it.

              The Church is a religious organization. It’s only natural that She is asking a religious exemption to Her and Her followers.

              So I’ll ask you: if the Church shouldn’t ask a religious exemption, then what should She (or individual catholics for that matter) do to avoid complying with this unjust law? What would a reasonable approach be, according to your terms?

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          You left out an option, and I’m unsure if it is an intentional omission or if it never really occurred to you that we can also engage in widespread civil disobedience on a scale you can’t imagine and that will require your side to have to engage in actions which make Bull Connor look saintly, or otherwise capitulate.

          Frankly, as an Indian, I could care less what your state decrees. I imagine a lot of Catholics will feel that way if you want to treat this as simple employment law.

          • The Eh’theist

            Of course you can do that, and I’ll point you to Romans 13:1-7 just like the other commenter. Threats and attempted extortion show the sense of entitlement that some in the church hold with regard to government affirmation of their beliefs.

            What if the Muslims in Dearborn were to decide to form Sharia Police as they have in the UK and dictate to non-Muslim women in the community where the can travel and what they can wear? Their numbers are such that they could paralyse Dearborn, does this mean that such an act on their part should be embraced?

            What if Southern Baptists in Kentucky wanted to tear down Gethsemani because they felt it offended God? Should the government permit that simply because there are enough of them to make it difficult to stop them?

            While you may have little respect for the law, it still ensures that there are fewer attacks on Indians and less discrimination overall compared to previous eras. To do so, it is applied to everyone, even Mormons who at one time claimed a curse from God on North American Indians. That belief wasn’t considered an acceptable reason for them to attack or persecute Indians even though it was part of their religion.

            That’s why equal application of the law is important.

  • Nuts is the start. If we’re not to end in prison camps, we need quite a bit more. We may end up there anyway but it would be a crime to do so without fully fighting the political game out.

    Every person that earns his bread from Caesar is vulnerable to knuckling under to Caesar, to rationalizing away Caesar’s overreach even when it comes to things much worse than what is on the table today. It doesn’t matter whether the check says pay stub or it says EBT, the psychological dynamic is the same.

    Every person lifted out of welfare, every societal function removed from his orbit drains his supply of people who can be relied on to look the other way while Caesar puts the boot in.

    Caesar makes it oh so convenient to outsource to him the tasks that Christ calls on us to do as a society. Every time we do so, we enlarge the pool of people who are indebted to Caesar and who will be cowed into not resisting if Caesar goes beyond what is right and just.

  • Ben

    Do you have any idea how hurtful the scare quotes you put around marriage are to LGBT persons? How would you like it if someone talked about your own marriage in such hateful, bigoted terms?p

    • Benjamin2.0

      I can’t even tell what’s a serious relativistic sidestep around the very substance of the issue and what’s a parody of relativistic sidestepping around the very substance of the issue. Is the ‘p’ a tongue sticking out of an emoticon face? Is the question mark the eyes, somehow? I’m supposed to be the grand champion of cryptic around here, bizzarro me.

      • sez

        Maybe Ben was just laughing so hard that, you know, the p just happened by accident.

        • Benjamin2.0

          Who can tell? This guy’s a serious threat to my cherished world-championship belt.

          But what’s he gonna’ do, brother, when Benjamania comes down upon him? He’ll have to deal with these five inch pythons.

    • I’m sorry your feelings are hurt, but that will not make me change my mind about what a true marriage is – a bond between a man and a woman. Displeasing people is not synonymous with bigotry.

      • Kurt 20008

        It has nothing to do with what true marriage is. It has to do with serving a partisan political agenda. When did you ever see a conservative Catholic refer to Nancy as Ronald Reagan’s “wife”?

        • I don’t know what very conservative Catholics say.

          I know what teaching, custom and natural law from time out of mind say about marriage. I know what I think and feel about marriage.

          It’s not just what you say it is or I say it is, but what it is.

          • Kurt 20008

            So what to YOU say about Nancy Reagan?

        • entonces_99

          Why shouldn’t “a conservative Catholic refer to Nancy as Ronald Regan’s ‘wife'”? Reagan’s first “marriage” was to Jane Wyman, a divorcee, and was therefore presumptively invalid. His marriage to Nancy Davis would therefore have been perfectly valid.

    • SteveP

      It is pure bigotry to ever equate the coupling of a woman and a man to the whatever two men do; it is pure misogyny for a male who lost his “husband” to demand survivor benefits from the Public Purse; it is pure fiscal ignorance to view a white Manhattanite as oppressed and offer reparations.

  • AquinasMan

    This is really straining at the gnat while swallowing the camel. Yes, let’s vigorously oppose state coercion, meanwhile, a majority of shepherds at the synod were asking us to knuckle under to the homosexual mafia. But I’m supposed to worry about Idaho?

    • Newp Ort

      Nobody said you can’t worry about both.

      • AquinasMan

        Seems like we’re painfully bending over backwards to avoid acknowledging that the problem is not the state, but incredibly influential elements in the Church. So, we’ll not have a post about Cardinal Marx hinting at overturning the non-negotiable, intrinsically evil nature of homosexual relations, but we’ll read about the state of Idaho doing what it’s expected to do — act like a secular organ of government.

        I just don’t think Idaho matters if the world has perceived the Church is ready to come to the table and hammer out a compromise with intrinsic evil. It will soon be law everywhere, and our shepherds will not have our backs. But we’re presented with a discussion about the state as the problem. (wut?)

  • jaybird1951

    I read through the article and did not find any evidence of Mark’s assertion that the town authorities are targeting all churches and not just this for-profit operation.

    • Kurt 20008

      The Idaho case is bogus. This was a for-profit business selling wedding ceremonies in any denomination the buyer was willing to pay for including a completely secular wedding.

      • sez

        It was a shot across the bow. Or “testing the waters”. IOWs: it won’t be the last we’ll hear of this, and we should not ignore it. We’d best take whatever action we can, and prepare for the next blow.

        • Kurt 20008

          What’s the next blow? Fighting for the right of for profit businesses to discriminate on race if they assert a “religious basis”?

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            I get it! It’s a rhetorical device!

            The danger of such devices is leaving an audience assuming you argue in good faith with the distinct impression that your cognitive faculties leave much to be desired.

            • sez

              True dat. He appears to have confused the blower and the blowee.

  • In the Soviet Union under Stalin being a Christian could put you in a gold mine at 50 below, where you might survive for a few weeks if you were very enduring – or in an execution chamber.

    They died and they went into the symbolic underground. They survived and outlived the regime.

    We may have to go and do likewise. What is much more serious is the loss of faith in our posterity. Persecution can be endured, but not senescence and defection.

    • LFM

      When you say “loss of faith in our posterity” do you mean “our loss of faith in our children/future/posterity etc.”? Or do you mean “our posterity’s loss of faith” i.e. the fact that our children may abandon Catholicism? In a sense, I suppose they amount to the same thing, but there is a difference.

      Whichever it is, you may be underestimating posterity. The forcible suppression of Christianity in Japan did not lead to the end of Christianity there: it produced the phenomenon of the “hidden Christians.”

      Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre,
      mod sceal þe mare þe ure maegen lytlað.
      (i.e.”Will shall be the sterner, heart the bolder, spirit the greater as our strength fails.”)


      Alias Clio

  • Sparky

    If catholics are so worried about preserving marriage so as to follow scripture, why is there not an equal fight to out law divorce?

    • Evelyn

      Because divorce is a civil thing that is meaningless to the Church view of a marriage. Discouraging the separation of couples/families by providing resources to strengthen them a prevent divorce, sure. *Outlawing* something that doesn’t exist is pointless. Plus we realize that divorce is sometimes the only way to protect a person who is being abused.

      • jroberts548

        Civil marriage is also a civil thing that is meaningless to the Church’s view of marriage as a sacrament.

        If you cared about divorce as a way of protecting someone who was being abused, you would want divorce from bed and board (as opposed to legal dissolution of the marriage) to be more widely available than it is now, as many (possibly most?) states no longer allow it. I don’t think you’ve made a very honest answer.

        A better answer would be that many Catholics believe that that horse has left the barn, and that fighting over divorce (especially no-fault divorce) is a losing proposition, but they think the next battle can still be won, and that losing it will be worse than having already lost the fight over divorce.

        • Evelyn

          I absolutely care about divorce as protection from abuse, because that was the choice I had to make, and I am very glad that a no-fault divorce was available, because the emotional burden of proving fault would have been unbearable by the time I had the courage and the resources to escape. I’ve given you an honest answer based on personal experience, and I’m not pleased to be have my honesty called into question.

          I’m not sure how I feel about divorce from bed and board, by which I assume you mean “legal separation.” In the case of abuse, that is not enough, because one spouse could still jerk the other one around legally and financially. Beyond that, for a person who is convinced the marriage is invalid, is is necessary to be civilly divorced to pursue a decree of nullity, and of course it is necessary to be divorced before one could remarry civilly or attempt a valid marriage in the Church.

          I wish divorce were not so easy for people who could save their marriage with some degree of effort, but making it too hard to divorce hurts people, too. I do not have a foolproof way to know from outside which marriage is which, and really neither does anyone else.

      • Sparky

        Im confused… I understand that civil divorce and religious vuews differ. Why cant the same be said of civil marriage and holy matrimony just as it is in countries like France? Both marriage and divorce are civil legal statuses. It is the state which confers the license and changes the kegal status. One has the option for the religious holy matrimony service.
        As for abuse and harm, i understand the harm from abuse. What about the harm caused by denying access to the 1148 federal benefits such as funancial treatment of inheritance, spousal benefits, hospital vistation, taxation, family law etc? Why are those harms OK?
        I think too many people are not seeing that we have two different thungs here. Civil marriages which is where legal protectiins are covered and religious holy matrimony which is a religious activity but not a legal activity. Sort of like birth certifucates vs baltism and death certificates vs funerals. If one is fighting to impose religious beliefs into civil law, it stands to reason that they would be fighting equally to out law divorce. Or, is it possibke that catholics woykd be better served to apply the same distinctiins between civil marriage vs holy matrimony?

        • Evelyn

          A lot of the civil benefits are either debatable (the marriage penalty tax) or way too easy to ruin, like retirement stuff. Though I’m told that in the military, if you’ve been married to a soldier for some period of time (10 years?) that even if you divorce, you split the pension 50/50. Hospital visitation? I am not in the least harmed by the fact that my ex is not on that list. Yes, I lost some pretty decent medical insurance, but that’s really the sum total of it.

          • Sparky

            There are other people in this world Aside from yourself. Their situation might be very different than your own. They deserve to decide for themselves which if the 1148 benefits are to their advantage. Why would you actively seek to deny them
            Their rights to determine for themselves which is best for themselves ? Maybe not everyone wants to die alone or not have their family visit them in a hospital ? This issue will have no impact on you what so ever. But will have a significant impact on others .