As Expected, SCOTUS Makes Same Sex “Marriage” Legal

As Expected, SCOTUS Makes Same Sex “Marriage” Legal June 26, 2015

First stage of history complete: What could it hurt?

Now we embark on the second stage of history:  How were we supposed to know?

Gotta love Scalia’s dissent:

If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie. (page 7 (note 22))

Let the Unforeseen Consequences Roll!

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  • BaltimoreAubrey

    As expected, liberal media outlets like The Huffington Post have already labeled the cogent dissents “unhinged.” Rule of law be damned.

    • Vision_From_Afar

      Didn’t know the law precluded dissent. Must’ve missed that part.

      • BaltimoreAubrey

        I think you misunderstood me. It’s the liberals, not I, who are acting like the only reason anyone would dissent from the gay marriage ruling is because he is “unhinged.” They can’t even process the idea that Justices Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia are operating under rational legal frameworks.

    • iamlucky13

      It’s always difficult to deal with people who disagree with you. I experience it myself when I get involved in political debates or apologetic discussions, and I often have to remind myself not to be frustrated by the fact that the other person does not accept what I believe, because the disagreement does not change what the actual truth is.

      However, there is a particular challenge for those who believe absolute moral truths are a heresy, usually seen as an idea that only ever existed to control people.

      They have to be open-minded and willing to listen to other viewpoints, or else they’re ascribing to absolute moral truths that make those other viewpoints less legitimate than their own and therefore undermining their basic view of morality.

      Therefore, if somebody disagrees with them, they need some other basis for rejecting them as wrong than to conclude they contradict fundamental moral truths. The two easiest explanations are that they are wrong because they are not mentally competent (“unhinged”), or they are wrong because they are hateful and base their beliefs on how to prevent those they hate from having better lives (“Love won in court”).

      Sticking with that perspective, you can avoid completely dealing with the question of reason and whether, for example, the 14th amendment logically leads to the conclusion that all forms of relationship between two people are the same as the naturally complementary and ordinarily fruitful marriage between a man and a woman. If the other person tries to address the logical flaws the ruling, their own arguments are tainted by insanity or hate, and you’re justified in refusing to be open-minded towards them.

      Eventually, I’m sure it will progress towards being justified in denying us our own equal treatment under. Thus, since the Catholic Church does not support gay marriage, even though their activities fit within the definition of a non-profit organization under US law, they should be denied non-profit status, which we will eventually find out is only reserved for those groups that are not hateful. We’ll probably even be told the Constitution says so, even though it says no more about non-profit tax status than it does about marriage between two people of the same sex.

  • ManyMoreSpices

    Let the Unforeseen Consequences Roll!

    We’re already in the midst of them. As either Alito or Thomas pointed out, the changing definition of marriage enabled this decision, and this decision empowers further changes. The opinion of the court is nothing if not consistent with the understanding that marriage exists for your personal fulfilment, and for only as long as you feel fulfilled. When you’re not longer fulfilled, then go ahead and eat, pray, and love.

    The dissents contain great summaries of how the definition of marriage changed over time (while always being about opposite-sex relationships) from being about children to being about romantic love. That’s why the opinion of the court states that “marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there.” I mean, it can, but that’s not the essence of marriage. But Kennedy and a majority of the country think that personal fulfilment through a stylized Hollywood version of romantic love is the point of marriage. As a society we decided that decades ago. Once that’s your definition, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to saying that all love is equal.

    • Tweck

      You need romantic love to have a realistic, lasting marriage – and romantic love is a real, actual thing… so it’s about both love and children. Besides, people who can’t have children still marry, legally, in the Church, because they are romantically in love with each other. And love is a blessing from God.

      I’m not defending the decision, just standing up for real romance in a world where for some reason people have jadedly decided that romantic love is hogwash. It’s not. It’s a real, beautiful thing that actually exists and is an important component of a successful relationship.

      • iamlucky13

        What we’re calling “romantic love” should be a part of a lasting marriage, but it does not fall out of the sky like in the movies. Once infatuation has passed, it is the duty of both husband and wife to continue fostering romantic love by willfully and consistently acting for the good of their partner.

        Hollywood gets romantic love wrong. The standard narrative is two people are meant for each other (a very Christian concept up to this point – man and woman were made for each other), and once they meet, this love happens on its own and is indestructible. If love fails, it’s not really the fault of those involved. Either they mistakenly thought they were in love, or they fell for the lie that love is real.

      • ManyMoreSpices

        Romantic love in the sense that Hollywood understands it is not a requirement for a valid Catholic marriage. On a more practical level, I know for a fact that my grandparents do not “love” each other in a romantic sense. They’ve described it at this advanced point in their lives as more philos than eros. It doesn’t make their marriage less real or less permanent. They’ve rounded the 60 pole!

  • captcrisis

    It’s “the pursuit of happiness”. You might have heard of that phrase.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      Not only is that the wrong document, but a document which has never been in force in the United States of America.

      • captcrisis

        A sterile, legalistic point. In fact the DOI has been cited hundreds of times by the U.S. Supreme Court, and that particular phrase (according to my research) in 97 cases. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” means more to the average American than anything in the actual Consitution.

      • iamlucky13

        It is the wrong document, but I do have to quibble about whether or not it is in force, even though it does not mean what captcrisis seems to think it does.

        The Declaration of Independence is and has continuously been in force in the United States since it was promulgated on July 4, 1776. It is the legal act which establishes the United States of America as a lawfully independent sovereign nation, and it has never been rescinded. However, although it references the human right to pursuit of happiness, it neither enacts that right directly, nor directs the nation how to enact it. The Declaration itself actually tells us the nation has no power to enact a right to pursuit of happiness, as it is an “inalienable right” tied to our nature as human beings, rather than a mere legal right.

        Thus, not only is the right to the pursuit of happiness in force in the USA, but the government has no authority to overturn it.

        Yet, the right to happiness is not license for anybody to simply do whatever they want. Almost everyone recognizes that “my right to swing my fist ends at your nose,” but the limits do not end there, as a natural right doesn’t overturn natural law any more so than a legal right does. And natural law, regardless of whether you believe it was written into the hearts of men by God, or is an accident of the evolution of the universe reflects the fact that men and women are different and mutually complementary in a way that enables them to not merely only stimulate each others genitalia in a pleasant way, but procreate other individuals, love them as not only individuals but a shared creation, and raise them in the complementary environment offered by complementary parents.

        Strangely, when somebody is attracted to children, we recognize this is disordered. We point out their attraction is misdirected and we forbid them from acting on that attraction, even when it is mutual and consensual. When somebody is attracted to a person of the same sex, in contrast, rather than pointing out the attraction is misdirected, we praise them, we create a special set of laws for them that are equal to those that assist married men and women living out their lives together, and we even go as far as punishing certain people when they decline to join in the praise.

  • The Eh’theist

    Romans 13:1, since it seems every Catholic and Evangelical got amnesia about that verse mid-morning. You’re picking a fight with the wrong people if it’s true.

    • ManyMoreSpices

      Explain. But if your explanation is “your Bible tells you that everything your government does is just and moral and should never be opposed, even through legitimate democratic processes,” then I encourage you to spend your limited time doing something else that you enjoy.

      • 90Lew90

        “Legitimate democratic processes” don’t figure much in the Bible, as far as I’m aware. I doubt that that’s what the Eh’theist is saying.

        • ManyMoreSpices

          Well someone should tell us what he’s saying. Otherwise it’s just a drive-by potshot that isn’t worth paying attention to.

          • 90Lew90

            It’s pretty obvious that he’s not talking about “legitimate democratic processes” since they don’t figure in the Bible. At all. That just came straight out from under your hat.

            • ManyMoreSpices

              Hat? I don’t wear a hat. That’s more of a Reddit atheist thing, no? The trilby?

              • 90Lew90

                You know exactly what I mean.

                • antigon

                  Well yes, now that you mention it.

            • antigon

              Save where they do of course, such as when the demos demanded of Samuel a king. But we understand your grasp of Biblical matters is as keen as of the plutocracy you worship, not to mention Alexander’s tutor.

        • antigon

          Nor in the United States, where the idea of catamite marriage was repudiated in more than 30 popular referenda, most of those with more than 60% & not a few with more than 80% of the vote, until our plutocracy ruled, once again, that anything contrary to its interests does not constitute ‘legitimate democratic process.’

      • The Eh’theist

        No, that’s not my point at all. My point is simply that for all the pixels being spilled by Evangelicals and Catholics on the topic today; some assigning blame; some making threats,some prophesying doom; some hollering defiantly at the “winners” I’ve seen none of you wrestle with the simple concept that God allowed it to happen.

        You prayed and petitioned and talked about what a grave situation it would be if this happened, and how this must not happen and the prayers and petitions and arguments to God didn’t sway things, and yet there’s none of the challenges such as those written by David in the Psalms; or the questioning as by Job; or even Moses musings on whether God had made the right call. It’s all been directed at other people, who by the nature of your theology were allowed to do these things in spite of your petitions to the contrary.

        That’s the point that Paul was making, that the government, even while doing things that didn’t make sense or were wrong, ultimately was in place through the permissive will of God, and God didn’t find the Romans’ concerns sufficient to make a change in that order. So, if you don’t like today’s result, there are lots of things you can do, but at least some of the effort should be directed at God.

        • ManyMoreSpices

          Thank you for your thorough reply, but you could have saved yourself a lot of time by posting a single word: “Theodicy.”

          Believe it or not, we’ve heard this argument before. You didn’t come up with the idea that bad stuff happens, therefore some Christian claims about God must be false. If you’re looking to change a single mind with an argument that Aquinas addressed back in medieval times, you’ve come to the wrong place.

          • The Eh’theist

            Perhaps you should look at the word “eisegesis” since you’ve twice now interpolated meaning into my statements that wasn’t my intent. While I do think a large number of Christian claims about God are false, that wasn’t the point of what I wrote.

            My point was simply that a balanced Christian response to this event would also do some questioning of God in this situation. You are no doubt aware of several examples in Scripture of individuals who did this who went on to reflection on their entire situation and a changed perspective on things. If your preference instead is to emulate Jonah or Elijah in the wilderness, so be it. Both lost their perspective and became upset by circumstances, and both were later shown that things weren’t as bad as they had thought.

            • ManyMoreSpices

              Is there a word that evangelical atheists love more than “interpolated”? As in “Jesus didn’t exist because that stuff in Josephus was interpolated.” Heh.

              Anyway… I’m not the only one who failed to suss out your actual purpose in making an opaque reference to a verse that is almost exclusively cited by Christians to encourage obedience to civil authority. At least two other people went with the “suck it, Christians, your Bible tells you to respect the Supreme Court” interpretation. I now understand your point to be that we should question/ponder/pray when bad stuff happens. That’s fine, but Romans 13:1 is an odd vehicle for that message. It’s not wrong – you can build that reflection off of it when the bad stuff comes at the hands of the government – but that isn’t the primary message of that verse, especially when presented in isolation. In particular it’s hard to find that message in a reference to that verse when the social media air is thick with same-sex marriage triumphalism.

              So yeah, reflection on God’s will is always a good idea, and it’s a component of dealing with bad things that happen. But I think you may be asking for a bit much in the way of reflection mere hours from an event, when everyone is still picking apart what happened and why.

              • The Eh’theist

                Yes interpolate is a word that gets trotted out a lot, although I think it worked in this context. You didn’t totally discard my original thought, just added to it, so I didn’t want to accuse you of lying or something similar.

                The reason I chose Romans is that it clearly shows Paul telling a church that when the authorities are doing something they think is wrong, that they need to remember that God is allowing it to happen. For the last 2 weeks I’ve been treated to stories of prayer vigils and fasting and other similar attempts to move God’s hand on this, yet the output today focused entirely on other people.

                I agree that I should keep quiet if people are reflecting and picking apart what happened. But many of the commentators aren’t doing that. They’re saying things like “tyranny must be stopped” and “marriage has been destroyed” and our own host even foretold a Nietzschean cataclysm resulting from the decision when it was less than 6 hours old.

                It’s language that isn’t helpful that will be preserved by the Internet as time passes and people want to take other approaches to relating to those they disagree with. The statement by Archbishop Kurtz for example will likely always poison the well in future discussions since there’s no possible charitable interpretation for it.

                While I know it likely matters little in giving my words any consideration, I’ve got 10 years’ experience on you with this, and there are a number of people here, some Catholic and some not, who said things during the legalization process that they’ve had to live with since then.

                I’m not talking about doctrine, there are still lots of people here who believe marriage equality is wrong, but they didn’t engage in apocalyptic hyperbole, imputation of evil motives or discriminatory comments above and beyond doctrine, and so don’t have regrets today. That’s why I’m suggesting diverting some of the energy to questioning God rather than immediately pouring it out on others.

                Your church has a tradition of questioning from some of the mystics to Mother Teresa, and as you said, once you’ve had a chance to pick through and reflect, there might be some relief that certain thoughts weren’t shared in the immediate aftermath. My thought was you might take the advice better from Paul than from me. And with that I’ll let the matter rest. Have a good weekend.

                • antigon

                  Mr. Theist:
                  *
                  A shame you’re being tendentious here, since one can’t but agree this recent plutocratic proclamation ought, among other things, to provoke deeper reflection upon God’s displeasure with the manifest Clericalist corruption of the Faith in recent decades, & the too often supine response of the Faithful.
                  *
                  But as Archbishop Kurtz’s statement was as civil as it was a forthright expression of the Faith, one can’t but assume that by unhelpful language & discriminatory comments, you really mean any serious resistance to plutocratic power.
                  *
                  You have a point about the Internet, however, if – not that of course any such thing is remotely possible of course – the plutocracy grows impatient with, whatever its hint of menace, your velvet glove approach to insufficient deference.

                • ManyMoreSpices

                  I agree that I should keep quiet if people are reflecting and picking apart what happened.

                  I’m not going to tell you to shut up. Your participation (and mine) in these discussions is at the discretion of our host. And as a general matter, the fact that you are not a Christian has little effect on whether I think you’re worth engaging with on a discussion of Christianity. I don’t usually find those conversations interesting because, in my experience, atheists are equipped to discuss a generalized American Christianity – basically the mean of its denominations – but not Catholicism.

                  This is not to say that you don’t know a lot about Catholicism; I have no idea. What you’re not going to get, though, is the benefit of the doubt that you’ve come here in good faith. Perhaps that’s a failure of charity on our part, but as I said in another sub-thread, when an atheist shows up in these discussions, before long the conversation goes to “God isn’t real.” (It’s sort of like Godwin’s Law, with “God isn’t real” in place of Nazis). So I would counsel that when you’ve come in good faith, starting with something other than dropping a single verse along with an accusation of amnesia is a good choice. Otherwise you’re quickly lumped in with this guy who’s just here to gloat.

                  What’s the “ten years” thing?

    • freddy

      (sigh)
      .
      1. Catholics don’t “prooftext.” We understand scripture in several senses, only one of which is literal.
      2. Legitimate authority has always been understood by Catholics as requiring obedience only in those things which are in its proper sphere, and which are also not in contradiction to right reason (either natural law or Church teaching).
      .
      I doubt I’m explaining this very well. Other readers can surely do a better job than I can!

      • 90Lew90

        That would be fine if Catholic natural-law theory was at all credible.

        • antigon

          Fine, then.

        • orual’s kindred

          I take note of your opinion regarding Catholic teaching on natural law. I doubt, however, that that is what The Eh’theist is saying.

        • JM1001

          Typically, when one argues against something, they present an actual argument, not some question-begging assertion.

          • 90Lew90

            At the very — very — least, it would take 2,500-3,000 words to write why catholic natural law is bunk. And I strongly suspect that would be a waste of time and energy. I don’t urinate in the wind. The swiftest way I can put it is that it’s not original to Catholicism, relies heavily on Aristotle, and Aristotle, while brilliant, was wrong on just about everything he speculated upon about the so-called natural order.

            • JM1001

              Oh, so you’re just trolling. Cool. Well, best to stick with question-begging assertions then.

              And you mean to tell me that Catholics didn’t invent natural law? I’m shocked, I tell you! Shocked! Seriously, I’m unaware of any Catholic theologian who claims that natural law is original to Catholicism. That’s not an argument against natural law. As for the Old Stagerite, he’s only thought to be “wrong on just about everything … about the natural order” by those who haven’t actually bothered to read him.

              It’s fashionable for internet commenters to say such things like, “Of course Aristotle was wrong about everything. Everyone knows that!” Again, a question-begging assertion, usually made by people who haven’t actually read Aristotle. And those who do read him find that he probably deserves a posthumous Nobel prize. Heck, even his physics is starting to get a second look.

              • 90Lew90

                You’re joking, right? I’m not aware of the “fashion” among internet users who say that of course Aristotle was wrong about everything. It’s not a fashion I’ve encountered. However, having studied Aristotle, and as someone with an abiding interest in philosophy and science, it is safe to say that he was indeed wrong about just about everything. Including his conception of the natural law. Unmoved mover my behind.

                • ManyMoreSpices

                  Not to tell y’all what to do, but the problem with engaging with evangelical atheists is that every conversation eventually returns to one of the two “God Doesn’t Exist” arguments. This post is about a Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, and yet here we are, having God Doesn’t Exist Argument #2.

                  • 90Lew90

                    And the objections to same-sex unions are derived from Aristotelian and neo-platonist conceptions of the natural law, which, after being passed through Augustine and Aquinas, incorporate the cosmological argument for your god’s existence into an allegedly coherent whole. (Or not, as the case may be.)

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      No. My principal objection to today’s decision is that it’s an embarrassment to constitutional law. You’ve decided to make this about God’s existence. Because that’s what you do.

                    • iamlucky13

                      Well, it is an embarrassment to constitutional law, but that’s really a subordinate problem to the rejection of natural law and placing of homosexual relations on a pedestal to be revered.

                    • antigon

                      And probed!

                • JM1001

                  I’m sure just repeating “Aristotle was wrong about just about everything” sounds really, really good inside your head, but try to imagine that maybe the voices inside your head are not telling you the truth. Again, an assertion with no argument just begs the question; as someone who claims to have an “abiding interest” in philosophy, you’re having trouble stopping yourself from repeating this basic logical fallacy. I mean, you just plain ignored the two links I posted and said the same thing over again, as though your brain just couldn’t compute it. Fascinating to watch, actually.

                  • 90Lew90

                    I don’t need to read your links to know that Aristotle’s value is in his method, not his conclusions. What are you talking about? Voices in my head? Do you think maybe a demon’s got hold of me or something? What’s your favourite work by Aristotle, out of interest?

                    • JM1001

                      Do you think maybe a demon’s got hold of me or something?

                      Nah. You’re just suffering from same the anti-Aristotelian prejudice characteristic of most moderns. Nothing to write home about really. It’s just kinda funny to watch you repeat the same assertion again and again, despite rebuttal. I’ve seen freshman philosophy students do better.

                      Oh, and the Nicomachean Ethics is my favorite, I will admit. Although I’ve been revisiting De Anima in recent months.

                • Jamesthelast

                  Most people I’ve seen that say that Aristotle was wrong about everything tend to deny the existence of metaphysics. Which is funny, because it is a metaphysical statement to say that there is no such thing as metaphysics.

                • antigon

                  I think your behind is absolutely right, Mr. 90, & don’t let anyone tell it to stop farting away!

            • Jamesthelast

              You are conflating Aristotle’s science with his philosophy. Everyone knows that his science is off, (although it is interesting how the 4 elements of air, earth, fire and water kind of match solid, liquid, gas and plasma) but his work in logic, the Categories, the principle of non contradiction causality, ethics, and the soul are still pretty dang relevant today.

            • LFM

              And it would take as many words to explain why (a) it isn’t bunk, and (b) why the whole of the Western “rights” tradition depends upon the existence of natural law, never mind that it originated with Aristotle whose methods were right but conclusions were wrong etc. There would be absolutely NO “rights” grounds upon which to grant the “right” to same-sex marriage if it were not for natural law, not because natural law favors gay marriage but because the concept of rights does not exist outside natural law theory.

            • antigon

              Dear Mr. 90:
              *
              As you’ve already demonstrated a grasp of thought poor Aristotle could have only dreamed about, no need for all those words.
              *
              On the other hand, your posts do seem to contradict that assertion about the direction of thy piss.

        • antigon

          Absolutely. Doesn’t hold a candle to looeyesque Biblical exegesis.

      • The Eh’theist

        I’m not emphasizing obedience to the decision, sorry if I’ve given that impression, rather, I tried to emphasize that the reactions don’t seem to be acknowledging a role for God in the decision. In short that it doesn’t appear to have been a serious enough concern to have warranted direct intervention. Please see my reply to ManyMoreSpices for a more detailed answered, I don’t want to copy/paste multiple copies of the same response and test everyone’s patience.

        • Sue Korlan

          That presumes that the passage of fast track was not the response to what the Supreme Court was about to say on marriage. God often allows us to destroy ourselves in many ways as our minds are darkened by sin.

    • JM1001

      Yep. Paul also famously said, “My country, right or wrong.” And when Peter said we must obey God as ruler rather than man, the other apostles laughed and said, “Love it or leave it.”

      Seriously, though, you do realize that you’re quoting the same Bible in which God tells the nations to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) and repeatedly promises to break the “thrones and scepters” of arrogant nations that violate his laws.

      So, yes, authority has been established by God. But as Uncle Ben once said: With great power comes great responsibility. Which is why I always recommend that people read Romans 13:1 in conjunction with chapter 6 of the Book of Wisdom:

      Hear, therefore, kings, and understand;
      learn, you magistrates of the earth’s expanse!

      Give ear, you who have power over multitudes
      and lord it over throngs of peoples!

      Because authority was given you by the Lord
      and sovereignty by the Most High,
      who shall probe your works and scrutinize your counsels!

      Because, though you were ministers of his kingdom, you did not judge rightly,
      and did not keep the law,
      nor walk according to the will of God,

      Terribly and swiftly he shall come against you,
      because severe judgment awaits the exalted…

      • 90Lew90

        Unless you have a chariot of iron. Judges, 1:19.

        • JM1001

          Given how repeatedly God punishes the Israelites for disobedience by giving them up to their enemies, I don’t see any problem with that verse whatsoever (see Judges 2:1-3). Keep in mind, when God promises to bring arrogant nations low, that includes Israel.

          • 90Lew90

            But why was the all-powerful, omnipotent deity, who exists outside time and space etc, thwarted by chariots made of iron? Seems daft to me.

            • JM1001

              Where does it say that God was thwarted? It says that the men of Judah were unable to drive the people from the plains. There could be any number of reasons why that was the case. And given the fact that the Old Testament is full of accounts in which God gave the Israelities up to their enemies because of disobedience (Numbers 33:55, Joshua 23:13, Psalm 106:36), it’s perfectly reasonable that could have been the case here.

              • 90Lew90

                Judges 1:19 King James Version (KJV)

                19 And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

                • ManyMoreSpices

                  >attempts to score points against Catholics based on Scripture
                  >quotes the King James Bible
                  >mfw
                  >mfw I have no face

                  Anyway… is it your understanding that the pronoun “he” refers to God, or Judah?

                  • 90Lew90

                    Just tweak it to suit yourself? You can find the same (or very similar) text in the Douay-Rheims version, and the NIV, and the RSV. God couldn’t move the inhabitants of the valley because they had chariots of iron right up until the 1950s. Suck it up.

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      Douay-Rheims:

                      “And the Lord was with Juda, and he possessed the hill country: but was not able to destroy the inhabitants of the valley, because they had many chariots armed with scythes.”

                      Pretty clear that the individual unable to destroy them was Judah, not God.

                    • 90Lew90

                      What’s pretty clear is that your god was thwarted by chariots of iron.

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      How do you figure, sports fan?

                    • 90Lew90

                      “Because it is written.”

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      What’s written is that Judah couldn’t beat some dudes who had kickass chariot technology. From this you conclude that God lacks omnipotence. Is there anything else to your argument?

                    • antigon

                      Wha? Why, Mr. Spices, it’s airtight! I’m told it’s the passage that led to MacBeth’s ruminations about walking shadows & such.

                    • antigon

                      Not to mention by the Roman authorities on Good Friday.

                    • antigon

                      Brilliant exegesis Mr. 90! And to think it somehow got past Aquinas & arguably one or two other observers all these years!

        • chezami

          Good job! You noticed that God’s relationshiip with Israel unfolds in the real world and that it is not a story of magic.

      • The Eh’theist

        Yes, there are examples from the narratives of Scripture of swift judgements and rulers being deposed that are in line with what you’ve written. That’s my point, that the Evangelical and Catholic bloggers haven’t turned any attention to asking God why this wasn’t a priority for prevention/judgement as some of those stories in Scripture. My comments to ManyMoreSpices add a bit more context to this answer.

    • orual’s kindred

      It seems you’re reading the Bible in the literalistic way self-described fundamentalists do, if not even more so. Perhaps that is the culture your mind was/continues to be formed in. Perhaps you’ve not progressed in researching Catholic teaching. Whichever is the case, Catholics do not randomly quote/purposefully take verses out of context, nor do they solely go by literalistic interpretation.

      • 90Lew90

        Context! Of course! Where would Christians be without recourse to “context”. How convenient it is that when an uncomfortable verse is quoted, or even a chapter for that matter, all a Christian has to do is demand that it be taken in “context”. The problem with that is, the wider the scope given to a particular chapter or verse — the more you zoom out from it — the more it can be interpreted in almost any way you please. Take a chapter or verse which seems prima facie unequivocal and set it in the “context” of the rest of the Bible, which is a mess of contradictions and absurdities, and you can take almost anything you want from it, because what is authoritative in the Bible is subject to hierarchy, from the metaphorical and allegorical up to the literal. And from out of this shambles, “truth” is supposed to emerge? No. From out of this shambles emerges more shambles. Context. Last refuge of a scatter-brained opportunist.

        • orual’s kindred

          I again note your opinion (this time, apparently, on what is or is not comfortable for people other than you). I also note that your opinion once again appears to be off the mark. The comfortableness of the quote has not been alluded to, because that is not the concern. Nor is the matter about the wideness of scope.

          The importance of context in reading texts, of which the Bible is no exception, ought to be a fair and straightforward consideration. However, you have gone on to make unsupported assertions as well as opinions. And, in your rush to ridicule context, you have missed making a solid case regarding the application of context and interpretation (which like other things can indeed be twisted and abused).

          It seems you have some strong feelings concerning these topics, and if so I sympathize. I’m also afraid these feelings are doing you no favors.

          • 90Lew90

            The entire Bible makes me uncomfortable. My point was simply that passages which make Christians feel uncomfortable are quite often said by Christians to have been taken out of context. You say I’m off the mark, and have offered nothing but word salad to point out how. If I may ask, how am I “off the mark”? I’m all for calling a spade a spade — plain speaking. That’s something Christians seem allergic to when it comes to talking about the Bible or their faith. Always what is plain must be put through a mangle, folded up in bows, and have bells and whistles attached. Enter scholasticism and other duff theology.

            • ManyMoreSpices

              That’s odd. Works of fiction don’t make me uncomfortable. And yet the Bible really gets under your skin, huh?

              Might want to have that looked at.

              • 90Lew90

                People don’t tend to base their entire personal ethics on other works of fiction. And your Bible is bloodcurdling. So yeah, it makes me uncomfortable, as do most “holy” books.

                • orual’s kindred

                  People don’t tend to base their entire personal ethics on other works of fiction.

                  That may be your experience. I seem to have come across people who have been rather extensively informed by ‘Atlas Shrugged’, for instance.

                • antigon

                  Wait a minute. Our court supreme proclaimed all that blood curdling in the extermination camps called abortion clinics is the very essence of not just freedom, but America itself! And since lots of folks base their, so to speak, personal ethics on *that* fictional treatise, one can only hope this won’t keep you seated when folks sing about the home of the brave.

            • orual’s kindred

              You have said that “that passages which make Christians feel uncomfortable are quite often said by Christians to have been taken out of context.” Given that you are the one to have brought up and based your comments on the (supposed) discomfort of Christians, you are in fact off the mark. People here have engaged in this discussion on grounds other than discomfort. And no, you certainly have not been calling a spade a spade. You have made false presumptions of people and their beliefs, which others have pointed out.

        • Jamesthelast

          That’s why there’s a tradition and something like the Catholic Church to guide how to read the bible, so you know things like war are more for dramatic story purposes and the Sermon on the Mount is something to be followed.

          Of course you are right that reading the bible without this tradition to determine context just leads to madness.

      • The Eh’theist

        Perhaps take a look at my other replies here, and you may come away with a different understanding of my intent. Thanks.

        • orual’s kindred

          Alright, and I have looked; but this was your first comment on this thread. And your other comments do support what I mentioned about quoting verses. As ManyMoreSpices said, Romans 13:1 is at the very least an odd choice to illustrate a point about reflecting on God’s role in this and other happenings throughout the world. It could be applied, certainly but (interestingly enough, given the other discussions here) that particular reading would require a bit of stretching. Your application of the verse is not its “obvious” import. Now, it could be said that it’s obvious to you and others of a similar mindset, but then I would think that also underscores how discussing Scriptural verses need to be based on the proper context.

          (Also, I have in fact seen reflections on trusting God. And if many people at the moment are studying and discussing the human details of this ruling, I’m afraid that’s not simply excluding Him at all. As I’ve mentioned before, Catholic teaching says that people are God’s instruments, and speaking of His instruments (and whether or not they have acted accordingly) does not preclude His role or existence.)

  • Mike

    Tax status of catholic churches will have to be eliminated..i predict the first try will come within 5 years. Bigotry and anti-constitutional bigotry at that can not enjoy legal sanction.

    Oh well back to the catacombs.

    • AquinasMan

      It will be a lot quicker than 5 years before this is challenged.

      • There will be lawsuits, but I don’t think they will prevail. If someone tries to remove the RCC’s tax-exempt status because of a failure to perform a same-sex marriage, rather than for a violation of tax laws (like, say, endorsing a political candidate), that will be a direct attack on a priest’s practice of his religion, and therefore the First Amendment. I can’t guarantee, of course, that such a lawsuit would *never* be successful, but I do think it is unlikely.

        I was also talking about this with Mr. Beadgirl, and he had a very good point: the last thing the IRS wants is the administrative headache of removing the RCC’s tax-exempt status.

        • AquinasMan

          Oh, I don’t think it will be challenged on the basis of performing or not performing a same sex marriage. I’m thinking it will be challenged on the basis of merely teaching the flock that they are prohibited from entering into a same sex marriage, which is not just an opinion of somebody on the altar, but part of official doctrine. Maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree, but I don’t imagine the mob laying aside their pitchforks now that they have the full force of SCOTUS at their backs.

          BTW, great point on the administrative headache. The sloth of bureaucracy may work in our favor… but then, Obama has set the precedent of using the IRS as a weapon, and without consequence. If a president wants it removed, it can get removed, headache or no headache.

          • Sue Korlan

            No more so than when teaching the flock about the sinfulness of divorce and remarriage. We’ll just be one of those fringe religious groups with weird beliefs that none of their members actually hold, like not using contraceptives.

          • That would still be an infringement on the First Amendment; the government can’t say what religious beliefs are right or wrong, because that would be establishment.

            A useful example: The Mormon church did not allow black men to become priests (or whatever they call their ministers) until 1978; this was despite the 14th Amendment, the Civil Rights Act, and many other laws making racial discrimination illegal. I.e., the Mormon church was still permitted to engage in discrimination. Similarly, although there is not yet an ERA, most states have constitutions forbidding discrimination by sex, and yet no one in those states can use those laws to force the RCC to ordain women.

    • kenofken

      It’s past time everyone’s church got off the dole. There’s no reason any of us should be underwriting the practice of each other’s religion or coming up with extra to subsidize what are in some cases tax free Fortune 500 business empires.

      • Mike

        YOU GO GIRL!

  • SteveP

    Washington, DC–’tis a silly place.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Npo0cmp-VY

  • 90Lew90

    How’s the sky holding up over there so far?

    • antigon

      Ah, but as Laudato Si presciently observed, ‘doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain.’

      • SteveP

        Yet Monty Python references are always relevant!

        • antigon

          Anthony Kennedy agrees!

      • 90Lew90

        Why not?

        • antigon

          Indeed. Let’s fook the environment like it was a rosy red, & then marry it!

  • etme

    “The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity. The petitioners in these cases seek to find that liberty by marrying …” – Justice Kennedy majority opinion

    So, please, please someone explain why polygamy is illegal? Or any other sort of “marriage”? The next case in from of the Supreme Court will be one about polygamy (as it should be!), and it will be hilarious to see the same Justice Kennedy invoke (probably) some decisive interest of the government to keep “marriage” between two persons (???). Completely and utterly arbitrarily, of course.

    If marriage is about who I think I am, and who I decide to marry, and that I must be free to choose whichever on both accounts, then banning polygamy is unsustainable. As well as banning any other “forms” of “marriage” etc.

    This is tragic, hilarious, and utter and complete bollocks.

    Mark said it well – the Nietzschean will of the self triumphs.

    • Gunnar Thalweg

      You are assuming logical consistency. The rule they are applying isn’t about liberty — it’s they like homosexuals. They don’t like polygamists, so they will use different reasoning. The problem they will run into is with Muslims. Then they have to choose.

      • kenofken

        I like polygamists and even (in hushed tone with furtive glance)…Muslims!

        I don’t know where anyone gets the idea that SSM supporters made (or have the standing to make) an ironclad promise that polygamy would be “off the table” for all time. It was not the cause the LGBT movement was advocating, and it was not the question at law before the courts. There is nothing at all to say it might not one day arise, and prevail in future courts. In the case of gay marriage, gays and lesbians were arguing for equal access to a conception of marriage which is well understood and defined in law. Polygamists will have the additional challenge of arguing new concepts in family law, custody etc. They also have the long battle to win the hearts and minds of the public, a task which took decades of hard work by the LGBT community.

        • Fra Grebma

          “I don’t know where anyone gets the idea that SSM supporters made … an ironclad promise …”

          Never mind the outrage if anyone suggested that by the standards applied, polygamous marriages would have to be a legal right too.

          “equal access to a conception of marriage which is well understood and defined in law”

          It never was about this as homosexuals already had that equal access. It was about a “new concept” of marriage.

          If polygamists have corporate support, they will win the same conformity-driven support too.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        It’ll be when three lesbians want a marriage all to each other. The result won’t actually be polygamy (multiple wives) but polyamory (multiple lovers). I’m guessing that “traditional” polygamists won’ be the poster children for this, but a trendier fringe group. It will be the bisexual who wants to express his or her affections in both directions, or some other group more near and dear to the heart of all that is cutting edge.

        • Gunnar Thalweg

          Yeah, I think it will a trendier fringe group.

    • antigon

      There’s also the injustice of forbidding incestuous marriage, since kids are so tangential to the thing. Especially if some guy wants to marry his brother who’s in fact but a woman with a ding-dong.

  • iamlucky13

    “Now we embark on the second stage of history: How were we supposed to know?”

    I’m not sure we’ll as a society reach that point. Is there any sign we’re approaching that point with regards to divorce? Or killing of the unborn?

    We’re fantastically talented as a species at denying the consequences of our actions.

    As understanding and appreciation of the natural complementary relationship between genders continues to erode, divorce rates continue upward, and children become less and less a gift to nurture as individuals and more a burden to be shifted to the state to foster as workers and voters to support the government, we as a society will be completely self-assured that the path we tread is absolutely the right one, and the increasing social problems as individuals lack meaningful attachments and sense of meaning in life or even in their own bodies or merely the result of confusion sown by anti-progressives who refuse to accept as absolute truth that there are no absolute truths.

    • ManyMoreSpices

      One of the reasons that government grows inexorably is that its failures are successfully blamed on there not being enough of it. When something bad happens in a regulated industry, it is the unregulated portion that gets the blame. Consider America’s health care industry. Is there a significant sector of the economy that is more heavily regulated? Various levels of government, elected and unelected, have a grip on virtually all aspects of the system. And it’s a mess. It doesn’t operate well.

      The response to problems in an industry where government dominates at every level? The three reams of federal pig latin known as the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act.

      Now, the PPACA may turn out to be successful overall, but it won’t be all rainbows and hugs; there will be problems. Indeed, there already have been, and you might have experienced them if you liked your doctor or tried to use the website. But when PPACA runs into trouble, the response hasn’t been and won’t be to scale the program back or take money away from it. No, the response is to do more of the same thing, but harder and faster. And it’s the normal political response. No one wants to admit that they were wrong, including political majorities.

      I mention all this not to have a discussion about Obamacare, but to demonstrate that as a practical matter it’s going to be impossible to convince anyone who’s in favor of SSM that it’s been a mistake that we need to walk back. None of the potential harms that could result from it will be so obviously linked to SSM as to cause anyone to change their minds. There’s always some other contributing cause. There’s always some other reason. There’s always an excuse to confront the fact that we made a bad choice.

      What would it take? Well, it took the fall or Rome and a few centuries of Europe being overrun with barbarians before the Church was able to build an improved European civilization. I don’t expect that to happen here. I don’t expect any fall within my lifetime. I don’t want America and the rest of the West to fall. But I don’t see a way that Catholic values will be restored until they’re rebuilt atop the ruins.

      • iamlucky13

        You expanded pretty incisively on one of my points. Thanks.

    • LFM

      Upper middle-class people stopped divorcing in droves once they, or rather their children, grasped how powerful and lasting the impact of divorce upon children was. Remember when the problems of how to coordinate the activities of “blended families” were popular fodder for magazines? Not any more, not really. That’s because UMC people stopped getting divorced much, while middle- and working-class people stopped getting married, especially if their first marriages failed. The point is that people can change their minds when they see evidence of the harm done by divorce, etc.

      Unfortunately, the UMC, in their determination to place personal autonomy above all other social goods, has never really tried to make a public case for staying married, or for not having children “out of wedlock” (except for teenagers), and they control the media, schools and universities, so the bad news about divorce and fatherlessness never reached the wider public.

  • AquinasMan

    One of my immediate questions is what happens with Hosanna-Tabor? Can a religious institution still fire someone for exercising the now-Constitutional right to enter into a Sodomite marriage?

    • ManyMoreSpices

      I’m pessimistic, in that I fear that SSM is the latest application of what O’Connor (!) and then Scalia called the “Ad Hoc Nullification Machine.” First employed to sweep away the normal rules of statutory construction and constitutional interpretation whenever those might uphold restrictions on abortion, the AHNM was employed just yesterday to save the Affordable Care Act. And today it flattens all opposition to SSM. Given that even the First Amendment is not safe when what you’re speaking out against is abortion, I can’t promise you that the First Amendment will offer much cover for your doubleplus ungood thoughtcrime against #MarriageEquality, you bigot.

      Still, Hosanna-Tabor looks relatively safe. It was 9-0, with the same court that gave us today’s adventure in jiggery-pokery. Today’s majority isn’t dumb; they knew they’d eventually be forcing SSM on all the states. If they were also eager to impose it on churches, I figure they would have done some battlespace preparation back then, perhaps with a concurrence that wasn’t as strong as the unanimous opinion. And as limited and unconvincing as the court’s assurances that the First Amendment still applies to those that oppose SSM are, they were pretty explicit that what you do behind closed doors in church is safe. So I’m guessing that the ministerial exception will be the last thing to go.

      • AquinasMan

        Thank you for the informative response. I forgot that Hosanna-Tabor was unanimous. But since this seems to be a crazy quilt SCOTUS, I expect the unexpected. There is one interesting consolation to this SSM ruling, in that they recognize the rights of not only religious institutions, but religious persons to object — which I would imagine is referring to clergy. On the other hand, it pointedly leaves out private citizens (e.g., business owners and the like), so fire up those cake mixers!

    • jroberts548

      Nothing. Literally nothing happens to hosanna-tabor.

      • AquinasMan

        Thank you!

  • kenofken

    This decision was a wonderful thing to wake up to this morning. Nothing compliments that first cup of coffee like the scent of justice in the air. 🙂

    • orual’s kindred

      Why, I’d thought you’d comment, but I didn’t suppose you’d think of doing so (for what seems to be) first thing in the morning! I myself am having breakfast as well 🙂 Good morning!

    • antigon

      That is, if you think sulphur – & other malodorous emissions – smells like justice.

  • Eve Fisher

    The real reason SCOTUS passed this isn’t about love wins or the rights of LGBT or liberal blackmail or anything like that. It’s very simple: this SCOTUS is a corporate SCOTUS (remember Citizens United). Corporations are all in about LGBT rights and gay marriage because there’s
    too much money at stake. As soon as I saw the ads for Cheerios, Tylenol, etc.,
    I felt pretty sure that SCOTUS would rule in favor of gay marriage. That’s why I also wasn’t surprised that SCOTUS upheld the ACA in that bogus lawsuit –
    not because the lawsuit was bogus, but because the health insurance companies
    want the ACA to stand, because it sure beats the living crap (in their eyes)
    out of a one-payer system, like Medicare or what happens in (gasp!) Europe. Anything that stands in the way of
    that, and lets the health insurance companies make money off of people is fine
    with them. (Plus corporations want their employees to have insurance that is not on their dime.) Thus, the decisions of SCOTUS. It’s not about social engineering – it’s about doing whatever the corporations want. Sometimes the conservatives get screwed, sometimes the liberals get screwed – but remember, this SCOTUS isn’t about liberal or conservative or what the people want or what is good for the people. You want to know how they’ll decide? Follow the money.

    • ManyMoreSpices

      It’s very simple: this SCOTUS is a corporate SCOTUS (remember Citizens United)

      What I remember about Citizens United was that only one of the justices in the majority was also in the gay-marriage majority. Yesterday’s majority believed that they were helping a group that was being treated unfairly, that remediating this unfairness would come at no cost to the rest of the country, and that the Constitution contains a general charge to promote liberty as it is identified. The ruling wasn’t about lending a hand to General Mills.

      Corporations are all in about LGBT rights and gay marriage because there’stoo much money at stake. As soon as I saw the ads for Cheerios, Tylenol, etc.

      You’re inverting cause and effect. General Mills runs ads suggesting support for SSM not because an America where two men can get married is one in which more breakfast cereal is consumed. General Mills runs those ads because being in favor of SSM is where all the cool kids are now.

      • Eve Fisher

        And, thus, by being with the “cool kids” they will sell more product – because it’s young people who buy more product than old farts like me. I’m all settled in to my brands and habits and all the rest – it’s the 12-32 year olds that buy all the stuff, go to all the movies, watch all the TV, and buy all the stuff that’s advertised on it. So of course they’re going to cater to the market, because it’s all about selling product. Period.

        • ManyMoreSpices

          What does that have to do with the Supreme Court?

          • Eve Fisher

            Well, you see, I think you’re inverting cause and effect. “The business of America is business.” (Calvin Coolidge) And every decision is made according to that. In the first place, who changed the opinion of the cool kids re SSM? Corporate America, through media who were pursuing increasing profits by presenting ever-increasing levels of sex, violence, and greed fulfillment. (BTW, I haven’t heard much bitching about the fact that for a long time we’ve had serial killers as HEROES of TV shows, movies, novels, and video games. Let’s keep America killing.)

            Don’t kid yourself. Business both manipulates and cooperates with changes in opinion, fashion, and feeling. Next year’s hot trends were planned last year in corporate offices. And they do their best to make it look like they’re just behind the curve while selling the curve to us. Especially among the young who are the massive consumers. And they lobby/use government agencies to make sure what they want gets done. Political ideology is useful only as a way to gin up the base and keep score of who’s owned by whom.

            And John Roberts’ SCOTUS has, so far, decided in favor whatever will increase profit & influence for corporations, irrespective of conservative or liberal ideology. Thus, they voted for gay marriage (innumerable corporations in pursuit of mega-profits)and the ACA (health insurance and other corporations); loosened restrictions on campaign advertising by corporations and unions (increasing corporate political influence); in favor of individual gun ownership, without it being tied to any “well regulated militia” (gun and ammo manufacturers); that prisoners don’t have a right to DNA testing (think private, i.e., corporate, prisons); that there’s a time limit of 180 days(!) to prove salary discrimination (every corporation); and, of course, Citizens United, granting corporations unlimited campaign expenditures and the rights of personhood. The thing is, it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with religion, morality, or political ideology: corporate wins the decisions under the Roberts court.