A gay reader writes about my recent show with Bill May and Simcha Fisher

A gay reader writes about my recent show with Bill May and Simcha Fisher August 4, 2015

…which you can listen to here:

He says:

I listened to your “Marriage Reality Movement” podcast with Bill May. In general, you’ll be pleased to know that I was sympathetic to a lot of it. I am also worried about turning children into commodities – extensions of a parent’s ego. Though I’d argue this is more of an argument against surrogacy or in-vitro fertilization, I think that’s a discussion for another time. What I would have liked to have heard, and didn’t, was more of a discussion about how to deal with the legal reality of same-sex marriage as a faithful Catholic now that it is a reality.

The discussion on the podcast seemed to follow the same type of pattern that I’ve been listening to for about 15 years on this topic. While the show did make some concessions to the faulty premises the entire culture is beholden to, it still sets up a very “us vs them” moral dichotomy. The absence of a voice on the program who experiences same-sex attractions tends to imply, falsely, who the “them” is. This is unfortunate and has been a major stumbling block for the evangelization of both gay men and lesbians. In short, neither Christians nor gays are capable of trusting the other, each believing that the other side means to subject them to a merciless and restricting ideology, contemptuous of belief, conscience and individual choice. Why couldn’t Simcha’s brother, Joseph Prever, have also been part of that podcast? His inclusion may have gone a long way towards alleviating some of that false dichotomy.

Also, while there may be a place to talk about abstract conceptions, I can’t help but think that this is pointless without real-world examples of how that reality will work for EVERYONE. Absent from the discussion was any indication of how one might persuade the “happily married” gay couple that moves in next door that their arrangement is a farce. How does one convince any children that they may be raising that it would be better to leave what could be the only stable family environment they’ve ever known to go back the dreary rotation of the foster mill?

You’ve often, on your blog, railed against ideologies that pit an abstract theory against real-world objective goods. The reality is that you are ultimately asking gays, lesbians and the children under their care to make an extremely destabilizing sacrifice, all to uphold the sanctity of what, for many of them, is the merely abstract picture of a good marriage that proceeds from church communities where they will never really be welcome, irrespective of behavior. I wish I had heard more of the invitation that is being extended gays and lesbians rather than what seems, at times, to be just another brainstorming session for the next counter-offensive to be launched against them.

Anyway, have a fabulous day!

Unfortunately, I don’t have time to reply (though I do invite readers to join the discussion). But I will say that I like the idea of having Joseph Prever on the show, for whom I have a great deal of respect.

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  • Elaine S.

    I believe the reader makes some good points. Personally, I would suggest that faithful Catholics address the legal reality of same-sex marriage in much the same way they deal with the legal reality of divorce and remarriage between opposite-sex couples.

    A Catholic man and woman who marry in the Church, then get legally divorced and marry other people without an annulment are, objectively, “living in sin” and creating scandal as much as two men or two women who get legally married would be. The only difference is that any sin the divorced/remarried couple may be committing is a little less obvious to the general public. But the situation poses some of the same dilemmas to an observant Catholic relative or friend that a same-sex marriage would — can we attend the wedding? Can we invite them to stay at our house? Can we celebrate their anniversaries? What do we tell our kids?

    There’s also the fact that an invalidly married opposite sex couple would not be “living in sin” if they chose to (or had to) live as brother and sister; wouldn’t the same be true of a same-sex couple that lived chastely? I could, concievably, see two men or two women who were not homosexual but were just friends getting civilly married for legal reasons, or an older gay/lesbian couple who were no longer sexually active doing this. In any event, it’s something to think about and we do have something of a precedent in how we as Catholics have dealt with divorce.

    • Sue Korlan

      Yes, I see the 2 situations the same way. Everybody knows I don’t go to weddings that the Church doesn’t include as valid, so no one will be surprised if I don’t go to a gay wedding either. I see the 2 situations as exactly parallel.

    • Paul

      ” The only difference is that any sin the divorced/remarried couple may be committing is a little less obvious to the general public. ”
      I don’t think it is “less obvious” to the general public….I think it is “more accepted” by the general public…which speaks precisely to the aim of homosexuals, which is to be accepted….by the general public and, more specifically, by the Catholic Church.
      If heterosexuals who commit mortal sin seemingly have been accepted by the Church population in general, then why not homosexuals. You post has already established that this is a matter of degree, not of kind, when you, correctly, equated the sin of homosexual sex with that of unmarried heterosexual sex.
      In the end analysis, I think we will look back at the Homosexual Marriage period of Church History as one of the great chastisements that was sent to the Lord to purify his Church. And by chastisement I don’t mean that homosexuals are some sort of plague that is being flung down from the far reaches of heaven to afflict the masses (you know Westborough Baptist style), rather a chastisement in which the homosexuals, who have been and are truly marginalized (actually it is more of scapegoated) within the Church, are sent to participate in a great period of suffering, along with the other members of the body of Christ, to re-recognize the long taught, but recently forgot truths about the *sanctity* of the sacrament of marriage.

      • sbark

        I think the divorced/remarried couple is less obvious to the general public because the general public doesn’t necessarily know that the couple is divorced and remarried.

        • ManyMoreSpices

          Yeah, that’s basically it. When you see Alice and Steve getting married, you don’t know their history. Even if one or both of them have children, they could have been widowed – or they even could have had their marriage annulled. But when you see Adam and Steve getting married, you know all you need to know.

    • The two instances are gnats and camels. There are so many more instances of divorced and remarried to others that it should be the general case and dealt with as a primary problem with the specialized and comparatively rare case of homosexuals being a secondary one.

      Doing so would also provide a great deal of context so that homosexuals understand that they are not being picked on or singled out, but just addressed as a necessary consequence of the larger problem of poorly handled marriage.

      • CrustyNatsFan

        I think there is wisdom in this response.

  • SteveP

    Pretty funny: disqualification base on the lack of “authentic voice.” The same tactic for 15 years I’m sure.
    .
    Tell your “happily married” neighbors the authentic voice of the Church is heard by attending Mass – that’s “real world”.

  • URSULARICHES

    I welcome the comment which is without the animosity to which I have become accustomed from the pro gay lobby.
    First of all, adoptions to gay couples would be extremely rare. Perhaps a father or family friend or close relative who knows the child(ren) may adopt a child or children in spite of being gay in some circumstances and where the child or children are older. Perhaps then, the child(ren) may in rare circumstances be adopted by someone who is gay in a gay relationship but not to the couple?
    Bisxs obviously have their own children and there should be gentle encouragement for children to be adopted when a happy authentic marriage is not on the cards and that is for all. This means that single parents also face this gentle encouragement.
    There should be an acknowledgement that although every single heterosexual parent in a marriage may not be better or as good as the very best of gay parents, that heterosexual marriage in itself is a good thing and the best situation for children to be raised in.
    Sperm and egg donors and IVF and rent a wombs must be made illegal. At least, public money should be stopped from going to these areas.
    The promotion of NFP as an evanglisation against the culture of death and against the lifestyle of immorality must take place. It is not right that gay people see themselves as the only sexually immoral people according to Christians.
    When we have proper marriage preparation and teach young people and all people about how NFP works, we are spreading an authentic marriage philosophy with it. We are being a light in the nation of immorality and a light in the darkness of the culture of death.
    It clearly is not only homosexuals who are not in authentic marriages. Heterosexual marriages are also sterile which is why heterosexuals cannot see the difference between gay and straight relationships.

  • LJ

    Well said! It’s very nice to hear an honest critique, rather than a rant. I think it’s very true that a panel of married heterosexuals seeming to lecture homosexuals about their personal lives will definitely come off wrong– like a panel of white people discussing the problems in black culture, or a panel of men discussing the role of women in society.

    As far as how we should address the issue, given the legal changes to civil marriage: I think we should take two approaches. First, we need to make an emphatic distinction between civil marriage and sacramental marriage– long, LONG overdue, in my mind, given the devastating reality of no-fault divorce. I think that there is no longer any reason for priests to sign civil marriage certificates, for example. (Let the couple take care of the civil procedures at the court house during the week, then come to Church on Saturday for the sacrament.) The true scandal is how few Catholics understand what marriage is, what it’s for; likewise, how little support there is for Catholics in troubled marriages (before divorce). Second, we need to remain polite and respectful of the majority of the population which doesn’t share our beliefs, much as the original Christians were respectful of pagan marriages (e.g. using the term “husband” or “wife” for a same-sex civil spouse)– preach by our actions, not by our words.

    As for the civilly-married couple (whether homosexual, divorced-and-remarried, or whatever): we should invite them to a deeper relationship with Christ, through prayer, good works, Christian company, and the sacraments. We shouldn’t assume that we know what the “solution” is to their family situation– God will make that clear to them when they’re prepared to hear it. But without a living faith in Jesus, nobody is capable of living an honest, grace-filled life; and their main “problem” might be nothing to do with their sexuality at all.