FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The True Meaning of Marriage

One vote in the State Senate separates gay and lesbian New Yorkers from the right to wed. While there have been some surprises among the opposing forces?Roy McDonald’s change of heart?those arrayed on either side of the issue are mostly familiar to us.

Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan, current President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, is among the leading opponents of gay marriage. In a recent post to his blog, Dolan defended the “true meaning of marriage.” “Traditional marriage” must exclude homosexuals, reasons Dolan, because God, “human reason and ordered good” demand it. Marriage is not for queers; it is instead “the union of a man and a woman in a loving, permanent, life-giving union to pro-create children.”

Dolan’s definition leaves out the hundred or so million heterosexual Americans who are divorced, childless, or locked in loveless marriages. No wonder that Americans have left the Church in droves.

Archbishop Dolan should share his blogs with a social science or humanities professor at a Catholic university prior to posting them. Such caution would save him from logical briar patches like that found in his June 14 post. Dolan argues that governments have no business regulating marriage, and ironically cites China and North Korea as countries that routinely and wrongly “redefine” rights?”but, please, not here!” Dolan omits the fact that China and North Korea do not permit gay marriage. And he fails to acknowledge that he’s a strong proponent of government action to outlaw abortion, a redefinition of rights if ever there was one.

Maureen Dowd thrashed Archbishop Dolan for intervening against gay marriage in her June 18 New York Times column. She took issue with his disagreement that gay marriage is just the latest step on the long path to civil rights for all Americans. Dolan wondered about the “right” of all children to be raised by a mother and father. But those living in glass cathedrals ought to avoid stone throwing. Dowd countered with “how about the right of a child not to be molested by the parish priest?”

Illogic and thoughtlessness are the least of Dolan’s problems. What he and other opponents of gay marriage should fear is the judgment of history. Dolan’s writings will appear to future Americans as John C. Calhoun’s writings appear to Americans today: “We see [slavery] now in its true light, and regard it as the most safe and stable basis for free institutions in the world.”

Dolan’s twenty-first century pronouncements on gay marriage will surely sound to our grandchildren’s grandchildren like those of nineteenth century clerics’ on slavery: “There is not one verse in the Bible inhibiting slavery, but many regulating it. It is not then, we conclude, immoral” (Rev. Alexander Campbell). “The right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example” (Rev. Dr. Richard Furman, 1838). “The hope of civilization itself hangs on the defeat of Negro suffrage” (prominent Presbyterian pastor). Perhaps the Archbishop would prefer to rely on the authority of the Vatican. Here’s an 1866 statement from the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: “Slavery itself . . . is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law. . . The vendor should do nothing which might endanger the life, virtue, or Catholic faith of the slave.”

How can Christians make religious arguments against gay marriage with straight faces? We’re subject to all the sanctimony because of two obscure homophobic Bible verses? The slavery-era preachers were right: that same Bible?including the New Testament?is completely accepting of chattel slavery.

Advice to gay marriage opponents (especially those in vestments): quit now before you end up on the wrong side of history. Want to be remembered as the New Millennium equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan? You won’t seem that much different from the perspective of a hundred years from now. Want to appear in some twenty-second century high school student’s history essay along with those defending anti-miscegenation laws? Urge your State Senator to support gay marriage and avoid the condemnation of history.

Steve Breyman teaches at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Reach him at breyms@rpi.edu

 

 

 

More articles by:

Steve Breyman was a William C. Foster Visiting Scholar Fellow in the Clinton State Department, and serves as an advisor to Jill Stein, candidate for the Green Party presidential nomination. Reach him at breyms@rpi.edu

June 19, 2018
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
We Can Thank Top Union Officials for Trump
Lawrence Davidson
The Republican Party Falls Apart, the Democrats Get Stuck
Sheldon Richman
Trump, North Korea, and Iran
Richard Rubenstein
Trump the (Shakespearean) Fool: a New Look at the Dynamics of Trumpism
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Protect Immigrant Rights; End the Crises That Drive Migration
Gary Leupp
Norway: Just Withdraw From NATO
Kristine Mattis
Nerd Culture, Adultolescence, and the Abdication of Social Priorities
Mike Garrity
The Forest Service Should Not be Above the Law
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Activism And Smears Masquerade As Journalism: From Seralini To Jairam Ramesh, Aruna Rodrigues Puts The Record Straight
Doug Rawlings
Does the Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve an Emmy?
Kenneth Surin
2018 Electioneering in Appalachian Virginia
Nino Pagliccia
Chrystia Freeland Fails to See the Emerging Multipolar World
John Forte
Stuart Hall and Us
June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
Ajamu Baraka
North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization
Andrew Levine
Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead
Louisa Willcox
New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Singapore Fling
Ron Jacobs
What’s So Bad About Peace, Man?
Robert Hunziker
State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!
L. Michael Hager
Acts and Omissions: The NYT’s Flawed Coverage of the Gaza Protest
Dave Lindorff
However Tenuous and Whatever His Motives, Trump’s Summit Agreement with Kim is Praiseworthy
Robert Fantina
Palestine, the United Nations and the Right of Return
Brian Cloughley
Sabre-Rattling With Russia
Chris Wright
To Be or Not to Be? That’s the Question
David Rosen
Why Do Establishment Feminists Hate Sex Workers?
Victor Grossman
A Key Congress in Leipzig
John Eskow
“It’s All Kinderspiel!” Trump, MSNBC, and the 24/7 Horseshit Roundelay
Paul Buhle
The Russians are Coming!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail