Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Time Has Come, the Walrus said, to Talk of Many Things

At this point, I have nothing to say on the overruling of Proposition 8 in California. Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex marriage, has been upheld by voters in 2000 and 2008. Vaughn R. Walker, a U.S. District federal judge in California- one man- reversed it with one ruling. It is one victory and it only serves to show how important marriage truly is and the need to protect and strengthen it. Why else do people fight so hard?

I got into a horrible discussion with a lady who supports same-sex marriage two days ago. MB later told me my first problem is that I always want to talk to people. This lady certainly wasn't interested in civil dialogue. She asked me if I hated gays and lesbians because I support traditional and heterosexual marriage. I attempted to not be offended by the question and said certainly not; I asked her how she defined marriage. She recited Loving v. Virginia at me, which is a 1967 case striking down interracial marriages as illegal and which quotes a case from the 19th century which says marriage is a fundamental right. I said marriage between different races is different than marriages between those of the same gender. 

Marriage is fundamental, I said, because its two-fold purpose includes the procreation of children for the continuation of society; same-sex couples can't naturally have children. A third of gay couples have kids, she replied. Would you discriminate against children of homosexuals? Absolutely not, I said; equal protection under the law. Then why do you punish the kids by denying their parents the stability of marriage?, she raged at me. I'm talking about parental choices, I said; children are a different matter.

I left the conversation trembling. The above is an abridged and re-created conversation. I left out many of the back-and-forths and derogatory comments she said to me, including saying I obviously wish harm against the children of gays and lesbians. I had to pull myself out in a respectful way and it is one of the few times in my life I felt utterly dejected and miserable. I feel I have failed to witness for truth, but I don't know how else I could have properly conveyed it to her. It was like we were speaking two different languages. O'Connor said it is often the absence of grace which helps us see its true nature.

Here's a selection from Alexis de Tocqueville's 'Democracy in America':

"America is the most democratic country in the world, and it is at the same time (according to reports worthy of belief) the country in which the Roman Catholic religion makes most progress. At first sight this is surprising. Two things must here be accurately distinguished: equality inclines men to wish to form their own opinions; but, on the other hand, it imbues them with the taste and the idea of unity, simplicity, and impartiality in the power which' governs society. Men living in democratic ages are therefore very prone to shake off all religious authority; but if they consent to subject themselves to any authority of this kind, they choose at least that it should be single and uniform.

Religious powers not radiating from a common centre are naturally repugnant to their minds; and they almost as readily conceive that there should be no religion as that there should be several. At the present time, more than in any preceding one, Roman Catholics are seen to lapse into infidelity, and Protestants to be converted to Roman Catholicism. If the Roman Catholic faith be considered within the pale of the Church, it would seem to be losing ground; without that pale, to be gaining it. Nor is this circumstance difficult of explanation. The men of our days are naturally little disposed to believe; but, as soon as they have any religion, they immediately find in themselves a latent propensity which urges them unconsciously toward Catholicism. Many of the doctrines and the practices of the Romish Church astonish them; but they feel a secret admiration for its discipline, and its great unity attracts them.

If Catholicism could at length withdraw itself from the political animosities to which it has given rise, I have hardly any doubt but that the same spirit of the age, which appears to be so opposed to it, would become so favourable as to admit of its great and sudden advancement. One of the most ordinary weaknesses of the human intellect is to seek to reconcile contrary principles, and to purchase peace at the expense of logic.

Thus there have ever been, and will ever be, men who, after having submitted some portion of their religious belief to the principle of authority, will seek to exempt several other parts of their faith from its influence, and to keep their minds floating at random between liberty and obedience. But I am inclined to believe that the number of these thinkers will be less in democratic than in other ages; and that our posterity will tend more and more to a single division into two parts —some relinquishing Christianity entirely, and others returning to the bosom of the Church of Rome."

I broke it up to make it easier to read, but that is all one paragraph from Chapter 23, "The Influence of Democracy Upon Religion", which opens with, "I have laid it down in a preceding chapter that men can not do without dogmatical belief; and even that it is very much to be desired that such belief should exist among them. I now add that of all the kinds of dogmatical belief the most desirable appears to me to be dogmatical belief in matters of religion; and this is a very clear inference, even from no higher consideration than the interests of this world." It is worth reading as a whole.

3/5 of the founding members of Founding Fridays.
In other Julie news, I'm attempting to resist my jealousy that Dakota is in Boston visiting Matty right now. Lovers of truth, good beer and American Studies are we three!

God bless y'all and this country. You're in my prayers as I bike to work, close my eyes during typing and find holy in the human.


  1. It really annoys me when people try to equate homosexual unions with marrying across race, ethnicity, nationality, socio-economic status, religion, or whatever. I'd like to know who invented that one. Although I'm aware that a number of early black civil rights activists (e.g., Alain Locke, Langston Hughes) were gay, I don't recall reading about anyone linking the fight for racial equality with one for sexual preference. But now many African Americans are bullied into accepting Gay Rights as a logical conclusion, and homosexuality is one of the chief causes for the black community falling apart.

  2. I actually wrote my thesis on the degradation of the family with the expansion of government, focusing on the black American family and the 1965 Moynihan Report. Equating the Gay Rights to the 1960s Civil Rights for blacks is insulting and definitely not the same thing. I think the fact that people are trying to redefine marriage only further proves how necessary it is to protect it by keeping its original intent and purposes.

  3. Really? That would be interesting to read.

  4. I like to think so! And the panel of professors I defended it to liked it as well. (Not that their questioning went easy on me because of it!) One asked if I'm planning on getting it published and I think I'll start working on it again in a few months. It was interesting to research, at the very least. There's more there than people think, it's just about accepting facts and not holding on to visions of how one wants things to be.