Monday, July 15, 2013

Replies to "gay marriage" arguments 2

Read the original Replies to "gay marriage" arguments here.

The Marriage of Tobias and Sarah by Havickszoon (1673)

Following are two additional arguments set forth by proponents of gay "marriage" and thoughts on each.

God loves everyone, including gay people. Therefore if you want to be godly, you should endorse gay "marriage." If you don't, you are a "hater."
The premise of this argument may be tricky to spot because there is a subtle switch from the premise to the conclusion. To rephrase the above argument, it claims: God loves everyone, therefore, God condones anyone's behavior because to love includes condoning behavior. However, this is clearly fallacious thinking. It is perhaps a breed of the fallacy of equivocation in which two different concepts, a person and the morality of a behavior, are wrongly equated. In fact, in the above argument, the arguer himself does not condone anyone who does not endorse gay "marriage," which ironically suggests that arguer himself does not love everyone according to the standard of the very argument he proposes. It is also extremely easy to find the label "hater" thrown about in forums or comboxes by supporters of gay "marriage."

Additionally, a reasonable person can see that condoning behavior is not always an act of love. If a child steals cookies from another child's lunch bag, his mother would not exhibit love to that child if she condoned his theft as acceptable. If she disapproved of his behavior, would that mean she did not love her child? Would it mean she hated her child? Of course not. By telling the child it is not okay to steal, the mother exhibits love. In other words, it is not an act of love to confirm someone in a lie or illicit act.

The teaching that God loves everyone is considered a teaching of Christian scripture and often used by proponents of gay "marriage" in the above context. Yet even in Scripture, we can see God condemning, say, idolatrous behavior in ancient Israel, even if that practice was popular and widespread.

The Catechism teaches the following about persons who are confronted by same-sex attraction:
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. ... They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. (CCC#2358)
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is aware of the sense of rejection that may be experienced by some with homosexual tendencies:
Essential to the success of ministry to persons with a homosexual inclination will be the support and leadership of the bishop and other pastoral leaders. A welcoming stance of Christian love by the leadership and the community as a whole is essential for this important work. This is particularly important because more than a few persons with a homosexual inclination feel themselves to be unwelcome and rejected. (USCCB, Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination, 2006)
So when it comes to matters of love, the Church is aware and should be given due credit for emphasizing the love that should be given to those who face same-sex attraction. Christians and non-Christians should be able to agree as a principle that human beings possess the dignity to be treated with love. However, as established, love is not defined by the approval of any behavior.

As well, the above argument does not confront whether or not a marriage can even occur without one man and one woman exchanging vows. It is the Church's position that it is impossible for a marriage to even occur without the proper ingredients.

It should also be noted that the Church does not condemn someone simply for being confronted with same-sex attraction. Just as the Church exhorts a single person, clergyman, or religious celibate, the Church exhorts those facing same-sex attraction to chastity and acknowledges their capacity to approach Christian perfection!
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. (CCC#2359)
Those who dismiss the Church's position without confronting the Church's theology on the dignity of persons and the communal complementarity of the created genders do a disservice. As radio host Al Kresta has been known to say, "A mark of intellectual maturity is to be able to represent your opponent's position in a way that your opponent would recognize as fair and accurate." Blurting out things like "bigot!", "you just follow a two-thousand year old book!", or similar interjections are unworthy arguments.

People are "born" homosexual. Therefore, gay "marriage" should be condoned.
This argument is related to the other buzz-phrase, "marriage equality," which claims homosexual "marriage" is the same thing as marriage between complementary genders. The thinking seems to be that since people are born heterosexual and are allowed to marry, therefore people who are "born" homosexual should be allowed to marry a person of their same gender.

There are at least a couple problems with this reasoning. The first is the lack of conclusive evidence that persons with homosexual tendencies are "born" with those tendencies. There are a number of scientific studies refuting the idea that genetics is the reason for homosexual tendencies, including the fact that many identical twins do not share the same sexual attractions.

Consider also the principle espoused in the above argument. It says, if a person is born with Tendency X, then society should condone any enterprise which allows them to perform Tendency X. But what if a person is born with a tendency that all or most of society recognizes as disordered? Some scientific studies show that the brains of criminals exhibit abnormalities in certain areas. Hypothesize for a moment that someone is born with a certain brain abnormality that tends that person toward some violent, criminal behavior. Now apply the above argument. It would say something like: If a person is born with violent, criminal tendencies, society should condone their behavior as acceptable.

In other words, whether or not a person is born with a certain tendency, does not tell us whether or not that tendency is beneficial for society, much less moral.

Consider also what such proponents of gay "marriage" are asking: that the union of two same-gendered people be recognized as marriage, on the grounds that the individuals are "born" that way. But if, as the Church argues, marriage is only possible with one man and one woman, it is irrelevant what sexual tendencies any individual is born with because marriage does not depend on that. To give an analogy similar to my Estonia analogy last post, let's say there is a full-grown adult, Skippy, who would like to be recognized as six-feet tall. However, Skippy is, in reality, five-feet tall. No matter what a court or legislature may say, they cannot "write" Skippy's height at six-feet and make it a reality. In the same way, neither the way a person is born, nor a government declaration can alter marriage as anything but the union of one man and one woman.

Related reading:
How redefining marriage harms society by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse


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