Archive for the ‘Homosexualism’ Category

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What Would The Greeks Have Thought Of Gay Marriage? –Robert R. Reilly

November 15, 2013
The Rape (kidnapping) of Ganymede. Early 16th-century Renaissance ceiling panel, Villa Farnesina, Rome, by Baldassare Peruzzi. Ganymede, a beautiful prince from Troy, was the son of King Tros. Ganymede was considered to be the most beautiful of mortals. He was carried off by the gods (in one story by Zeus himself, or by Zeus in the form of an eagle) to Olympus as Zeus's lover, and to serve as cup-bearer to the gods, a position previously held by Hera’s daughter Hebe, goddess of eternal youth. Zeus replaced Hebe with Ganymede after she spilled a flask of nectar. Zeus immortalized Ganymede, his favorite server, with a heavenly constellation in the form of the eagle he had assumed when abducting Ganymede to Olympus: 'Aquila' (eagle), also 'Aquarius' (water bearer). One of Jupiter's many moons is also named after Ganymede. The Zeus/Ganymede myth is the first indication of male homosexuality in Greek literature.)

The Rape (kidnapping) of Ganymede. Early 16th-century Renaissance ceiling panel, Villa Farnesina, Rome, by Baldassare Peruzzi. Ganymede, a beautiful prince from Troy, was the son of King Tros. Ganymede was considered to be the most beautiful of mortals. He was carried off by the gods (in one story by Zeus himself, or by Zeus in the form of an eagle) to Olympus as Zeus’s lover, and to serve as cup-bearer to the gods, a position previously held by Hera’s daughter Hebe, goddess of eternal youth. Zeus replaced Hebe with Ganymede after she spilled a flask of nectar. Zeus immortalized Ganymede, his favorite server, with a heavenly constellation in the form of the eagle he had assumed when abducting Ganymede to Olympus: ‘Aquila’ (eagle), also ‘Aquarius’ (water bearer). One of Jupiter’s many moons is also named after Ganymede. The Zeus/Ganymede myth is the first indication of male homosexuality in Greek literature.)

The great classical philosophers would have regarded it as an absurdity, despite their partial tolerance of homosexual love. Reblogged from Mercatonet.com

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It is ironic that the proponents of homosexuality so often point to ancient Greece as their paradigm because of its high state of culture and its partial acceptance of homosexuality or, more accurately, pederasty. Though some ancient Greeks did write paeans to homosexual love, it did not occur to any of them to propose homosexual relationships as the basis for marriage in their societies. The only homosexual relationship that was accepted was between an adult male and a male adolescent. This relationship was to be temporary, as the youth was expected to get married and start a family as soon as he reached maturity.

The idea that someone was a “homosexual” for life or had this feature as a permanent identity would have struck them as more than odd. In other words, “homosexuality”, for which a word in Greek did not exist at the time (or in any other language until the late 19th century), was purely transitory.

It appears that many of these mentoring relationships in ancient Greece were chaste and that the ones that were not rarely involved sodomy. Homosexual relationships between mature male adults were not accepted. This is hardly the idealized homosexual paradise that contemporary “gay” advocates harken back to in an attempt to legitimize behavior that would have scandalized the Greeks.

What is especially ironic is that ancient Greece’s greatest contribution to Western civilization was philosophy, which discovered that the mind can know things, as distinct from just having opinions about them, that objective reality exists, and that there is some purpose implied in its construction.

The very idea of Nature and natural law arose as a product of this philosophy, whose first and perhaps greatest exponents, Socrates and Plato, were unambiguous in their condemnation of homosexual acts as unnatural. In the Laws, Plato’s last book, the Athenian speaker says that, “I think that the pleasure is to be deemed natural which arises out of the intercourse between men and women; but that the intercourse of men with men, or of women with women, is contrary to nature, and that the bold attempt was originally due to unbridled lust.” (Laws 636C; see also Symposium of Xenophon, 8:34, Plato’s Symposium, 219B-D).

For Socrates, the sight of beauty is not to be taken as something in itself, but as a reflection of divine Beauty and the ultimate Good toward which Eros directs the soul. It is an error, therefore, to be diverted by the reflection in one’s search for the ultimate Good, which is the source of beauty. Beauty stirs and awakens the soul, but it is philosophy that provides the means of perceiving and coming to know the Good.

As a consequence of this metaphysical view, Socrates sees the erotic attraction of a grown man (erastes) for a beautiful male youth (eromenos or paidika) within the perspective of the erotic drive for wisdom. This drive will be thwarted by a life of self-indulgence and can proceed only with a life of self-discipline.

Therefore, the relationship between the erastes and the eromenos should be of the older enlightening the younger in philosophical education. This means that any physical touching by the older man of the younger must be in regards to the latter “as a son,” as Socrates puts it, and not further than that.

What went further than that, Socrates condemned. He loathed sodomy. According to Xenophon in The Memorabilia (i 2.29f.), Socrates saw that Kritias was sexually importuning the youth of whom Kritias was enamored, “wanting to deal with him in the manner of those who enjoy the body for sexual intercourse”. Socrates objected that “what he asks is not a good thing.” Socrates said that, “Kritias was no better off than a pig if he wanted to scratch himself against Euthydemos as piglets do against stones.”

In Phaedrus, Socrates makes clear the moral superiority of the loving male relationship that avoids being sexualized: “If now the better elements of the mind, which lead to a well-ordered life and to philosophy, prevail, they live a life of happiness and harmony here on earth, self-controlled and orderly, holding in subjection that which causes evil in the soul and giving freedom to that which makes for virtue…”

By their chastity, these Platonic lovers have, according to another translation of the text, “enslaved” the source of moral evil in themselves and “liberated” the force for good. This was the kind of mentoring relationship of which Socrates and Plato approved. On the other hand, “he who is forced to follow pleasure and not good” because he is enslaved to his passions will perforce bring harm to the one whom he loves because he is trying to please himself, rather than seeking the good of the other.

In the Laws, Plato makes clear that moral virtue in respect to sexual desire is not only necessary to the right order of the soul, but is at the heart of a well-ordered polis. The Athenian speaker says:

“… I had an idea for reinforcing the law about the natural use of the intercourse which procreates children, abstaining from the male, not deliberately killing human progeny or ‘sowing in rocks and stones’, where it will never take root and be endowed with growth, abstaining too from all female soil in which you would not want what you have sown to grow.

“This law when it has become permanent and prevails — if it has rightly become dominant in other cases, just as it prevails now regarding intercourse with parents — confers innumerable benefits. In the first place, it has been made according to nature; also, it effects a debarment from erotic fury and insanity, all kinds of adultery and all excesses in drink and food, and it makes man truly affectionate to their own wives: other blessings also would ensue, in infinite number, if one could make sure of this law.”
(The Laws 838-839)

The central insight of classical Greek philosophy is that the order of the city is the order of the soul writ large. If there is disorder in the city, it is because of disorder in the souls of its citizens. This is why virtue in the lives of the citizens is necessary for a well-ordered polis. This notion is reflected in the Athenian’s statement concerning the political benefits of the virtue of chastity.

The relationship between virtue and political order is, of course, par excellence, the subject of Aristotle’s works. It was a preoccupation of not only philosophy, but of drama as well. Just read The Bacchae by Euripides. Euripides and the Classical Greeks knew that Eros is not a plaything. In The Bacchae, as brilliantly explicated by E. Michael Jones, Euripides showed exactly how unsafe sex is when disconnected from the moral order. When Dionysus visits Thebes, he entices King Penthius to view secretly the women dancing naked on the mountainside in Dionysian revelries. Because Penthius succumbs to his desire to see “their wild obscenities,” the political order is toppled, and the queen mother, Agave, one of the bacchants, ends up with the severed head of her son Penthius in her lap  – an eerie premonition of abortion.

The lesson is clear: Once Eros is released from the bonds of family, Dionysian passions can possess the soul. Giving in to them is a form of madness because erotic desire is not directed toward any end that can satisfy it. It is insatiable. “That which causes evil in the soul” – in which Plato includes homosexual intercourse – will ultimately result in political disorder.

For Aristotle, the irreducible core of a polity is the family. Thus, Aristotle begins The Politics not with a single individual, but with a description of a man and a woman together in the family, without which the rest of society cannot exist. As he says in The Politics, “first of all, there must necessarily be a union or pairing of those who cannot exist without one another.” Later, he states that “husband and wife are alike essential parts of the family.”

Without the family, there are no villages, which are associations of families, and without villages, there is no polis. “Every state is [primarily] composed of households,” Aristotle asserts. In other words, without households – meaning husbands and wives together in families – there is no state. In this sense, the family is the pre-political institution. The state does not make marriage possible; marriage makes the state possible. Homosexual marriage would have struck Aristotle as an absurdity since you could not found a polity on its necessarily sterile relations. This is why the state has a legitimate interest in marriage, because, without it, it has no future.

If Aristotle is correct – that the family is the primary and irreducible element of society – then chastity becomes the indispensable political principle because it is the virtue which regulates and makes possible the family – the cornerstone unit of the polis. Without the practice of this virtue, the family becomes inconceivable. Without it, the family disintegrates.

A healthy family is posited upon the proper and exclusive sexual relationship between a husband and wife. The family alone is capable of providing the necessary stability for the profound relationship which sexual union both symbolizes and cements and for the welfare of the children that issue from it.

Violations of chastity undermine not only the family, but society as a whole. This accounts for Aristotle’s pronounced condemnation of adultery, which he finds all the more odious if committed while the wife is pregnant: “For husband or wife to be detected in the commission of adultery – at whatever time it may happen, in whatever shape or form, during all the period of their being married and being called husband and wife – must be made a matter of disgrace. But to be detected in adultery during the very period of bringing children into the world is a thing to be punished by a stigma of infamy proportionate to such an offense.” (The Politics, XVI, 18) Aristotle understood that the laws were, or should be, ordered toward the formation of a certain kind of person – toward the realization of a virtuous citizenry.

This is why Aristotle forbids adultery, wants to make it disgraceful in all circumstances, not only because it subverts virtue, but because it attacks the political foundations of society. Adultery becomes a political problem because it violates chastity, which is indispensable to a rightly ordered polis. There is no comparable condemnation of adultery in homosexual marriage in Aristotle because such an institution would have been inconceivable to him, as it has been throughout history until recent times.

That is because it is a self-contradiction. Marriage cannot be based on an act which is in itself a violation of chastity, because something cannot be its opposite. A homosexual household would not make sense to Aristotle since it could not contain parents and all the generational relations that spring from them, which makes the polis possible. What did not make sense then still does not make sense now, and for the same reasons.

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The Big Same-Sex Marriage Lie — Ryan T. Anderson

October 4, 2013
Radical advocates of same-sex marriage don’t think marriage should exist, at least not as a state-sponsored institution. They think marriage is simply an intense emotional union -- whatever sort of interpersonal relationship consenting adults want it to be. Their victory would leave marriage with no essential features, no fixed core as a social reality. And if marriage has no form and serves no essential purpose, how would society protect the needs of children -- the prime victims of our nonmarital sexual culture -- without government growing more intrusive and more expensive?

Radical advocates of same-sex marriage don’t think marriage should exist, at least not as a state-sponsored institution. They think marriage is simply an intense emotional union — whatever sort of interpersonal relationship consenting adults want it to be. Their victory would leave marriage with no essential features, no fixed core as a social reality. And if marriage has no form and serves no essential purpose, how would society protect the needs of children — the prime victims of our nonmarital sexual culture — without government growing more intrusive and more expensive?

Ryan Anderson is the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at The Heritage Foundation. He is co-author of the book “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.”

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Same-sex marriage will never be widely accepted in America for a simple reason: It’s based on a lie. But don’t take my word on this; leading LGBT scholars and activists say as much.

Take Masha Gessen, acclaimed author and former Russian director of Radio Liberty. “Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there — because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change,” Gessen said last year.

Last month, I was part of a debate at the NYU School of Law at which Judith Stacey, a sociology professor at the university, declared: “Children certainly do not need both a mother and a father.”

Stacey went on to suggest that three parents might be better than two. In fact, while asserting she is in favor of same-sex marriage because of “equal justice,” Stacey admitted she isn’t a fan of marriage. “Why should there be marriage at all?” she asked.

I pointed out that marriage exists, and the government takes an interest in marriage because the sexual union of a man and woman produces children — and children need both a mom and a dad.

I quoted President Obama making a closely related point:

“We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”

Stacey’s response? President Obama “was deeply misled.” Indeed, “Obama was dead wrong.”

But most Americans know that on this point, Obama is right. Children are better off with both a mother and a father. And marriage is the institution that unites a man and a woman as husband and wife to be father and mother to the children their union produces.

Obama is wrong, though, in his “evolved” thinking that we can redefine marriage to make fathers optional while still insisting that they are essential. This inherent contradiction empowers those who want to weaken the foundation of the nuclear family.

Take Stacey, for example. In congressional testimony against the Defense of Marriage Act, she expressed hope that redefining marriage would give marriage “varied, creative and adaptive contours,” including “small group marriages.”

Stacey was among more than 300 scholars and advocates who signed a statement, “Beyond Marriage,” calling for legal recognition of sexual relationships involving more than two partners. During our NYU debate, she asserted that nothing gives the state an interest in monogamy.

The very day of the debate, Slate posted an article headlined “Legalize Polygamy!” The author, Jillian Keenan, argues: “Just like heterosexual marriage is no better or worse than homosexual marriage, marriage between two consenting adults is not inherently more or less ‘correct’ than marriage among three (or four, or six) consenting adults.”

She concludes: “Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist and sex-positive choice.”

And this is why the marriage redefiners are doomed to fail: Redefinition has no logical stopping point. Its logic leads to the effective elimination of marriage as a legal institution. This will harm women, children and society as a whole.

If we redefine marriage to exclude the norm of men and women complementing each other in (ideally) a lifelong familial bond, Gessen admits, “The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change . . . I don’t think it should exist.”

What an amazing claim: Radical advocates of same-sex marriage don’t think marriage should exist, at least not as a state-sponsored institution. They think marriage is simply an intense emotional union — whatever sort of interpersonal relationship consenting adults want it to be.

Their victory would leave marriage with no essential features, no fixed core as a social reality. And if marriage has no form and serves no essential purpose, how would society protect the needs of children — the prime victims of our nonmarital sexual culture — without government growing more intrusive and more expensive?

Same-sex marriage rejects the anthropological truth that men and women are different and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman and the social reality that children need both a mother and a father.

In the end, the truth about marriage will win out.

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The Geometry Of Marriage – Peter Kreeft

August 8, 2013
This monumental flower painting is one of O'Keeffe's early masterpieces. Enlarging the petals far beyond lifesize proportions, she forces the viewer to observe the small details that might otherwise be overlooked. When paintings from this group were first shown in 1924, even Alfred Stieglitz, her husband and dealer, was shocked by their audacity. A perfect introduction to a topic about sex and marriage the metaphysics of the seen and unseen.

This monumental flower painting is one of O’Keeffe’s early masterpieces. Enlarging the petals far beyond lifesize proportions, she forces the viewer to observe the small details that might otherwise be overlooked. When paintings from this group were first shown in 1924, even Alfred Stieglitz, her husband and dealer, was shocked by their audacity. A perfect introduction to a topic about sex and marriage the metaphysics of the seen and unseen.

 

An Argument about Same-Sex Marriage from Dr. Peter Kreeft, May 2012. Originally published as Do Squares Have Three Sides? I like my title better.

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The current demand to redefine marriage to include same-sex as well as opposite-sex couples is often motivated by goodwill, the will to fairness and happiness, while opposition to this redefinition is often motivated by bad will, the fear or hatred of homosexuals. Nevertheless, the rightness or wrongness of same-sex marriage has to be decided on its own merits, not by taking the moral temperature of the advocates on both sides. For

  1. We have no reliable moral thermometer to stick into people’s motives; and
  2. We often have bad motives for good deeds or good motives for bad deeds; and
  3. We need to judge the deed, not the doer.

Two Arguments From Authority
First, the Catholic Church has always taught, and always will teach, these two things with equal insistence: that we should love all sinners, both heterosexual and homosexual, and hate all sins, both heterosexual and homosexual; that we should love all persons, including homosexual persons, and that homosexual sex is “unnatural,” “disordered,” and “sinful.”

Many societies in the past did not believe the first of these two teachings (“love the  sinner”), but not one society in all of human history ever disbelieved the second, except for small  segments in ancient Greece and Rome. In the rest of the world this is still true, but in our society, i.e. in what we still call “Western civilization,” it is exactly the opposite.

But the Church’s counter cultural mission in every time and in every society is to try to conform the mind of man to the mind of God, not vice versa. This assumes, of course, that the Church has “the mind of God,” i.e. divine revelation, and not just human opinion.

That is the essential reason for being a Catholic. And that is the decisive reason for Catholics to oppose same-sex marriage, even if they understand nothing else about the issue. If the Church is officially wrong about that, then she is wrong about her own authority as the infallible voice of God Incarnate; and in that case she is a false prophet, arrogantly claiming “Thus says the Lord” for her own fallible opinions.

And in that case she may very well be wrong also about anything else she teaches, e.g. that we ought to love all people, including homosexuals.

Second, a reason for opposing same-sex marriage is less decisive but still serious. It is not religious or definitive, only pragmatic and probable: it is what G. K. Chesterton calls “the democracy of the dead,” the consensus of all other societies before our own. The vast majority of all mankind, a cross section of all times, places, cultures, and religions, is a serious authority. It is not infallible, and it may be wrong about some things, but that is far less likely than that only one culture, the one we happen to be in, is right and the rest of humanity is wrong. (And even in our culture, only a few nations, and none south of a certain line of latitude, have a majority of approvers.)

I can think of one and only one moral issue on which the vast majority of human beings in all societies in the past were wrong, and only religious Jews and Christians were right: that we should love everyone altruistically, absolutely, and unconditionally, even the wicked and even our enemies.

Argument From Reason
When we turn to arguments from reason rather than arguments from authority, the first thing we must agree about is the need to think honestly, open-mindedly, and clearly, especially about important things, and most especially about important things that we feel very passionate about, like sex. This is what I want to explore for a few minutes, as a philosopher.

It is true that we can change our thoughts, and change our definitions of things, of anything at all. Some of these redefinition’s are possible — e.g. we can criminalize or decriminalize many things, including homosexual acts But some redefinition’s are impossible. We can call squares triangles, but that does not make them into triangles. Calling cats dogs does not make them dogs. And calling homosexual friendships marriages does not make them marriages. This does not depend on whether they are good or bad; it depends on what they are; it depends on their nature, their essence. 

Unless there are no natures or essences, i.e. unless we are complete nominalists, and therefore skeptics. (If you are one of these people, and if you actually practice the philosophy you preach, then please do not invite me to your house for dinner, for you must believe that it is impossible to draw a real and absolute line between people and animals, in which case you may be either a vegetarian or a cannibal — two tastes I do not share.)

What Is Marriage?
The whole question of homosexual marriage depends on just one thing: on what marriage is, or rather on whether marriage has a “what” at all, a nature. If marriage is not a natural essence but an artificial human invention, like a game or a human law, than we can redefine it because we invented it in the first place.

Because we invented football, we can not only change the rules but we could even call it baseball if we wanted to. We could say there were two kinds of football, and one of them used to be called baseball. If we invent a thing, we can redefine it. If not, not.

The question can be phrased this way: is the answer to the question “What is marriage?” dependent on our reason or our will? Artificial things are dependent on our will, for we willed them into existence. Natural things are dependent on our reason; we discover them rather than inventing them. The decisive question about homosexual marriage is just that: whether marriage is artificial, man-made, and dependent on human wills, or natural, discovered, and dependent on human nature.

The issue is not just psychological, or scientific, or religious, or ethical, but philosophical, in fact metaphysical. The deepest reason why popular opinion has changed in favor of same-sex marriage in industrialized countries (but nowhere else) is that these countries no longer think in terms of what is “natural.” We no longer understand, or feel the force of, the old notion of “nature,” which meant the essence of a thing as manifested by its natural activities.

The old notion of “human nature” assumed an inherent, unchangeable telos or purpose or design in it. E.g. “the reproductive system” was designed for reproduction, as the eye was designed to see. (Duh!) But to the typically modern mind “nature” means simply simply stuff, the universe, whatever we can see. It has become an empirical concept, not a philosophical concept.

That is why the notion of “unnatural acts” no longer has a holding-place in our minds. To the modern mind, the difference between homosexual acts (or desires) and heterosexual acts (or desires) is like the difference between the acts on what we now call a football field and the acts on what we now call a baseball field. “Different strokes for different folks” is quite reasonable there.

And if football players have traditionally had special privileges which were denied to baseball players, we feel, quite reasonably, that this injustice must be undone. Let us be inclusive; let’s include “baseball” under “football.” Let’s recognize the artificial quotation marks around these two terms. Let’s be Nominalists: they’re just man-made names, after all, not inherent natures.

An Illustration From Geometry
But suppose marriage is not like a game but like a geometrical figure, or a cat: something discovered, not invented. Then redefining it would be confusion. It would mess up the whole geometry of marriage, so to speak, as calling cats dogs would mess up the whole veterinary treatment of both animals.

And if marriage is as natural as geometry, then those who voted for a “Defense of Squares” act would not necessarily be motivated by a personal fear or hate of triangles, but by a love of geometry.

This is the first necessary thing for people on both sides of this deep divide to understand: that their opponents are not loveless cads, idiots or liars. There is an inherent reasonableness to both sides.

But they contradict each other. And therefore one side must be wrong and the other right. For the law of non-contradiction, at least, is not invented but discovered. There is no alternative to it. Its opposite is literally unthinkable. Contradictories are incompatible. The concept of “same sex marriage” may or may not be an oxymoron, but the concept of ”compatible contradictories” certainly is. Two propositions that contradict each other cannot both be true. That’s why neither side can compromise: not because these two groups of people intolerantly exclude each other but because their ideas do.

The traditional definition of marriage contains four properties, as a square contains four sides. If you subtract any one side from a square, you don’t change the nature of squares so as to have a larger set of squares, one that includes three-sided squares as well as four-sided squares; you simply don’t have a square any more, but something else, a triangle.

Four Dimensions of Marriage
That something else may be good or bad — it may be just as good as a square, or it may be less good — but it’s not a square. It’s a triangle. The four dimensions of marriage, as traditionally defined, are:

  1. Freedom
  2. Exclusivity
  3. Permanence, and
  4. Sex

It’s the fourth dimension that is most in question today — though the others are also, and there is no reason why any or all of them cannot be questioned and changed if marriage is artificial, like football.

1. Freedom
Small children cannot marry because they have not yet the maturity to make such a binding covenant freely, just as they cannot yet make legal contracts. “Shotgun marriages” are not marriages then, for the same reason. They are oxymorons. Arranged marriages are not necessarily oxymorons, but they are valid (i.e. real marriages) but only if both parties freely consent to them.

2. Exclusivity
Marriage is between two persons, not one, not three, not many. There can be covenant relationships among more than two persons, but they are not marriages. They are friendships or communes or kibbutzes or states.

3. Permanence
Marriage is for life. Perhaps divorce is literally impossible (as the Catholic Church says), perhaps it is possible and permissible as an extreme, emergency treatment, like amputation, but it is not natural, normal, or intended. Marrying a person is not like leasing a car. That’s why the argument for premarital sex and cohabitation (“let’s give the car a road test before we buy it”) is not only a bad analogy but an insulting one.

4. Sex
Marriage, as traditionally defined, obviously has something to do with sex. The sex between the married couple is to be (a) faithful and exclusive and (b) open to children (that’s part of the definition of a family). This second feature is why it has to be heterosexual: because heterosexual sex, unlike homosexual sex, can and often does produce children. That’s its nature, and its natural end, purpose, design, telos. (The “reproductive system,” remember!) And that’s the aspect that’s controversial today. Essential to the traditional idea of marriage is the idea that marriage, by its nature, produces children, is for children, is about children, is for the sake of children’s existence and welfare.

That’s the ultimate point of traditional marriage. To be complete, marriage needs children, and to be complete children need to be born into a marriage and a family. Every child needs the protection of a family, and every child needs two parents, not only to be procreated but also to be educated, by two different role models. Men and women are “hard-wired” with different instincts and different talents, and children need both. Deliberately depriving a child of a father or a mother is child abuse. What motivates (or should motivate) opposition to same-sex marriage is not hatred of homosexuals but love of children.

Notice how dependent this argument is on the old notion of “nature” and what is “natural.” This is an a priori concept, not an empirical one. It’s true that empirical psychological studies have reinforced it. But they cannot prove it. Such studies have shown that many psychological disorders come from the lack of a father or a mother in a child’s life. But these studies cannot of themselves decide the issue, since they can only compare the probable consequences of the two different arrangements, not adjudicate their intrinsic rightness.

There’s no way around it: philosophy is going to have to decide this issue. Or mythology, which is unconscious, instinctive philosophy. Is there such a thing as “the nature of things”? “To be or not to be, that is the question” not only for traditional marriage but also for Mother Nature herself. How big is the camel whose nose is newly under our tent? Read Brave New World, the most prophetic book of our time, to find out.

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Treating Homosexuals With Dignity Means Telling Them The Truth —- John–Henry Westen

July 22, 2013
Wojciech Giertych, O.P. is an English Roman Catholic priest in the Dominican Order. He was appointed theologian of the Papal Household on 1 December 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI. This post, which since the Middle Ages has been held by Dominicans, is tasked with providing advice to the Pope on theological issues, as well as checking papal texts for theological clarity. Giertych also serves on the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses and as a consultant to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the International Theological Commission, and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Wojciech Giertych, O.P. is an English Roman Catholic priest in the Dominican Order. He was appointed theologian of the Papal Household on 1 December 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI. This post, which since the Middle Ages has been held by Dominicans, is tasked with providing advice to the Pope on theological issues, as well as checking papal texts for theological clarity. Giertych also serves on the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses and as a consultant to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the International Theological Commission, and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Reblogged from a LifeSite News article.

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In an interview with LifeSiteNews.com, Papal Theologian Rev. Wojciech Giertych, spoke of the need to treat persons with homosexual inclination with dignity, adding that dignity means telling them the truthWhat truth? “Homosexuality is against human nature.”  And what is needed is to “pastorally help such people to return to an emotional and moral integrity.” 

Appointed in 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI, it is Fr. Giertych’s job — Theologian of the Papal Household — to review the texts given to the Pope for his speeches for theological accuracy.  LifeSiteNews was granted access into the papal palace wherein Fr. Giertych has his apartment for the interview.

Asked about the problem of homosexuality, gay ‘marriage’ and their incursion on religious freedom, Fr. Giertych noted “this is not an issue which is reacting against the Church’s teaching – this is a fundamental anthropological change.” It is, he said, “a distortion of humanity which is being proposed as an ideology, which is being supported, financed, promoted by those who are powerful in the world in many, many, countries simultaneously.”

“The Church,” he added, “is the only institution in the world which has the courage to stand up to this ideology.”

He continued, noting that the increasing role of the state in society has resulted in a substantial lowering of ethical standards:

“Now, what we are observing in many countries world–wide, certainly in the 20th and the 21st century, there is an enormous extension of the responsibility of States. Now, the more the State is encroaching on the economy, on family life, on education — the State is saying that only the State has the monopoly to decide about these things. The more the State is omnipotent, the more the ethical standards are lowered, because it’s impossible to promote high ethical standards by the State.”

The 61–year–old of Polish background said,

“I’ve seen the Communist ideology, which seemed to be so powerful, and it’s gone! Ideologies come and go, and they have the idea of changing humanity, of changing human nature. Human nature cannot be changed; it can be distorted. But the elevation of perversion to the level of a fundamental value that has to be nurtured and nourished and promoted — this is absolutely sick.”

“The Church, standing up to this ideology which we are seeing now in the Western world, the Church is saying something very normal and humane, which corresponds to the understanding of humanity, which humanity has had for millennia, long before Christ, long before the appearance of Christianity,” he said. “So it’s not a question of the Church fighting the ideology, it’s a question of the distortion of humanity, and the Church standing up in defense of human dignity.”

Speaking of practicing homosexuals Fr. Giertych said, “of course they have to be treated with dignity, everybody has to be treated with dignity, even sinners have to be treated with dignity, but the best way of treating people with dignity is to tell them the truth.”

“And if we escape from the truth we’re not treating them with dignity,” he added.

The papal theologian drew an analogy to smoking saying that helping people stop smoking is not denying their dignity.

He said:

“Homosexuality is against human nature. Now, there are many things that people do that are unnatural – smoking cigarettes is also unnatural. You can live with the addiction to tobacco, you can die of it, but there are people who are addicted to tobacco, yet they live and we meet with them and we deal with them and we don’t deny their dignity. So certainly people with the homosexual difficulty have to be respected … And so the important thing is how to pastorally help such people to return to an emotional and moral integrity.”

Fr. Geirtych noted that for many there is a lessened culpability for falling into a homosexual lifestyle due to hardships endured.

Homosexual activity is also tied to the contraceptive culture, Geirtych explained:

“…we began talking about contraception, and homosexuality is tied with it because since contraception destroys the quality of relationships amongst the spouses, and it generates sexual license outside marriage, and it reduces sexuality to an easy source of pleasure with no responsibility, that pleasure without responsibility is never satisfying, and it generates like a drug. It generates a hunger for even more pleasure, which is even more not truly satisfying, not giving ultimate happiness, and so there is a search for more perverted types of sexual pleasure, which can never fulfill the human person.”

The Pope’s theologian also explained the distinction between the words “homosexual” and “gay” and the danger to someone who identifies themselves as being “gay”.

“…in the American language you have a distinction between the word ‘homosexual’ and ‘gay’. A homosexual is a person who has, to some extent, this homosexual condition. Somebody may have this difficulty, and his friends, his neighbors will not know about this. He’s dealing with this in cooperation with the grace of God and may come out of this difficulty and come back to normal human relationships.

Sometimes adolescents, at the moment when their sexual sensibility is appearing, if they have been distorted by others they go through a phase of difficulty in this field. But as they mature they will grow out of it. Whereas a ‘gay’ is somebody who says, ‘I am like this, I will be like this, I want to be treated like this, and I want special privileges because I am like this.’ Now if somebody is not only homosexual, but a gay, declaring, ‘This is how I am, and I want this to be respected legally, socially and so on’ — such a person will never come out of the difficulty.”

He also spoke of the danger of identifying with the homosexual condition as if it was the “supreme expression of the identity of the individual” which would deprive the individual of healing and happiness.

The papal theologian concluded noting the Christ is both the model for a healthy humanity and the source of healing for distortions of humanity. “Christ shows us a humanity which is supremely transformed from within by the divinity, “ he said. “Now, we have access to the grace of God through our faith, through the sacraments, and, by living out the grace of God, that grace of God heals whatever distortions we may have, whatever difficulties we may have, on the condition that we initiate, we commence the pilgrimage, we start the journey of living out our lives with the grace of God.”

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No to Gay Marriage but Yes to Gay Adoption? — Michael Paterson-Seymour

June 13, 2013
Lévy-Soussan believes that in order to be successful, adoption must lead to a psychological filiation that “allows for a nexus of the three elements that are basic to any society: the biological, the social, and the subjective dimensions specific to human beings. The psychological strength of this construction exceeds the purely biological connection of filiation and provides it with security. The security and ‘truth’ of this filiation are based on childbirth, on a potential or actual procreative relationship between a man and a woman, allowing the fictional filiation through the encounter with the other sex, alive and of the same generation. The fictional filiation can then be experienced as true, consistent and reasonable.” The difference in sex between the two members of the parental couple thus seems to him indispensable if the adoption “graft” is to take.

Lévy-Soussan believes that in order to be successful, adoption must lead to a psychological filiation that “allows for a nexus of the three elements that are basic to any society: the biological, the social, and the subjective dimensions specific to human beings. The psychological strength of this construction exceeds the purely biological connection of filiation and provides it with security. The security and ‘truth’ of this filiation are based on childbirth, on a potential or actual procreative relationship between a man and a woman, allowing the fictional filiation through the encounter with the other sex, alive and of the same generation. The fictional filiation can then be experienced as true, consistent and reasonable.” The difference in sex between the two members of the parental couple thus seems to him indispensable if the adoption “graft” is to take.

Michael Paterson-Seymour farms in Ayrshire, Scotland and also practices Scottish and French law. Re-blogged from First Things:

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Paul Ryan’s recent off-the-cuff statement that he supports gay adoption while he opposes gay marriage is as likely to be a one-time slip as a change in position. Whether or not it represents his real view, it certainly is gaining traction among some Christians. This trend reveals a profound ignorance of the reasons for opposing same-sex marriage even among those who do oppose it. If Americans are to better understand the case for opposing same-sex marriage, they must look to France.

Anyone who has been following the debate over same-sex marriage in France will know that the opposition has focused on L’homoparentalité or “same-sex parenting.” The commission established by the National Assembly, the “Mission of Inquiry on the Family and the Rights of Children” (usually referred to as the Pécresse Commission, after its rapporteure) reported in 2006 that

the link between marriage and filiation is so close that the question of making marriage accessible is inseparable from that of making adoption and medically assisted conception accessible. This link was acknowledged by almost all witnesses, whether they were in favor of or opposed to developments in this area.

In this, they were prescient; the recent legislation does authorize both SSM and joint adoption by same-sex couples. Allowing an unmarried couple to adopt a child jointly was rejected. As the Minister of Justice observed,

We must be guided by the basic purpose of adoption, which is to give a child who has no family to a family itself unable to have one. While de facto spouses form a couple, they do not form a family. They may end their relationship at any time, without the exercise at any point of control by a judicial authority. This significant risk of family instability can prove especially harmful for an adopted child, who, given the nature of his or her personal history, in many cases expresses a greater need for emotional security.

The Commission also noted that the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption of 29 May 1993, of which France is a state signatory, restricts adoption to married couples.

The Commission found further reasons to oppose joint adoption by same-sex couples, regardless of marital status, summarized in the evidence of the eminent psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Pierre Lévy-Soussan, an adviser to the Ministry of Health. “It is in the child’s best interests to join a nuclear family that is already socially accepted so that he or she does not have to take on the additional task, following a history of abandonment, of adapting to a family that is, for whatever reason, ‘non-standard.’”

Lévy-Soussan believes that in order to be successful, adoption must lead to a psychological filiation that “allows for a nexus of the three elements that are basic to any society: the biological, the social, and the subjective dimensions specific to human beings. The psychological strength of this construction exceeds the purely biological connection of filiation and provides it with security. The security and ‘truth’ of this filiation are based on childbirth, on a potential or actual procreative relationship between a man and a woman, allowing the fictional filiation through the encounter with the other sex, alive and of the same generation. The fictional filiation can then be experienced as true, consistent and reasonable.” The difference in sex between the two members of the parental couple thus seems to him indispensable if the adoption “graft” is to take.

Similarly, Janice Peyré, president of the federation Enfance & Familles d’Adoption, told the Commission:

“As much as adoptive parents are open to the idea of extending adoption — legally and transparently — to homosexuals, adolescents, or adults who have been adopted express genuine reservations. They attest to a private feeling of being different when they grew up — a feeling accompanied by a very deeply experienced desire for normalcy. In their view, having homosexual parents would simply add to the sense of difference and the curiosity that adoption already engenders. In certain cases and in certain communities, it might even lead to rejection.”

Peyré therefore feels that “bringing an adopted child into a society in which he or she will have the same rights and the same place as other children — as the Hague Convention provides — requires that the child be received into pre-existing family structures, already recognized as such, and not serve as an instrument for obtaining recognition of new family structures.”

Other witnesses argued that, inasmuch as almost 25,000 married couples in France have been approved but wait an average of five years to be able to adopt because fewer than 5,000 adoptions take place each year, it is possible to provide every adoptable child with a father and a mother who will offer him or her the best chance of integrating into a new family.

During the Mission’s deliberations, it was not formally demonstrated that approving legal filiation with two fathers or two mothers has no effect on the building of the child’s identity. Martine Gross gave the Mission a list of studies on children brought up by persons of the same sex. The conclusion, based on these studies, was that there were no negative effects on children.

These studies’ scientific basis and the representativeness of the population samples studied were widely criticized and disputed at the hearings. Few countries allow adoption of a child by two persons of the same sex, and legislation allowing this type of adoption is very recent and has, in fact, led to very few adoptions.

The lack of objectivity in this area is blatant. The studies in question deal, rather, with children born of a heterosexual relationship and raised by a biological parent and his or her companion — a situation that is absolutely not comparable with the establishment of a dual same-sex filiation for a child from outside the couple.

These arguments have resonated with many of the opponents of same-sex marriage.

The approval of adoption by same-sex couples thus appears as a leap of faith. Is it possible that, in the anxiety to combat one form of discrimination, some Americans are unwittingly approving another — namely, discrimination between children.

If L’homoparentalité is to be accepted, is the word “marriage” worth fighting over?

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We Will Surrender Nothing Vive l’Humanité! Vive la France! — Ludovine de la Rochère

June 3, 2013
Whatever happens, the torch of French resistance must not go out, and it will not go out: It is called to become ever stronger. The resistance will continue to build up the dam that alone shall stop the wave of plans doing harm to the common good, the future of society, the values of France, the respect of Man, and true democracy. Stay ready. Generations of the future count on us. We will surrender nothing, ever, ever! Vive l’Humanité! Vive la France!

Whatever happens, the torch of French resistance must not go out, and it will not go out: It is called to become ever stronger. The resistance will continue to build up the dam that alone shall stop the wave of plans doing harm to the common good, the future of society, the values of France, the respect of Man, and true democracy. Stay ready. Generations of the future count on us. We will surrender nothing, ever, ever! Vive l’Humanité! Vive la France!

 

Ludovine de la Rochère is president of La Manif Pour Tous, the movement opposed to France’s recently passed same-sex marriage law. This speech was delivered at a mass rally on May 26, 2013—France’s Mother’s Day—before hundreds of thousands of supporters. Translation by Robert Oscar Lopez. Finally a rebellion, finally a movement?

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Dear all,

There you are, such an enormous crowd—thank you!

Thank you to all the volunteers of La Manif pour Tous, in Paris, in the provinces too; and of course our spokespeople, among them the first of all, Frigide Barjot. You made possible our Manif pour Tous.

Thank you to intellectuals, jurists, union members, researchers, doctors, elected officials, all of whom have taken up our case. They had the courage to engage in free and independent thought.

Thanks most of all to you! The French of the metropolis, those overseas and abroad. You have the energy that was necessary to raise us up yesterday and today. And tomorrow you will lift us up also!

We are several million who have marched peacefully over the course of the long winter months against the new law, against artificial insemination, against surrogacy for all, against homophobia. We have neither broken a window, not one, nor set fire to a single car. Nothing of the sort!

We are neither a political movement, nor a faith-based movement, nor a coalition of hateful homophobes. Our adversaries have tried everything to paint us in such a way. But they have failed, because one cannot deny that our cause is open to all who worry about the rights and well-being of children. We are people who are but mindful of the interest, the balance, and the happiness of the family. 

We are here, all so numerous, because our fundamental and universal values unite us.

The truth is that we do not have the same notion of equality as our opponents do. Our belief, held by most of the country, rests first on the equality of children, equality before the right to have a father and mother, that is to say, an origin and real heritage, rather than a false heritage. Based on that we have come together as atheists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, right, left, straight, gay. For all, the truth that we owe to the child is sacred. We do not want children’s lives to be woven around lies, nor do we want gender studies ideology to triumph.

Then, as our opponents do not understand us, they refuse to debate us, they mock us, and they libel us. 

But this time, it is you who are facing the wind, at the failure of the meaning of history. For we do not search for a false sense of History; rather, we shall write it!

All the generations are here, and among them, fathers and mothers and youths, each one keeping watch over us, over all of France, in silence, peaceful.

Yes, we turn now to face the future: yes, we have faith in the future; yes, we build the future and that is why we protest. We want a better world, rather than a brave new world.

What have we discovered along this long road? We are not alone! We are no longer alone, isolated, considered old fuddy duddies, losers, or conservatives—rather, the others will be revealed as those who live outside of reality. 

Yes, France has awoken!

We have carried out a historic mobilization. The Manif pour Tous is the biggest social movement that France has known since May 1968. Let us take stock of what we have accomplished: We are a social force, we are powerful and determined and organized. This success is owed principally to three causes: our lack of self-interest (for we are thinking of future generations), our concern to protect the weakest among us, our respect for the other.

Tomorrow will never be the same.

Now that we have risen up en masse, demanding to be heard, to reflect on this law, which is not only societal but a law of civilization—according to the words of Mrs. Taubira [France’s attorney general, the politician most associated with the law –Ed.] herself—what has been the response of the president of the Republic, the government, and the parliament? Condescension, arrogance, and mockery.

They claim to be men and women of dialogue and listeningbut these are nothing more than words. We will have been received only a few minutes by the president of the Republic as well as by Erwan Binet, the caller of the law at the National Assembly; but never have we been received by Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, nor by Attorney General Christiane Taubira nor by Minister of Families Dominique Bertinotti; never by Jean-Pierre Michel, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate. All these have dismissed us and treated us as homophobes. 

In addition to this refusal to dialogue with us, the government and its agencies have added violence and arbitrary oppression. Protests have been forbidden; innocent children, mothers, and peaceful old people were gassed on March 24; floats have been banned; people wearing Manif pour Tous sweatshirts have been arrested; a mother of a family has been assaulted while a prefect watched and said nothing thereby shaming the prefectoral force; peaceful vigil-keepers have been held for questioning and detained; marches leaving from Rennes to join us have been harassed and blocked every daywhat a scandal!

What are their crimes? To be dressed up to protest peacefully, to keep watch in the evening while listening to the reading of the great texts regarding the doctrine of non-violence. And that is the democracy of Ayrault, Valls, and Taubira?

We have protested while respecting the laws of the Republic; they have reacted as the apparatchiks of a totalitarian state, and I choose my words carefully. Are we still living in a true democracy?

After having changed, arbitrarily, the definition of the word marriage, the powers that be have not stopped lying about the figures of the protests; they commanded the CESE to deem unacceptable seven hundred thousand petitions collected in three weeks. Such a scene has never before been seen in the Fifth Republic. While our constitution bans it, the deputies and the senators voted for the law following the roll call imposed by power, which is a characteristic of dictatorships. Only a few heroes have resisted the pressure, such as Bruno Nestor Azérot! In the Senate, there has been tampering and the vote was carried out not by actual votes but by raised hands. A denial of democracy in which the opposition party has been, by virtue of its passivity, complicit!

My elected officials, where was your freedom of conscience when you voted this law, which has been called to transform our civilization? Where was your courage, you who abstained? Where was your honor?

Our adversaries act this way because they are afraid, because the law they voted is a heinous law written under the pressure from the LGBT lobbyPierre Bergé, a man totally marginal within the homosexual community, and they know it.

They act this way because they represent a former time, a time long past, that of deathly ideologues, a time when Man thought he was allowed all, not taking account of the humanity he would bestow on his children.

No more!

They tell us always in a peremptory manner that this law is societal, and a law of progress. But how can we believe them? Of what progress do they speak? Their progress, probably: that of marketing the human body, renting out wombs, lying, yes, you do not know it, but you will be able to have two fathers or two mothers, for whatever nature cannot provide, they will authorize. They are Prometheus.

Not long ago, we would have laughed at it; today we weep over it; we are aggrieved!

Thrown onto a toboggan of transgression, one can be stopped by nothing. So it goes with these false prophets of progress and modernity. Once they start talking about nature and ecology, they bandy about the principle of caution. But when it comes to mankind, then nature vanishes, and with it, caution.

Their mouths overflow with the words “equality of man and woman”: One must have equal representation in administrative councils, an egalitarian government, an egalitarian National Assembly. But why should marriage not be a place of equality, too, so that a child will be raised by man and woman? What a strange idea!

One would hope they will tell us: Stop! Listen to the people, let’s debate, let’s reflect. No such luck.

Then you, Mr. President of the Republic, who are supposed to ensure the unity of the French people: Quit being deaf and blind, stop dividing the French, stop raising the anger in all the country.

These are dangerous times. Before the lie and wickedness that this law puts in place, yes, the hour of resistance beckons us. This is a question of humanity, its future, the future of man and woman, our children, and their freedoms.

We too, we are aggrieved! That is why we launched the call on May 18, 2013. Our task is huge, but it is essential. We are numerous in France and in foreign lands too. The whole world watches us, because once again the French have dared to rise up against the tyranny of a minority and its colluders. 

I announce to all of you, as well as to those who still think we will give up, that we will carry out this battle everywhere in France!

Lacking a timely and appropriate response from the president of the Republic to our gathering today, prepare yourselves for new actions in the days and weeks to come.

Beyond that, the Manif pour Tous will still be around. It will last, on the French and European landscape. We will participate actively in the life of the state with our convictions and our values.

La Manif pour Tous holds three missions to protect what we consider the key to our society: families, and I mean families.

First mission: the abolition of the Taubira law, if not tomorrow, then some time after. And we fight to block its immediate consequences: insemination for all and gestational surrogacy.

Second mission: Support all the men and woman of courage and good will who will defend their values in the State—the mayors, elected officials, members of civic groups, all who will take the floor in the public debates, opposed to marriage for all.

Third mission: Fight for the reality of man and woman to be recognized, and for the weakest in society to be defended.

We will continue without giving up to defend the male–female marriage, the heritage based on mother–father–child, families, the basic units of all society, places of togetherness for excellence, sources of all the human and economic bounty of society. 

We are going to fight against gender studies ideology, the foundation of the “marriage for all” law. We will speak against its dissemination, in particular among the schools. We will lead surveys, publish studies, be activists. To that effect, memberships will be open to its sympathizers beginning in June.

The law is today in effect: so isn’t the last word already spoken on this? Shouldn’t hope disappear? Isn’t your defeat definitive? No!

Our movement of opposition will not stop, because it was born from an innate rejection, a deep refusal, of a law founded on a law that matters to all French people. We refuse for French politics to turn us away from the essential: the urgent preoccupations of the citizens who, today, face a dramatic economic and social situation.

Whatever happens, the torch of French resistance must not go out, and it will not go out: It is called to become ever stronger. The resistance will continue to build up the dam that alone shall stop the wave of plans doing harm to the common good, the future of society, the values of France, the respect of Man, and true democracy.

Stay ready.

Generations of the future count on us.

We will surrender nothing, ever, ever!

Vive l’Humanité!

Vive la France!

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The Anthropology Of Orientation – David S. Crawford

May 10, 2013
The bulk of Sappho’s poetry, which was well-known and greatly admired through much of antiquity, has been lost, but her immense reputation has endured through surviving fragments. Sappho's poetry centers on passion and love for various people and both sexes. The narrators of many of her poems speak of infatuations and love (sometimes requited, sometimes not) for various females, but descriptions of physical acts between women are few and subject to debate. Whether these poems are meant to be autobiographical is not known, although elements of other parts of Sappho's life do make appearances in her work, and it would be compatible with her style to have these intimate encounters expressed poetically, as well. Her homoerotica should be placed in the context of the 7th century (BCE). The poems of Alcaeus and later Pindar record similar romantic bonds between the members of a given circle.

The bulk of Sappho’s poetry, which was well-known and greatly admired through much of antiquity, has been lost, but her immense reputation has endured through surviving fragments. Sappho’s poetry centers on passion and love for various people and both sexes. The narrators of many of her poems speak of infatuations and love (sometimes requited, sometimes not) for various females, but descriptions of physical acts between women are few and subject to debate. Whether these poems are meant to be autobiographical is not known, although elements of other parts of Sappho’s life do make appearances in her work, and it would be compatible with her style to have these intimate encounters expressed poetically, as well. Her homoerotica should be placed in the context of the 7th century (BCE). The poems of Alcaeus and later Pindar record similar romantic bonds between the members of a given circle.

Because Christianity has never claimed that revelation is or should be a direct source of civil law and has always “pointed to nature and reason as the true sources of law – and to the harmony between objective and subjective reason, which naturally presupposes that both spheres are rooted in the creative reason of God,” it has met its match in a modernist legal positivism which demands “an unbridgeable gulf” between “‘is’ and ‘ought.’” If nature “is viewed as ‘an aggregate of objective data linked together in terms of cause and effect,’ then indeed no ethical indication of any kind can be derived from it. So the new lesson for Catholics is: don’t look at the law and the courts to support your religious beliefs. 

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The point then is this: the entire modern conception of law and its meaning favors the mechanistic view of physicality and the separate, bodiless conception of the fully human. Indeed, this view generates the standards of rationality and argumentation employed on all sides in the debate over “gay marriage.”

Consider the claim that there is no legally cognizable difference between “same-sex couples” and  infertile “opposite-sex couples” or  fertile “opposite-sex couples” and  “same-sex couples” employing reproductive technologies. To borrow Benedict’s language, this is an entirely “functionalistic” view of the body’s sexual and procreative meaning.

It would appear that the body’s procreativity can be entirely replaced by the technical processes of the lab without any real loss of its essential humanity. Rather, its replacement would be an enhancement of the humanity of conception and birth. We also see these assumptions at work in the argument that man and woman are essentially interchangeable for all legally cognizable purposes.

That civil marriage would be by definition the union of a man and a woman, a union which normally and naturally results in children, means that a (perhaps, the) primary polarity underlying and shaping social and personal identity – and giving cultural form to social life – is that between man and woman. This is a question not just of “function” but of personal and social identity; it is a question of what we think the human being and society most fundamentally are and what we think the place of the child in that society is. More fundamentally, the social significance of this polarity allows for the integration of sexuality and love, the integration of the body’s inherent order and its implications for bodily acts as fully personal.

The sameness argument signals the rapidly approaching extinction of this polarity as personally and socially decisive. Indeed, it implies its replacement by another anthropology, that expressed by the concept of “orientation.” If this concept means nothing else, it means that the identity of the person is no longer grounded in either masculinity or femininity as naturally and personally ordained to each other and as expressed by the body. The shift therefore effectively demotes the meaning of sexual difference – the correspondence of the male and female bodies as such – to a sub-personal and purely material (“biological”) significance.

The body in its sexual ordination – and the implications extend beyond sexuality – is therefore no longer decisive for the person. Rather, a person’s sexual desire and freedom possess a fundamentally arbitrary and indifferent relationship to his or her body’s natural correlation to the opposite sex. The relationship between man and woman therefore becomes merely a variant, a particular “orientation,” grafted onto what is in fact an underlying androgynous anthropology.

That this new paradigm is actually displacing the former – so that the former is increasingly unavailable as a form of social and personal identity – is evident when we consider the fuller implications of the sameness argument. Of course, it is the very purpose of the concept to redefine the meaning of sexuality altogether. Were this not the case, the concept would fail to treat “gay” relationships as equivalent to traditional man-woman relations. Hence, it is part of the very logic of the concept that it characterizes both same-sex relationships and the man-woman relationship as merely alternative “orientations.”

But in doing so, the new category abstracts the essence of sexuality from the natural correspondence of man and woman. Thus, sexual attraction, according to the conceptual world of orientations, displaces this natural correspondence as the explanation for a given person’s sexuality. Hence, if a man and woman are attracted to each other it is not because of the natural correspondence of the sexes; it is because they happen to have a particular “orientation,” that of “heterosexuality,”  rather than another, that of “homosexuality.”

But this in turn suggests that whatever correspondence there may be between the male and female bodies is only an accident of the sub-personal mechanisms of physicality. Personal correspondence, on the other hand, is due to an individual’s “orientation,” which is conceived as fundamentally indifferent to the underlying natural correspondence of the bodies, since it can just as legitimately be directed toward the opposite (biological) sex or toward the same (biological) sex (or to both).

The problem with this developing anthropology, and its codification in law, is that it is impoverished as a human form. The identity of the person is no longer grounded in his masculinity or her femininity understood as a personal-somatic ordination of love; it is, rather, grounded in his or her “orientation” and thereby removed from the body as an expression of the person. Hence, the extinction of the sexual difference is also an extinction of the personal-somatic ordination of man and woman.

Rather, if “orientations” really are conceived as equivalent and parallel, if the difference of the sexes has been lost to an underlying androgynous sameness, then the unavoidable fact of the sexually differentiated body has been reduced in its significance to being merely the biological and material conditions and circumstances of sexual acts of whatever kind. The “different-sex” arrangement of marriage and family, while not rejected as a possibility of desire and choice, is nevertheless reduced to constituting the manifestation of simply one of the possible “orientations.” It is, again, simply grafted onto an underlying androgynous anthropology as one of its variants.

Note that the mechanistic assumptions about the human person are entirely consonant with the experience of same-sex attraction as “innate” or “natural.” Efforts to find the “gay gene” or other physiological causes of homosexuality express the desire to substantiate the source of this self-experience in precisely the world as so conceived. The “natural,” here, clearly means something like the non-free; it stands for the idea of this self-experience as rooted in empirical and therefore deterministic circumstances, to be discovered at either a physiological or psychological level.

Of course, it is universally recognized that human desire can be directed in ways that ultimately invert the true meaning of desire. Lost, then, is the deeper reality of the body’s expression of form and finality, which offer a firmer basis for understanding the authentically human. Indeed, the treatment of sexuality on the basis of “orientation” expresses the arbitrariness of the body’s natural ordination. What is not taken into account, then, is the personal order of love expressed by the body in its very visible form as male or female.

This suggests a basic paradox. The personal meaningfulness of the body’s specification as male or female is in fact inescapable – that is to say, it is affirmed even in its outward denial or rejection. We can see this truth when we consider that sexual acts must rely on the sexualized body, but that the body is only sexual insofar as it is male or female. Furthermore, the fact that a body is either male or female depends on the correlation of male and female to each other. After all, the structures of the male body would make little sense were it not for the concrete reality of the female body, and vice versa.

The odd result is that, under the shift to orientations, sexual acts rely for their very being on that from which fully human and personal meaning has been drained. This paradox is particularly clear with regard to homosexual acts, which both depend on the fact of the body’s sexual polarity for their very possibility and also tacitly deny any deep anthropological significance of that polarity. In effect, homosexual acts and desire are only parasitic on the bodily correspondence of the masculine and the feminine.

But this paradox also characterizes the concept of “heterosexuality.” As we have seen, the anthropology of orientation conceives of the man-woman couple not according to their natural correspondence but according to their orientation, which is labeled “heterosexual.” The idea of “heterosexuality” as a category alongside “homosexuality” therefore fully incorporates the logic of “orientation,” viz. the indifference of the self and desire to the natural ordination of the body.

Because it also rests on the abstraction of the person from this natural ordination, it also views the ordination of the male and female bodies to each other as only the external or material conditions necessary for sexual acts. This leads us to an odd result: even sexual acts between a man and a woman are conceived in a way that makes them also to be parasitic on the natural correspondence of the male and female bodies.

This fact is suggestive of a deeper point. The person as conceived by this anthropology lives an unnatural relation to his or her body. Sexuality clearly is an unavoidably natural attribute of the body. As we have seen, the anthropology of orientation pertains especially to personal and social identity. But the body presents a real problem for this identity. It is a problem precisely because, no matter how far we remove it to a subordinate realm of function and mechanism, it threatens to name us, to tell us who and what we are precisely on the basis of its visibility and the fact that – however much we may put it at a distance – it is undeniably and in a substantial way part of us. This is particularly true in the realm of sexuality. The anthropology of orientations is, therefore, in the awkward position of trying both to affirm and deny the meaningfulness of the body’s sexuality.

The result is a fragmentation in both personal identity and sexual love. The simultaneous dependency on the sexualized body and loss of that body’s deep meaning leave no place for the development of sexual love as an expression of the deepest reaches of the I. The implicit androgyny leaves us no way to integrate the body, desire, love, or personal acts. To the extent these are rooted in the sexualized body, they are reduced to a material impulse of the organism.

On the other hand, since according to the ideology of orientations sexual desire and love can run contrary to the sexual ordination of the body just as reasonably as they can run in accordance with it, we might believe that they are separate from the body, that they are purely spiritual realities that merely use the body.

But then it is difficult to see how sexual acts, which after all are bodily acts, can really be fully personal acts. Does the specifically sexual – as love and desire – arise from the body or from the disembodied self? If from the former, then it is hard to understand how to characterize them as properly human and personal; if from the latter, then it is difficult to understand how they can be expressed as specifically sexual.

Here then is the dilemma and the source of human impoverishment. The primacy of the category of “sexual orientation” implies a fundamentally extrinsic relationship between a functionally-mechanistically conceived body and a correspondingly spiritualized freedom. Ironically, once this starting point has been accepted, sexual desire and love are left without a real home. They must oscillate between the functionally sexual – an order that has been treated as one of mechanistic determinism – and the spiritually androgynous – an order of bodiless freedom and love. But they cannot fit comfortably in either.

Public Reason and the Child
This disintegration of bodily acts as personal enactments of love is carried over into the implications for love’s fruitfulness
. To reduce the difference of the sexes to biological function, which in the end can be replaced and improved upon by the technical processes of the lab, is assumed to humanize physicality by making it an expression of human freedom. The increasingly clear connection between “gay marriage” and developing reproductive technologies is telling evidence of this. The logic of the anthropology of orientation and the logic of the technologization of human conception (which is, of course, a much broader practice than “gay marriage”) are in fact the same.

Indeed, the use of technology to enable gay partners to conceive has at times been viewed as superior because it is rooted in what is thought to be a mature choice rather than sub-personal natural processes.[20]  Again, to conceive the question this way is to have reduced those “natural processes” to the merely functional-mechanical. There have been predictions that in the near future the majority of children in medically developed societies will be produced by means of the lab, both to prevent the sorts of problems that occur in the less perfect mechanisms of nature and to allow for certain enhancements thought to be on the horizon. Where natural conception and reproductive technologies are equated, as the courts have done, the child (even in the case of natural conception) is treated as a product of mechanical function.

At a deep level, however, the inescapability of the experience of the body in its maleness and femaleness reminds us that we are not self-originating. To already be something before an act of freedom suggests to the modern mind a loss of freedom rather than its ordination. But the importance of what we do not simply choose, but only choose as an expression of a more deeply possessed gift, is especially evident in the difference and correspondence of the male and female bodies. This becomes all the more obvious with respect to the procreative implications of sexuality and, by extension, the natural relations of the family, despite their suppression by the anthropology of orientation. The sexually “other” represented in the masculinity or femininity of the body serves as an invitation to love, precisely in its difference. It is an invitation that is by its very nature “open-ended,” both in its origins and in its destiny.

This open-endedness already implicit in the vocation inscribed in sexual difference finds its complete expression in the fruitfulness proper to the love of man and woman precisely as such – viz. the child. Clearly the fact of birth – both being born and giving birth – does not fit comfortably with the notion of personal identity as rooted most primitively in the individual’s act of choice.

The visible expression of the parents in their bodies – their knowledge of each other and their self-knowledge in relation to each other – already bespeaks the fruitfulness proper to their love. It bespeaks the fact that this fruitfulness both requires and precedes their freedom. The body in its sexual ordination indicates our being something before any possible act of our freedom. It indicates being part of a lineage, of being a child of this mother and this father.

Similarly, the child’s knowledge of him- or herself – his or her personal and social “identity” – is simultaneously a knowledge that his or her origin is embedded more deeply in reality than any act of his parents’ wills. The parents did not give themselves their own bodies. Their bodies represent what stands behind them and shapes their freedom. The parents’ act of freedom is in fact an act of consent to this deeper origin in a fabric of relations that precedes them, gives meaning to their love, and stretches out from the past into the future.

According to the logic of “reproductive technologies,” the ideas of conception and birth are viewed in terms of choice and instrumentalism, technique presiding over a set of biological processes. The implication is that “natural relations” are only part of the functionality of the material universe, except of course to the extent that they too are viewed entirely in terms of choice – that is to say, a choice to utilize these processes for a human good.

But such a line of reasoning misconceives both the meaning of birth and of love. In principle, the act that causes conception by technical means could occur without there ever having been any sort of bodily communion of the spouses or even without the spouses’ gametic contribution. Hence, the relation between love and the act of choice to have a child is motivational and moral, rather than ontological. But the child needs more than to know that the intentions of his parents were good. He needs to know that his ontological origin is good, and this means that he needs to know that he is more than the functionalistic product of another man’s freedom.

Where reproductive techniques are used, the bodily relations of the parents are abstracted from – are merely accidental to – the conception of the child. This last point is crucial. The child born in this fashion cannot understand him- or herself as having been already implicit in the parents’ bodily composition and the love proper to it prior to any particular choice or act of the parents. In this way, the child’s coming to be is abstracted from the “open-endedness” of the love proper to the “sexual difference” of the parents.

Rather, the parents and the child must see the child’s origin as the act of choice initiating technical means, rather than in the consent to the fruitfulness already implicit in their bodily acts of love. The conception of the child, then, is radically the result of an act of choice rather than the always-already implicit fruit of love. Hence, the act is restructured on the model of “making” (poiesis) as opposed to the “acting” (praxis) of fruitful love.[ Robert Spaemann, “Genetic Manipulation of Human Nature in the Context of Human Personality,” in Human Genome, Human Person, and the Society of the Future, Proceedings of the Fourth Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, ed. Juan de Dios Vial Correa and Elio Sgreccia (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1999): pp. 340-350, at 342.]  The very logic expressed by the courts is that of Baconian and Hobbsian knowledge-as-production rather than knowledge as reception or discovery of what is.

The symbolic meaning of such a “making” then is that the child does not have a deeper origin than the parents’ freedom, or that, to the extent it is acknowledged that there is such a deeper origin, it amounts to a denial that that deeper origin stands in relation to the child in any way differently from any other sort of production that begins with materials given in the physical order. That procreative fruitfulness is at a radical level something the parents give themselves in an act of choice insinuates that the child is subordinated to that choice. This is why Donum Vitae tells us that artificial means of reproduction treat the child as property. Such means are a violence on the child’s dignity and self-knowledge as both “earlier” and “greater” than the parents’ freedom.

Conclusion
The foregoing suggests ways in which political and legal liberalism, while seeming to protect and produce pluralism, in fact at the deepest level produces and enforces an absolute monism of beliefs about such absolutes as the meaning of person, freedom, and the world. Radical differences in various beliefs all drift toward mere stylistic expressions of an underlying liberal conception of what is.

This is why political liberalism tends to remake pre-political and inherently non-liberal relations (e.g. marriage and family) and institutions (e.g. churches) in its own image and likeness. It tends to view these only as various types of voluntary association. There is little doubt that the question of “gay marriage” has been caught up in this process.

This is why the underlying anthropology and the type of rationality to which it gives shape offer little basis for cognizable objections to the inevitable if gradual assimilation of the anthropology of orientation into educational systems, professional organizations, public ethical standards, tax policies, anti-discrimination laws, and so forth, enforced by the technocratic-bureaucratic leviathan that constitutes the environment in which the modern individual moves and breathes. It is this underlying anthropology and its implications for the person that must be challenged, if arguments against “gay marriage” are to be sustained.

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The Public Reason of Orientation – David S. Crawford

May 9, 2013
The image Humanum chose for its issue on Same-Sex Unions (Crawford’s article was a key contribution to the issue) is the supposed portrait of the Greek lyric poet Sappho, who was born around 620 BC on the island of Lesbos. The fresco was found in Pompeii. The Alexandrians included her in the list of nine lyric poets. Her birth was sometime between 630 and 612 BCE, and it is said that she died around 570 BCE, but little is known for certain about her life.

The image Humanum chose for its issue on Same-Sex Unions (Crawford’s article was a key contribution to the issue) is the supposed portrait of the Greek lyric poet Sappho, who was born around 620 BC on the island of Lesbos. The fresco was found in Pompeii. The Alexandrians included her in the list of nine lyric poets. Her birth was sometime between 630 and 612 BCE, and it is said that she died around 570 BCE, but little is known for certain about her life.

To understand why abortion and gay marriage may trump or may eventually trump in the courtroom, read the following carefully. It presents the “new” public reason of Homosexualism and why it is tragically wrong.

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Reason and Nature
In the minor Platonic dialogue, the Minos, Socrates characterizes law as “wishing” to be “the discovery of what is.” The sense of the statement is not simply that law should – if it is to live up to its calling, if it is to be good law or laws – embody the true or the just. That would be only a positivistic and finally moralistic interpretation. Rather, Socrates suggests a deeper point, viz. that even contradictory notions of the just express something of the truth – all tacitly wish to be the discovery of what is, even if all fall short by varying degrees in this discovery.

There is another side of Socrates’ formulation, however. Theories of law, legal systems, and particular laws, precisely in falling short of the fullness of the true or the just, nevertheless always express or mediate what a given culture or society thinks is true, even when the legal order outwardly rejects any such pretentions. In other words, law always implies (indeed, cannot avoid implying) a truth claim about the human person.

Classical notions of law tend to be clear about this point. They begin with the basic human elements of inclination or desire and a primitive knowledge of the good. In part, this desire and primitive knowledge of the good is rooted in our embodiedness. Our desire for fully human life and love can only be for life and love as expressed and experienced by living, embodied beings.

As such, this beginning point for law presupposes a robust anthropology. Not only is the body in part the source of desires that make reason practical, and on that basis a source of law, it also serves in its very visibility as a sign of human origins and destiny. It therefore serves as support and guidance to help us to be human in the fullest sense, however infinitely varied the instantiation of our lives might be. According to this classical approach, then, the truth claims about ultimates – such as the natures of the person, the body and physicality generally, freedom, and society – are fairly manifest. Law so conceived clearly and explicitly mediates an idea about “what is.”

The legal developments we have been discussing over the past post and this also mediate a claim about what is, although the two courts would seem to believe they are doing no such thing. It is these tacit truth claims about the human person that nevertheless dictate the sort of rationality thought to be coherent for legal authority. Of course, these implicit truth claims do not come out of a void. Rather, they represent the general outlook of deep currents in modern thought and therefore tendencies whose roots are centuries old. Consider the following passage describing this outlook, as it is represented in Hobbes, from Leo Strauss’ Natural Right and History:

“We understand only what we make. Since we do not make the natural beings, they are, strictly speaking, unintelligible. According to Hobbes, this fact is perfectly compatible with the possibility of natural science. But it leads to the consequence that natural science is and will always remain fundamentally hypothetical. Yet this is all we need in order to make ourselves masters and owners of nature. Still, however much man may succeed in his conquest of nature, he will never be able to understand nature. . . . There is no natural harmony between the human mind and the universe.

Man can guarantee the actualization of wisdom, since wisdom is identical with free construction. But wisdom cannot be free construction if the universe is intelligible. Man can guarantee the actualization of wisdom, not in spite of, but because of, the fact that the universe is unintelligible. Man can be sovereign only because there is no cosmic support for his humanity. He can be sovereign only because he is absolutely a stranger in the universe. He can be sovereign only because he is forced to be sovereign. Since the universe is unintelligible and since control of nature does not require understanding of nature, there are no knowable limits to his conquest of nature.
Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History (University of Chicago Press, 1950), pp. 174-75

This striking passage captures an important ambiguity at the heart of the modern project. The new form of knowing and reasoning Strauss describes tends by its very logic toward a constructive and technical approach to the world. The knowable is the makeable, according to the formula verum quia faciendum.[Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity, trans. J.R. Foster (Ignatius Press, 1990), pp. 31-35.]

To know the world, in other words, is freely to construct it. But to be entirely free in this regard, the world must be drained of its inherent meaningfulness. Hence the “unintelligibility” of things in themselves. Here we find the fundamental nihilating character of modernity’s main currents of thought at their sources.

Knowledge and reason concern not things in themselves but their mechanical properties, their external relations, extension, mass, force, etc. At the same time, this concept of knowing and reasoning gives birth to the modern narrative of inevitable and perpetual technical progress and development, the ever-greater conquest of nature (“no knowable limits”).

The implication for freedom and intellect, then, is that they are  something set apart from the physicality even of the body. But where freedom is set aside from reality as given, it becomes indifferent freedom, freedom without interior ordination, freedom without a given end; where intellect is set aside from material reality, it views the world as only an object with its mechanical functionality and exterior and purely efficient causality.

The more exhaustively meaningful and value-laden the world, the less room there is for absolutely “free construction” not only of our world but of ourselves. This exaltation of freedom is matched, however, by an angst concerning its possibility in a world thought of in mechanistic terms. Hence, we find an oscillation between absolute freedom as the radical source of human dignity and a despairing doubtfulness of the concrete possibility of that freedom in the real world. This oscillation is well represented in a passage from Canadian philosopher George Grant:

“[W]here the political liturgy is full of appeals to the individual in his freedom to make society, the scientific analysis of society and individuals is centered around the principle of a complete determinism…. We assert ‘scientifically’ that human conduct can be absolutely predicted and therefore controlled; as individuals we believe ourselves to be free in the most absolute sense, as the makers of our own selves and our own values.”
Value and Technology,” Collected Works of George Grant, vol. 3, 1960-1969, eds Arthur Davis and Henry Roper (University of Toronto Press, 2005), pp. 227-244, at 234

Now, of course, the question of “gay marriage” especially raises the question of the body in relation not only to the person, intellect and freedom but in relation to society and law. The body is unavoidably part of the cosmos and participates in its mechanical properties. Insofar as physicality is seen as a threat to freedom, no part of it could threaten more than the body itself, which not only operates beyond and outside our free acts but also – in its very visibility and personal recognizability – situates and determines personal identity.

The body is both part of the heteronomous world of mechanism, and is also the expression of personal identity to the human community as a whole. Progress would ultimately need both to liberate the body by technical means from its limitations and defects (i.e. to make the body a better mechanism and a product of human freedom) and also to liberate the “self” from the body insofar as it represents the mechanical properties of physicality so conceived.

Legal Reasoning
These developments of course have had profound implications for the deep structure of public and legal reason. Statements of Benedict XVI in an address to the German Bundestag are helpful in pinpointing some of these implications. He begins by noting that unlike most great religions Christianity has never claimed that revelation is or should be a direct source of civil law. Rather, Christianity has always “pointed to nature and reason as the true sources of law – and to the harmony between objective and subjective reason, which naturally presupposes that both spheres are rooted in the creative reason of God.”

He goes on to speak of “the two fundamental concepts of nature and conscience, where… reason is open to the language of being.” Modernity’s tendency toward legal positivism, on the other hand, demands “an unbridgeable gulf” between “‘is’ and ‘ought.’” If nature “is viewed as ‘an aggregate of objective data linked together in terms of cause and effect,’ then indeed no ethical indication of any kind can be derived from it. A positivist conception of nature as purely functional, as the natural sciences consider it to be, is incapable of producing any bridge to ethics and law, but once again yields only functional answers.”[The Listening Heart, quoting Hans Kelsen, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2011/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20110922_reichstag-berlin_en.html%5D

The basic assumptions about nature (creation) and its reducibility to “an aggregate of objective data linked together by cause and effect” and to its purely functional aspect is not only characteristic of the jurisprudential thought form known as legal positivism, but is the pervasive presupposition of modern legal theory tout court. In assuming the “functionalistic,” mechanistic meaning of nature, law must also, if it is to be human, be a pure construction of freedom. Where it looks to what is, it will only be able to consider the human person in terms of the logic of functionality and mechanism.

It is significant that the only evidence and arguments deemed legally valid, as shown by the Perry court’s reliance on expert testimony by academics in the human sciences of sociology, psychology, economics, history, and so forth, modeled on the natural sciences, are those that view “what is” according to the model of functionality and mechanism. Arguments of a more explicitly philosophical-anthropological nature are not legitimate forms of legal argument.

We see in the sameness argument precisely this presupposition about functionality or mechanism as the source of knowledge about what is. At the same time, as we have seen, this functionalistic-mechanistic view of nature and being has implications for what we think freedom is. If human dignity lies chiefly in the fact of personal freedom, then the primary goal of law will be to liberate the subject as far as possible for self-invention.

Everything that has been said thus far leads to the peculiarly modern difficulty in integrating human freedom and material reality. We see this tendency nowhere more powerfully than in modernity’s liberation of human ends and freedom from the natural, particularly as these might be expressed by the body. Consider H.L.A. Hart’s famous rejection of natural law, in which he nevertheless grants a “minimum content” of law, viz. security against violent death at the hands of others and at least some minimal property rights. Even this minimum content, however,

“depends on the fact that in asking what content a legal system must have we take this question to be worth asking only if we who consider it cherish the humble aim of survival in close proximity to our fellows. Natural-law theory, however, in all its protean guises, attempts to push the argument much further and to assert that human beings are equally devoted to and united in their conception of aims… other than that of survival, and these dictate a further content to a legal system (over and above my humble minimum) without which it would be pointless. Of course we must be careful not to exaggerate the differences among human beings, but it seems to me that above this minimum the purposes men have for living in society are too conflicting and varying to make possible much extension of the argument that some fuller overlap of legal rules and moral standards is ‘necessary’ in this sense.”
[H.L.A. Hart, “Positivism and the Separation of Law and Morals,” in The Philosophy of Law, ed. R.M. Dworkin (Oxford University Press, 1977), pp. 17-37, at 36.]

For Hart, law is a human construction in view of vulnerability in the contingently factual world, from which natural teleological and formal causality have been subtracted. This fact is born out in Hart’s discussion of the aims of man in society, which are judged to be too diverse to be given an account if we abstract from the most basic passion – the one to which both Hobbes and Locke tied the source of society – the fear of death.

Similarly, John Rawls tells us that “Human good is heterogeneous because the aims of the self are heterogeneous. Although to subordinate all our aims to one end does not strictly speaking violate the principles of rational choice… it still strikes us as irrational or more likely as mad. The self is disfigured….”[ John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Cambridge Mass., Harvard University Press, 1971), p. 554, cited in Alasdair MacIntyre, Whose Justice? Which Rationality (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1988), p. 337.]

If the contractual foundation of society is founded on the fear of death, it makes sense that in order to maximize self-realization we must minimize natural order. Indeed, “ends” are reduced to personal goals or aims. The law’s primary purpose then, above and beyond securing person and property, is to maximize the freedom for self-expression and determination. What is most important remains unstated but nevertheless obvious: to root law in nature would be to submit human freedom to what has now been reduced to the purely functional and mechanical. In such a world, law must be pure construction if it is to be rational and human.

On the other hand, Hart’s most important detractor, Ronald Dworkin, introduces legal principles of justice, which he argues underlie law in its very meaning. But Dworkin’s response to legal positivism introduces only a liberal notion of “natural law,” one that is rooted in rights and indifferent self-determination. Here again we find the tacit presupposition that to envision a connection between law and nature would be to submit the legal subject either to the mechanical properties of reality or to the arbitrary acts of will of another (such as a legislative majority). The underlying principle is that of the “equality,” or more specifically, the right to “equal concern and respect.” [Ronald Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously (Harvard University Press, 1977), 272-73]

Characteristically, this most basic right correlates with a fairly standard notion of the meaning of the liberal political and juridical order: politics, laws, institutions, and actions in the public order must be “independent of any particular conception of the good.”[Ronald Dworkin, “Liberalism,” in Public and Private Morality, ed. S. Hampshire (Cambridge: 1978), p. 127]  In a political and juridical world so defined, an underlying emphasis on autonomy and self-determination controls.

And so, Dworkin is only what we might call the flipside of Hart. If Hart can only envision law as a human construction abstracted from natural principles, Dworkin seeks to found law on preexisting principles of justice, but principles that are rooted only in individual self-interest and indifferent freedom. Dworkin’s principles also presuppose the dichotomy between freedom and nature on which the liberal order is founded.

These basic jurisprudential assumptions can be seen in the way decisions are made in courts such as those we have been discussing. Consider on the one hand, the famous and influential passage from the Supreme Court’s Casey decision, a passage that has been both celebrated and reviled. There, the Court famously declared that

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.”
[Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992)]

Implied is a particular role and limitation of government and law. It is to generate a political and legal order without predetermining the pattern of individual self-definition in relation to the basic meaning of reality as a whole. Just below the surface of the Court’s argument is the fear of determination, of the loss of freedom, here expressed in terms of the state.

For the Court, the meaning of things cannot be known or presupposed in a juridical context, but can only be a matter of individual belief, given to the self by the self. Were the state to impose meaning, it could only be the imposition of the legislative majority’s arbitrary view of things. The majority’s “moral disapproval” could have no basis in rationality, because the connection of that rationality to what is can only be understood in mechanistic-functionalistic terms, rather than in natural terms.

Of course, conservative jurists, who have heaped scorn on the passage, differ only by the fact that they do, in effect, seek to place the arbitrary imposition of meaning in the democratic majority, rather than in the individual. In others words, the conservative position has essentially the same jurisprudential positivism, but it is more willing to give weight to a majority’s “moral disapproval,” based only on democratic principles.

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Why We Are Losing the Gay Marriage Debate – David S. Crawford

May 8, 2013
Not these guys again...

If acts that fulfill the behavioral conditions of procreation are, in fact, capable of uniting spouses inter-personally — thus providing the biological matrix of the multilevel union and sharing of life that marriage is, according to the traditional understanding long embodied in Western law, philosophy, and culture — then truly marital acts differ fundamentally in meaning, value, and significance from intrinsically non-marital sex acts (such as acts of sodomy and mutual masturbation). The Illusions of Married Personalism, Robert P. George

How the debate over “gay marriage” has been shaped by some ubiquitous but unexamined presuppositions…

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 Introduction
It should be clear by now that those who oppose the civil recognition of “same-sex marriage” are gradually (or perhaps not so gradually) losing the public debate. The problem is not that they have no arguments. It is that judges, legislators, journalists, and regular citizens have increasingly found those arguments not only weak but in fact incoherent from the standpoint of public reason.

That they are incoherent then leads to the further conclusion that they must be based on bigotry and hateful intolerance. This development naturally puts defenders of the traditional idea of marriage on the defensive. It is especially unsettling for Catholics, who feel they have a long tradition of reasoned public discourse based on natural law principles. Typically they respond with increasing frustration, often by means of a simple repetition of the usual arguments, but with greater stridency.

The whole situation may seem a bit surreal. Granted, if the state establishes an institution, with benefits and burdens, it must determine the requirements for access on a rational basis from the standpoint of valid or legitimate state interests. And of course the bar is raised where the institution involves fundamental rights, such as access to civil marriage.

Nevertheless, few would have doubted until recently at least the general cogency of the traditional arguments. Those arguments at first blush appear sound enough: the man-woman couple is the basis of the continuation of society over time; it generates the familial environment in which the child can best flourish; the child should optimally have both a mother and a father to develop a healthy and balanced relationship to both sexes, and so forth.

For these reasons, these arguments conclude, the state has a strong interest in regulating and preserving marriage’s traditional meaning. Indeed, some argue, the state would have no interest in regulating marriage were it not for its connection with the child. It is striking, then, that these are precisely the arguments that have been found – repeatedly at this point – to fail at the basic level of public and legal rationality, despite the fact that they seemed so irrefutable just a short while ago.

How have we come to this impasse? How could such reasoning fail the most basic test – its legal cogency? What are the controlling principles and assumptions of the reasoning that cannot see this? Complete answers to these questions are no doubt complex. My discussion will be limited to some anthropological implications of the “gay marriage” debate for the meaning of sexuality, desire and love for personal and social identity.

The Sameness Argument
Clues for approaching our dilemma may be garnered from a brief examination of two important court decisions, the 2010 Perry decision of a Federal District Court in California[1]  and the 2003 Goodridge decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court.[2]

In rejecting the traditional arguments mentioned above, both courts begin by observing that it has never been a requirement of marriage that couples actually have or plan to have children, or even that they are capable of doing so. At the same time, they note, some households headed by “same-sex partners” do have children, whether from previous relationships, legal adoptions, or various sorts of “reproductive technologies,” such as surrogacy or artificial insemination.

Further, some “opposite-sex” couples do not have children, either by choice or from infertility. Hence, drawing a legal demarcation for purposes of marriage around “opposite-sex couples” because of their potential ability or decision to have children generates a simultaneously under-inclusive and over-inclusive legal classification. Consider the Perry case’s way of addressing this question:

“The court asked the parties to identify a difference between heterosexuals and homosexuals that the government might fairly need to take into account when crafting legislation…. Proponents pointed only to a difference between same-sex couples (who are incapable through sexual intercourse of producing offspring biologically related to both parties) and opposite-sex couples (some of whom are capable through sexual intercourse of producing such offspring)…. Proponents did not, however, advance any reason why the government may use sexual orientation as a proxy for fertility or why the government may need to take into account fertility when legislating…. No evidence at trial illuminating distinctions among lesbians, gay men and heterosexuals amounting to ‘real and undeniable differences’ that the government might need to take into account in legislating.”
Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 721 F. Supp. 2d 921 (2010), 997

The conclusion then seems inevitable: while the state has a valid interest in stabilizing familial relations for the sake of children, this concern would be better met by opening marriage to all couples heading households with children, regardless of the parents’ “orientation.”

However, this question of the relationship between marriage and children is filtered though a more basic part of the courts’ arguments, viz. that in fact marriage can no longer be considered ordered to the child. Rather, marriage is ordered to the enduring relationship of the spouses and their life together, which may or may not include children, as the spouses choose.

The Perry trial court records extensive expert testimony concerning the evolution of marriage’s meaning over time, while no acceptable or believable expert testimony could be produced to show procreation’s continuing essential link to marriage. Professor Nancy Cott, a Harvard historian and expert on marriage in America, testified that if marriage was previously considered a way of linking parents and children or to assure paternity, it now centers on the formation of a household and the common life of a couple.

Why would the state have an interest in licensing, regulating, and promoting marriage if it no longer possesses a necessary or intrinsic link to the child? Because it stabilizes households and the intimate relations on which they are founded, and this in turn promotes economic prosperity, personal and social wellbeing, and security in times of vulnerability, whether or not children are part of the picture. Indeed, the Goodridge court tells us that the “‘marriage is procreation’ argument singles out the one unbridgeable difference between same-sex and opposite-sex couples, and transforms that difference into the essence of legal marriage.” [4]

As the foregoing suggests, once procreativity is no longer essential to the idea of marriage, a crucial element of the argument is made available. This is the apparent sameness of “opposite-” and “same-sex” couples. Because “same-sex couples” are essentially like “opposite-sex” couples, they are also similarly situated for civil and legal purposes. Evidence of this sameness runs throughout the courts’ opinions. The Perry court cites extensive expert testimony, from a parade of sociologists, psychologists, and others to support the idea. Both courts note that the gay or lesbian plaintiffs before them have remained in long-term, “committed” relationships.

Both courts emphasize a commonality of the hopes and desires between “same-sex” and “opposite-sex” couples. Both courts regard love and enduring companionship as the basis of the relationship. The Goodridge court, at least, emphasizes the common middle-class standing of the two types of couples. The argument concludes that the question of “gay marriage” can be understood primarily in terms of the assimilation of so-called same-sex couples into existing social structures and institutions. Indeed, it implies that the assimilation can occur without substantially changing the authentic meaning or significantly disrupting those structures and institutions. As the Goodridge court put it, “the plaintiffs seek only to be married, not to undermine the institution of marriage.”

This idea of sameness then mediates further consideration of the meaning and place of procreativity. While “same-sex couples” cannot produce offspring genetically related to both of them through their sex acts, this fact in no way distinguishes them from sterile “opposite-sex couples.” Or alternatively, “same-sex couples” who do employ reproductive technologies are in no pertinent way essentially different from fertile “opposite-sex couples.” Once, this essential sameness is accepted, it becomes clear that the two types of couples really are just that: two parallel types. They are therefore essentially equivalent and similarly situated with respect to their social meaning and the status of their interests.

But what about the argument that the optimal conditions for raising children requires the presence of both a mother and a father? Importantly, the argument from sameness feeds back into this question, as well. For the concept of sameness is not only brought to bear on the differing but equivalent types of couples, but more fundamentally on the sexes themselves.

This point is part of the deeper logic of the entire debate: the relationship between two men or two women is equivalent (anthropologically) to a relationship between a man and woman precisely because the sexes are essentially the same (anthropologically). The sexes differ only in outward, biological aspects. Hence, to the claim that children need both a mother and a father for ideal development, the Goodridge court responded that such an argument smacks of “gender stereotyping,” of the false prejudice that men and women have different roles in the family, which the state long ago rejected as a matter of policy. As Perry concludes,

“Children do not need to be raised by a male parent and a female parent to be well-adjusted, and having both a male and a female parent does not increase the likelihood that a child will be well-adjusted.”
Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 721 F. Supp. 2d 921 (2010), 981

Again, extensive expert testimony was offered to support this proposition, while hardly any expert testimony was offered for the opposite viewpoint. According to Perry, the argument that having both a mother and father is optimal implies also a return to the legal differentiation between the roles of husband and wife under the universally rejected common law doctrine of coverture.[ Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 721 F. Supp. 2d 921 (2010), 992-993]  In short, to say that men and women are different in some unspecified way (to specify opens one to the charge of “stereotyping”) implies a return to institutionalized sexism.

Once these arguments have been eliminated, the opposition to civil recognition of “same-sex marriage” can only be based on moral disapproval of homosexuality. But the courts have rejected the idea that simple moral disapproval of the majority can suffice as a legitimate basis for state laws limiting fundamental rights. Rather, state laws must be rationally related to a legitimate state purpose, and mere moral disapproval cannot serve as such a purpose.

An Illusion
This last point concerning the legal value of moral disapproval of a majority suggests another theme in the courts’ reasoning – the sharp distinction between public reason and private morality. The claim of the traditional arguments’ irrationality is of course made in a civil and legal context. The courts emphasize repeatedly that they are only addressing “civil marriage,” that is to say, marriage insofar as it is a juridical creature of state legislation.

This limitation allows them to say that they are not mandating a moral position, but only making a judgment about what the law requires. “Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code”[Goodridge, at 312, and concurring opinion of Justice Greaney, at 349 (both citing Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 [2003]).]  is a claim piously repeated by the courts. The Goodridge court appears at least to acknowledge the legitimacy of citizens’ deeply held convictions on both sides of the “gay marriage” issue.

The implication would seem to be, then, that the issue of “gay marriage” transects two distinct domains – the public and the private – and that, if the traditional arguments are not civilly or legally rational, they may be rational – and therefore morally sustainable – in contexts other than the civil or legal one, where broader religious and moral starting points are relevant and may be decisive.

The courts seem, therefore, to offer a kind of settlement of the issue, by means of the distinction between the public and the private. But this “settlement” trades on an ambiguity in the idea of “tolerance.” The ostensibly non-moral notion of tolerance proffered by the courts would treat the concept as a merely legal one. It would have us suppose that tolerance means governmental neutrality to two positions, a neutrality that would leave in place a kind of modus vivendi between irreconcilable worldviews.

The question then is whether tolerance really can be thought of in this way, or whether it does not slide into another sense of tolerance, one which is thoroughly moral. This latter would see tolerance not as an agreement to disagree for practical and political reasons, but as signifying an imperative for the acceptance of diverse views and ways as equally valid.

This second version of tolerance, then, offers a standard for judgment concerning the proper disposition one has toward all others within society. Anyone who does not accept this moral standard sets himself beyond the pale of legitimate public discourse. Where this happens, a given private position might be politically and legally “tolerated” on a conditional basis due to prudential considerations, such as preserving countervailing principles of autonomy (e.g. “religious freedom”) or the undesirability of intruding too overtly in domestic or ecclesial matters.

This second version would nevertheless seek gradually to instill tolerance as a personal and public virtue, one that would dictate a moral and finally anthropological position regarding questions such as that of “gay marriage.” It would seek to inculcate not only a begrudging acceptance of the de facto presence of an opposing worldview, but the actual embrace of the new idea of marriage – that “same-sex” and “opposite-sex” marriage are essentially and morally equivalent and should be accepted as such.

If the courts at times speak as though they have the “merely” legal notion of tolerance in mind, in reality of course they have the second, and necessarily so. This is because tolerance in the first sense can only be an illusion in issues that involve beliefs about vital human matters. These are matters that necessarily involve our deepest convictions about what humanity is. Disagreement on such points cannot help but touch on the foundations of culture and society.

In a moment we will see that an anthropological shift is underway. But, for now, if the arguments against “gay marriage” are publicly irrational, that must necessarily mean that they are also publicly bigoted. But bigoted public arguments are in fact immoral public arguments, and this means that the private position will always be at least publicly immoral.

But can there be a position that is publicly immoral and yet privately moral? If issues such as “gay marriage” necessarily imply a certain conception of society, then rejection of the conception will appear to be antisocial, uncivil. And so it turns out that the concept of “tolerance” is in fact a demand of conformity in moral and anthropological belief.

In short, the tolerance that really is proffered is provisional and contingent, tailored to accommodate what is conceived as a significant but shrinking segment of society that holds a publicly unacceptable private bigotry. Where over time it emerges that this bigotry has not in fact disappeared, more aggressive measures will be needed, which will include more explicit legal and educational components, as well as simple ostracism.

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Restoring the Broken Image: Healing Homosexuality 2 — Andrew J. Sodergren

April 9, 2013
While there is little published research to support Nicolosi’s views or therapeutic strategies – a fact which, in the eyes of the psychological establishment, justifies their marginalization – Nicolosi has done a laudable job of developing the academic and clinical foundations of reparative therapy. They deserve study by any psychologist or other academic or professional motivated to understand how family experiences may contribute to the development of homosexuality, and how psychotherapy may help to resolve it for those who wish to be healed.

While there is little published research to support Nicolosi’s views or therapeutic strategies – a fact which, in the eyes of the psychological establishment, justifies their marginalization – Nicolosi has done a laudable job of developing the academic and clinical foundations of reparative therapy. They deserve study by any psychologist or other academic or professional motivated to understand how family experiences may contribute to the development of homosexuality, and how psychotherapy may help to resolve it for those who wish to be healed.

The second part of a reblogging of a recent article in Humanum, the following essay reviews these books that Homosexualists fear:

Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse, Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation (InterVarsity Press, 2007), 414 pages

Mark A. Yarhouse, Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends (Bethany House Press, 2010), 239 pages

Joseph J. Nicolosi, Shame and Attachment Loss: The Practical Work of Reparative Therapy (InterVarsity Press, 2009), 474 pages

****************************************************

Perhaps Yarhouse’s most helpful contribution is his “three-tier distinction.” Yarhouse distinguishes between three levels of homosexual phenomena:

  1. Same-sex attraction,
  2. Homosexual orientation, and
  3. Gay identity.

Same-sex attraction (SSA) is the most basic descriptive level of experience

Many people experience SSA some of the time. When a person consistently experiences SSA as the prominent way of being with others, then we can speak of it as an “orientation,” a persistent pattern of attraction.

Yarhouse argues that people do not typically have a choice about what sort of attractions they experience and how those attractions cluster into an overall orientation. While some people can experience change at those levels through therapy or religious activities, many do not. However, Yarhouse argues that when we move from orientation to the level of identity, human freedom becomes much more explicitly involved. Identity is not a given, but is at least partly chosen. It entails a certain social status, values, and lifestyle choices.

Yarhouse seems to want to wake people up to the reality that even though they may experience SSA and/or are stuck with a homosexual orientation, they do not need to center their identity on this. He offers a helpful alternative to the cultural “gay script” that says that these attractions reveal your true self and that in order to be happy, one must identify with them, embrace them and live them out.

Rather, Yarhouse suggests that SSA is but one element of a person’s experience, and each person can choose whether or not to center their identity and lifestyle around that experience. Instead of centering their identity on SSA, Yarhouse argues that people can establish their identities on other things such as their gender as a man or a woman, their spousal or familial roles, or their spirituality (e.g., a disciple of Christ).

In so doing, such a person can learn to live with unwanted SSA with an attitude of acceptance while still embracing and pursuing more central values, such as their faith in Christ. Yarhouse goes on to apply this framework to numerous situations such as when a child, adolescent, young adult, or even a spouse announces a gay identity. Many will find his guidance extremely helpful.

What of those for whom living with SSA as a persistent feature of their lives is not adequate? After all, the Christian faith teaches that in the beginning it was not so, that man was created for woman and vice versa so that the two can become one flesh. For those individuals who struggle with SSA and desire a deeper level of healing, there exists a scattered network of reparative therapists.

The leader of this movement is Joseph Nicolosi, whose writings on the subject have shaped the field and whose recent book Shame and Attachment Loss is the main textbook for the theory and technique of reparative therapy.

Nicolosi’s goal is clear: to heal homosexuality and enhance heterosexual potential. While acknowledging that biology may play a role in predisposing certain people for developing SSA, he places greater emphasis on experiential factors, principally in the family of origin. His is the most detailed and nuanced theory regarding the development of male homosexuality. Drawing on attachment research, family systems theory, psychodynamic theory, and interpersonal neurobiology, Nicolosi provides a highly nuanced and plausible account of the development of male homosexuality.

Nicolosi regards homosexuality as a shame-based system. Because of problems in the family of origin – including the relationships with mother, father, and the marital relationship – the young boy experiences his attempts to individuate from his mother to bond with his father and thereby identify with his masculine role as failures. These failures are met with disapproval and disconnection, leaving the boy in a state of shame.

Furthermore, he feels that this shame is somehow his fault, that it is a reflection of who he truly is. As a result, he gives up on this important developmental task and instead develops a “false self” such as the “nice little boy” in order to keep some semblance of an attachment to his parents alive.

Reparative therapy derives its name from Nicolosi’s notion of homosexuality as a reparative drive. He theorizes that homosexuality is a maladaptive attempt to make up for the developmental failure described above and finally achieve a secure masculine identity and acceptance in the world of men. It is a striving to finally get it right and is most likely to arise when those early shame states are triggered in the adolescent or adult male’s life. When this occurs, he is likely to feel depressed and worthless.

Homosexual behavior then looms large as a shortcut to masculine identity and attachment security, but according to Nicolosi, it fails to deliver. Nicolosi’s approach to therapy involves helping the individual experience and understand the underlying emotional states such as shame that drive his homosexual desires and behavior and gradually help him to see the futility in trying to fill up what was lacking in the family of origin through homosexual means. Rather he needs to stop defending against a deep sadness and despair about what should have been but what was not. In a word, he needs to grieve.

Through emotion-focused therapy, grief work, and resolving childhood traumas, Nicolosi aims to help his male patients more consistently achieve a healthy assertive stance in relating to others and experience truly intimate friendships. In doing so, the true self is restored and the false self abandoned. Gradually, the homosexual compulsion is weakened and a secure masculine identity is strengthened.

Nicolosi’s work is masterful in terms of detail and clarity. He frequently draws on his 20+ years of treating male homosexuals by providing reflections from his patients and extensive transcripts from sessions to illustrate aspects of the theory and the therapy. While there is little published research to support his views or therapeutic strategies – a fact which, in the eyes of the psychological establishment, justifies their marginalization – Nicolosi has done a laudable job of developing the academic and clinical foundations of reparative therapy.

They deserve study by any psychologist or other academic or professional motivated to understand how family experiences may contribute to the development of homosexuality, and how psychotherapy may help to resolve it for those who wish to be healed.

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