Tuesday, March 8, 2011

AB Dolan On Obama's Refusal To Defend DOMA

This 'divorce cake' pretty much states what AB Dolan can do for the following op ed of his on gay marriage.

Archbishop Dolan gets just a tad carried away in the following op ed.  Maybe my opinion has been influenced by the fact that as I read this I had Tammy Wynette's song D-I-V-O-R-C-E merrily rolling along in the back of my head.

Archbishop Dolan Calls Refusal to Defend Defense of Marriage Act an 'Alarming and Grave Injustice'

"The announcement on February 23 that the President has instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is an alarming and grave injustice. Marriage, the union of one man and one woman as husband and wife, is a singular and irreplaceable institution. Only a man and a woman are capable of the "two-in-one-flesh" union of husband and wife.  (Of course a lot of that "two-in-one flesh" thing goes on with out the benefit of marriage and that kind produces children as well.)
Only a man and a woman have the ability to bring children into the world. Along with that ability comes responsibility, which society historically reinforces with laws that bind mothers and fathers to each other and their children. This family unit represents the most basic and vital cell of any society, protecting the right of children to know and be known by, to love and be loved by, their mother and father. Thus, marriage represents the bedrock of the common good of society, its very foundation and future.  (Actually a real live male is no longer necessary for bringing children in the world.  Oh yea, I forgot, Catholics are against that notion as well.)
Contrary to the Attorney General's statement, DOMA does not single out people based on sexual "orientation" or inclination. Every person deserves to be treated with justice, compassion, and respect, a proposition of natural law and American law that we as Catholics vigorously promote. Unjust discrimination against any person  is always wrong. But DOMA is not "unjust discrimination"; rather, it merely affirms and protects the time-tested and unalterable meaning of marriage. The suggestion that this definition amounts to "discrimination" is grossly false and represents an affront to millions of citizens in this country. (David Duke tried a similar rationale for the KKK.  The Klan wasn't into discriminating against blacks, just affirming whites.  I don't remember too many Americans buying into Duke's similar rhetorical tactic.)
  The decision also does not stand the test of common sense. It is hardly "discrimination" to say that a husband and a wife have a unique and singular relationship that two persons of the same sex-or any unmarried persons-simply do not and cannot have. Nor is it "discrimination" to believe that the union of husband and wife has a distinctive and exclusive significance worthy of promotion and protection by the state. It is not "discrimination" to say that having both a mother and a father matters to and benefits a child. Nor is it "discrimination" to say that the state has more than zero interest in ensuring that children will be intimately connected with and raised by their mother and father.

Protecting the definition of marriage is not merely permissible, but actually necessary as a matter of justice. Having laws that affirm the vital importance of mothers and fathers-laws that reinforce, rather than undermine, the ideal that children should be raised by their own mother and father-is essential for any just society. Those laws serve not only the good of the spouses and their children, but the common good. Those laws are now under relentless attack. If we forget the meaning of marriage, we forget what it means to be a human person, what it means to be a man or a woman. Have we wandered away so far in our society as to forget why men and women matter, and eroded the most central institution for our children and for our future?  (It's amazing to me that a man who professes celibacy could even write this drivel.  Has denying himself marriage and the intimacy of a woman made him forget what it means to be a human person?  Hmmm  Maybe it has.)

The Administration's current position is not only a grave threat to marriage, but to religious liberty and the integrity of our democracy as well. Our nation and government have the duty to recognize and protect marriage, not tamper with and redefine it, nor to caricature the deeply held beliefs of so many citizens as "discrimination."

On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I express my deep disappointment over the Administration's recent decision.

I have written of these concerns to the President in separate correspondence, and I pray that he and the Department of Justice may yet make the right choice to carry out their constitutional responsibility, defending the irreplaceable institution of marriage, and in so doing protect the future generations of our children."  (Has somebody suggested we replace marriage rather than add gay couples to marriage?  I must have missed that.)
It sure looks like Archbishop Dolan must sense this particular battle in the culture wars is a lost one.  The language is getting more and more desperate.  If I was truly getting forgetful about my gender, public restrooms are there to remind me.  I don't need to have sex to remind me there is a difference between me and the guy next door.
Gays are not getting into the marriage battle in order to take anything away from straights.  They are attempting to achieve the same legal benefits straight couples without children already enjoy.  Operative words are straight couples with out children.  The subsequent arrival of children is secondary to the marriage contract and then other benefits and responsibilities ensue, and most of those come into play without the need for marriage.  Most of Dolan's argumentation is already  covered in existing secular law.  
Society is doing all it reasonably can to insure straight couples take care of their children.  There are huge agencies on all levels of government that deal with those straights who can't or won't take responsibility for the children they've created in their moments of "two in one flesh" .  All of us tax payers, gay, straight or celibate get to help pay for that government concern.  Gay marriage will have zero effect on all of that.  Although it might have some effect in that gays might feel freer to actually be who they are and not so pressured into being who they are not.  We could actually see a drop in divorce statistics.
I find epistles like Dolan's embarrassing for him and for Catholicism.  I'm way past the point of getting angry.  I'm embarrassed for him the way I get embarrassed for any employee who feels pressured into supporting some company policy which is mostly absurd or patently non sensical.  I have a friend who maintains the only way people can get away with this kind of behavior is by not having mirrors in their houses so they don't have to look themselves in the eye.  Given the current track record of a lot of our bishops, I have a suspicion lots of them don't have mirrors in their houses.

One thing I do think is coming out of all this gay marriage angst is a second look at the difference between being married and being a parent.  Just because our attitude towards marriage has traditionally implied that marriage automatically qualifies one for parenthood it's now becoming more acceptable to see that's something of a fantasy.  Parenting is a unique and separate skill from managing to have fertile sex and it isn't particularly gender or orientation dependent.  Dolan certainly doesn't want this kind of discussion, but coupling heterosexual fertility with parenting only invites it.  Lots of cultures have had societal arrangements for raising children which weren't completely dependent on the couple who coupled.  They may have been dependent on the mother for the early years of a child's life, but after that the tribe or extended family --or even the illegal immigrant/slave nanny-- did the parenting.

So this whole idea that marriage is about parenting children does not really hold water.  It's just one method of many for raising children.  The real issue should be divorce and it's effect on children in a society that has placed virtually all parenting responsibility on a nuclear model of family.  That is demonstrably not a good thing for children.  Archbishop Dolan certainly knows this so I can't help but wonder why he and the USCCB aren't agitating to rid the land of no fault divorce in marriages with children.  Or why the National Organization for Marriage or the K of C aren't working that angle.  Since they aren't,  I can't help but believe this anti gay marriage thing really is all about gay discrimination no matter how loud they protest it's all about our precious children.


  1. What it is about is reinforcing the caste system that is in place in the RCC. Only unmarried men get to be church leaders. Nuns get to teach school or nurse patients. Married men get to support families. Married women get to mother children. Unmarried, non-vowed men and women are both just older children. Authority flows in a specific direction through the RCC to the married man as head of his family and down.

    In this view, social roles are not made for human beings. Human beings are made for the rigidly structured social roles. It is almost as if God created static social roles and not dynamic human beings.

  2. I always enjoy your side comments. You have a good take on this.

  3. "Human beings are made for the rigidly structured social roles." Great point and this is a huge problem with the problem with the entire argument against gay marriage. The argument is not based in real people doing what actual people do, it is based in social roles in which actual people are stuffed.

  4. Excellent points. It reminds me of what my mother has said, "the church should be for the people, not the people for the church." The hierarchy all too often thinks the people should be for the church and that the hierarchy itself is the church.

  5. "Human beings are made for the rigidly structured social roles."

    "T'Pel"/Veronica says "social roles" like they are a bad thing. Let's start by recognizing they exist and have a purpose. Then we can talk about how malleable they are - how, why, in what context, and to what end.

  6. Mark, I most certainly did NOT say or even imply that social roles are a bad thing. What I said was according to RCC doctrine, only very rigid social roles exist and humans are to accept that. The 'rigidly structured' part is what I have a problem with. As well as the idea that those roles are a higher good than even human beings.