Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thoughts on Last Night’s Gay Marriage Discussion

Although our discussion spanned a variety of topics and avenues of thought, I believe we stayed focused on the original question posed: Can we sustain a non-religious argument against homosexual marriage?*

First, I felt that we came to the conclusion, no, we cannot. Now, when we discussed whether this was the case primarily because of the state of marriage in the US, or the interpretation of sexuality or gender roles, or some other reason, there was an absence of unanimity.

Second, I think we came to a different conclusion by saying we still have the responsibility to oppose homosexual marriage (Ratzinger).** [Is omission of direct action acceptable?]

These two points lead me to question what I think was on Mr. Porch Rat’s mind throughout the evening: Is there a dilemma, paradox, or real issue at hand here?

For myself, the evening opened up a multitude of discussible doors. I am sure my list is not exhaustive: 1) the relationship between Church and State, in the US and in general; 2) gender roles; 3) sexuality (this is a personal interest of mine); 4) homosexuality as inherently wrong and why – i.e. Why it is NOT the same (according to the Church) when someone is born with an attraction to the opposite sex as a person is born with an attraction to the same sex – and if this is ever provable, or can be put in an argument that non-religious can agree with; 5) our action or omission in the US’s debate over homosexual marriage; and 6) marriage.

I guess we need to decide (and by “we” I mean someone who hasn’t already led a discussion) whether or not to take one of the above discussions (or something related to them), or if we should go in a different direction – maybe back to something more “purely” philosophic? Someone needs to confidently step up and get the next topic going!

*Of course, we need to be aware of the fact that this question may not necessarily mean we cannot oppose homosexual marriage in a democratic state, since we are not asked to consciously reject our religious beliefs in the voting booth.

**I am still struggling with Ratzinger’s imperative. I understand it on one level – i.e. It blatantly defies Church teaching about the human person and human relationships, and as such, it needs to be opposed – but on a different level, I question it. Should we also be opposing contraception? Would Ratzinger say that?

1 comment:

  1. What a whirlwind! The combination of our discussions here, new developments in UN positions, and my readings for my history thesis, all convince me of the serious earthquake that took place during the Enlightenment (possibly as a result of the Reformation, but that’s another story). More than an articulated philosophy or worldview, it disseminated a sense, feeling, or sentiment—like vanilla extract swirling and spreading in French Toast batter—that reality is material. This was not an atheistic move; in all probability there’s “a God”, but he doesn’t matter. An educated person makes pragmatic decisions, based on science, or economic theory, or military theory, etc., but not on “spiritual” terms. The people who do that are that quaint, well-meaning but unenlightened crowd.
    The scaffolding that holds up modern intellectual thought and policy is in so many ways built out of Enlightenment worldview: distant rational deity, inalienable natural rights, political rights based on a social contract. This is cute, but the Human Person is gigantically and cosmically too big for that scaffold.
    To me, all your points—church&state relations, gender roles, homosexuality and marriage—when they come before government, are viewed through this worldview, which is just a matter of political rights granted by a government. To even begin to have a conversation with a secular materialist requires finding initial common ground… but this ground is vital because its also the foundation of law. To me a very important piece of information to remember is that the Holocaust was LEGAL!!!