Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Catholic Church's Obsession With Gay Marriage



By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network


I'm having some difficulty understanding the Catholic church's opposition to gay marriage.

My son argues I'm off base on this one. That if I believe in free speech, then I should be defending the Catholic church's right to oppose gay marriage. That the leaders of the church have as much a right to weigh in on the issue as anyone else.

Fair enough. But I still see an incongruity in it doing so.

This discussion was prompted by the bishops of the Catholic church in New Jersey asking the faithful to pray that a bill that would legalize gay marriage in the Garden State fail. Or at least not pass until Governor-elect Chris Christie is sworn in in January. Because Christie - a practicing Catholic - says if it passes on his watch he'll veto it.

But here's the part that I have trouble understanding. Most marriages are conducted by members of the clergy. And it's very unlikely that any Catholic priests are going to perform gay weddings if they are legalized. So why does the Catholic church even care? It's not going to affect it one way or another.

If another denomination's ministers want to perform gay weddings if the law passes - then that's their business. The fact is - if New Jersey approves gay weddings - it will have absolutely no affect on the Catholic church.

Shouldn't the bishops only be concerned about conduct within their churches? Why should they have a say over what's done in other churches?

New Jersey already allows for civil unions between members of the same sex. So the only real difference here is that members of the cloth will be able to officiate over weddings. The law wouldn't require them to do so. So all the Catholic priests in New Jersey can follow the dictates of the bishops and opt out.

The bishops, of course, have the right - and the responsibility - to uphold their beliefs within the confines of their churches. But what right have they to impose those beliefs upon the clergy of other faiths?

My son is correct when he says they have the right to speak out. But that doesn't mean they are right in doing so.

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Photo/http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonno259/314423654/

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

in the Holy Bible the Lord considers male on male or female with female in a sexual relationship as an abomination, For Man was made for women for procreation, as well as sexual gratification. In the Catholic church until very recently, priests who had perverted sex with little boys were just sent to other churches, in or out of the diocese, Today they are written up by the church abd their indescretion is made public. there was a period in Catholic history , that priests were allowed to be married. if that was embraced by the church today, as a natural path for man. perhaps there would be more satisfied clergy and also those who could really relate to family life. Just my opinion. this would make a good discussion for network news, thank you Gary. for your comments here and for Daniel's as well. Barbara Erb

Anonymous said...

Who are you to say whether the church is right or not in speaking out? The church doesn't live in a bubble. They have every right to have a say on social issues like gay marriage and abortion that affect the larger society.

Gary Baumgarten said...

If you read more carefully, anonymous, you would see that I said the church has the right to speak out. But that I don't believe it is right in doing so.

It's a distinction that may have eluded you when you read the piece.

Anonymous said...

That point didn't elude me. My main point was with regard to your last sentence: 'But that doesn't mean they are right in doing so.'

DECLARATION OF CIVIL EQUALITY said...

You are right, the Roman Catholic Church does have its right to preach its opinion from the pulpit on biblical issues, but as of late, It has been crossing the line when it comes to secular politics, and attempting to extort politicians to bend to their positions. Not all people follow the Catholic Church's point of view. Many faiths, as the Episcopal church of which I am a member, historically have fundamental differences on marriage equality, divorce, and women's rights. I was married to my partner in Mass. and blessed by a Priest, so we do have same sex marriages in this country, and it has made no difference to the Catholic Church what so ever.

I think the issue is a greater one, The Church's hierarchy of Liberal Bishops have been replaced by Conservative Bishops as appointed under John Paul II. The major hang-up they have is about sex, only to be used for procreation, and their loss in dictating the beliefs of society and in general their influence in politics. They have been seeing their positions diminish and lately are attempting to use this debate as a tool to re-assert themselves into society and the political system.

Gay marriage, as well as the health care debate in regards to woman's rights, is that cause they can rally their conservative faithful behind and sure up support. What makes it wrong is that they are using their position in politics which is legally wrong, it is also ethically wrong.