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.