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Joseph Bottum and His Bottom Line

August 24, AD2013 19 Comments

Howard Duncan - Bottum

I do have to admit that I am extremely jealous of Joseph Bottum. He was actually paid by the Luce Foundation to write a very long essay describing a hoped-for fantasy future to be provided by marriage redefinition. I know what the subject of his essay is supposed to be about (homosexuality or gayuality if you prefer), but I am not quite sure why he has decided to dump Catholic teaching and a boatload of friends in order to propose a social experiment.

As the Catholic blogosphere reacts to a very visible Catholic writer/editor’s supposed reversal of attitude about marriage, I thought I would read his public explanation and justification for putting marriage in the crapper. Lamenting the apparent loss of a friend he describes as playing “let’s-embarrass-strangers-with-my-sexuality” game, he keeps coming back to that relationship in his essay for some reason.

Alright, I have lived in New York and I can tell you that until you have been passed on a sidewalk, with no warning, from behind, by a roller-skating chimp (in winter) as I have, you haven’t seen the best that its weirdness has to offer. Putting the friendship aside, I tried to follow his reasoning all the way to the bottum, to try and get to the bottum of it all. Along the way we get his opinion on various subjects.

A lonely life without a wife (not good), parents who change their mind about homosexual marriage when their son comes-out (ineffective argument), homosexual tactics to destroy the Church (you’re busted), why the Bishops should not fight this (we all know it is the only concern they are putting resources into), the Manhattan Declaration, DOMA, Pope Francis’s first Encyclical, enchantment (?), and much more. The bulk of this essay is sort of a recent history of social issues observed from a position inside of his head. Anyone who has followed this redefinition of marriage fight will not be edified.

This man is a very good writer. He knows lots of words and his grammar is impeccable. But what is he actually saying? I didn’t see any groundwork laid for his eventual proposition. Here is the summation of what he was getting at after I finally got to the end.

He writes:

“In fact, same-sex marriage might prove a small advance in chastity in a culture that has lost much sense of chastity. Same-sex marriage might prove a small advance in love in a civilization that no longer seems to know what love is for. Same-sex marriage might prove a small advance in the coherence of family life in a society in which the family is dissolving. I don’t know that it will, of course…”

So, it boils down to rejecting the Church’s teaching and common sense understanding about marriage in order to perform a social experiment where love (I am not sure how he would describe this) seems to be the central theme. A view that proposes a hope for mankind as the Church waits in the wings for the results.

A view that proposes that men and women who are sexually attracted to the same sex are somehow superior enough to achieve what ordinary mortals cannot – a reversal of the instability of marriage. He also says:

“I UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS not the answer my traditional-marriage friends demand. But then, it’s not the answer same-sex marriage advocates want, either. Far too many people on both sides see the issue in such stark terms that they dismiss any nuance as merely giving excuse to immorality.”

Yes, he has stated the issue as we understand it, but not the solution. Marriage has been defined by the nature of it’s participants and by God, In the Beginning…, as between a man and a woman. It is starkly understood, simply stated, and biblically correct. The nuances are in the execution of the sacrament by the parties involved. And any wishy-washy in-between attempts to satisfy un-enchanted sexual lusts, is indeed giving an excuse to immorality.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

H.L. Duncan is a senior citizen widower in his 8th decade of life (70s) who was married for 36 years to his only wife Jill. He lives on 40 acres of the Great Basin Desert in an owner built solar powered home. He has three children who have left the nest and are now too far away. After an Episcopalian childhood, his teen years brought on the disease of agnosticism with occasional bouts of atheism. He entered the Church in 2010 and says he has felt at home ever since. His working life included Forest Fire Truck Driver, Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa building schools, Motion Picture Cameraman in industrial films and while in the U.S. Army, production assistant to a Producer in Hollywood, Professional Still Photographer, Photo Lab Technician, Postal Service Letter Carrier, Computer Systems Analyst in business and government, Computer Consulting, Owner of an Internet business, Web site creation. His educational background is mostly self directed reading and experiential but does include; A graduate of the London School of Film Technique, London, England, AA degree in Business Data Processing with an additional course in accounting, Seminars and technical classes. He now spends his days in local parish church work and Right to Life groups, Internet conversations with new friends and old enemies of the Church.

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