Chesterton Quotes For the Supreme Court

Frank - facade and statue

Frank - facade and statue

I just can’t help thinking that some of G.K. Chesterton’s ideas could greatly help our Supreme Court Justices as they ponder the question of so-called same-sex “marriage” these next few weeks.

The giant of English Letters (1874-1936), who converted to the Catholic Faith in 1922, always defended marriage and the family, the home, the Faith, and common sense. He is hardly mentioned today outside of Catholic circles. He is not studied in most universities—they have a real flight from quality these days. His cause is under consideration for canonization now. So you might be reading the writings of a future saint.

He comments on every subject: religion, politics, history, literature, law … and cigars. I hope he inspires, amuses, and informs our readers like he does me every day. He might even convert someone, like he did me, by the grace of God.

Who knows? He might still even influence a Supreme Court Justice or two? After all, six of them are Catholic.

Here are my ten favorite Chesterton quotes: (My comments are in brackets.)

1. “Right is right even if nobody does it. Wrong is still wrong even if everybody is wrong about it.” Saying that everybody thinks this so it must be right is an excuse and not a sound basis for guiding our actions. Saint Pope John Paul II said, “The truth is not always the same as the majority decision.”

2. “The pursuit of pleasure is merely the pursuit of fashion. The pursuit of fashion is merely the pursuit of convention only that it happens to be a new convention…But the enjoyment of convention is not really the same thing as the enjoyment of liberty.” To base marriage merely on the romance and pleasure of the adults is not marriage. Why should the state even be involved in romance?

Kyle Duncan, the original lead attorney in the Hobby Lobby case, and who filed an amicus brief on behalf of several states, said on EWTN’s The World Over this week, “Marriage is an age old bedrock social institution…Before 2001 in the Netherlands, and before 2003 in Massachusetts, no state and no country had ever recognized this new form of marriage … Two-thirds of the states now favor traditional marriage…If the courts were not forcing the states to recognize same-sex marriage you might have same-sex marriage in eleven or twelve states and the District of Columbia, but you wouldn’t have it in two-thirds of the states.”

Al Kresta said on Kresta in the Afternoon, April 30, “Traditional marriage consists of the sacrificial love of a couple which would eventually lead to children.” Along with the bonding and commitment of the complementary man and woman it involves sacrifice for the protection and providing for of children, the future of society, for the good of the society. Marriage existed since before there were governments, before there were religions, even before there was history.

3.”When you break the big laws, you do not get freedom. You do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws.” “The commandments are the big laws,” says Dale Ahlquist in The Complete Thinker: The Marvelous Mind of G. K. Chesterton. “The conventions are the small laws. The key to sanity and salvation, and even good humor, is to keep the commandments and break the conventions but we have it exactly backwards…We have come to the point where our laws are actually contrary to the commandments and enforce the breaking of the commandments—abortion, which is murder; no-fault divorce [and homosexual acts] which [are] adultery.” [Not inclinations alone.]

4. “Chesterton warned [in 1926] that the next great heresy would be right here, and it would be an attack on morality, especially sexual morality. He said: ‘The madness of tomorrow is not in Moscow but much more in Manhattan.’ He correctly predicted that there would be a ‘fashionable fatalism, founded on Freud.’ He said we would at once ‘exalt lust and forbid fertility.’ We would be no different than the commercial centers of antiquity, like Carthage, where they threw babies into the fire.’ He predicted that abortion would be considered a sign of ‘progress.’ He said that ‘our materialistic masters would put birth control into an immediate practical program’ before anyone was even aware that it had happened….The old parental authority,’ he said, would be swept away. Its place would be taken, ‘not by liberty or even license, but by the far more sweeping and destructive authority of the state.’ The state would become the only absolute in morals, so there would be ‘no appeal from it to God or man, to Christendom or conscience, to the individual or the family or the fellowship of all mankind.’” (Dale Ahlquist, G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense, pg. 175-76). Just look around.

5. “A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.” It is so easy to go along with the culture. It takes fortitude and fire to go against it.

6. “There are no Fascists; there are no Socialists; there are no Liberals; there are no Parliamentarians… There is only the Catholic Church and its enemies. And its enemies are ready to be for or against violence, for or against liberty, for or against representative government, and even for or against peace as long as they can be against the Church…Anything less than the Catholic Faith is narrow and shallow and ultimately barren. But we have come out of the shallows and the dry places to the one deep well; and the Truth is at the bottom of it.” It seems like the Secular Relativists, the Pro-Choice-rs, the hookup culture (both straight and gay), Big Business, Big Government, the Communists, the tyrants, most Democrats, and many Republicans, and many in other religions, are all against us. “In this world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

If a constitutional right to same-sex marriage is established ministers and churches could be forced to perform same-sex weddings. Duncan said that churches, schools, or any religious group could lose their tax exempt status if they adhered to traditional views of marriage.

7. “Nine out of ten of what we call new ideas are simply old mistakes…the madness of the Manicheans [a Christian heresy that began in the 3rd century and the Catholic Church has been fighting ever since], said that a suicide is good because it is a sacrifice [and it gets you to heaven sooner], that a sexual perversion is good because it produces no life.” They opposed regeneration and hated marriage most of all. Now we hear the same tired old ideas bubbling up again as they have for the past 1800 years. They are “narrow and shallow and ultimately barren.”

8. “[The Catholic Church] is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.” The culture can permeate every waking moment if we let it. There are thousands of messages to conform. It seems to take heroic virtue to keep doing church activities and to steer towards spiritual internet use, reading, and TV viewing such as EWTN.

9. “To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.” Yes, we have a right to sleep around, and to drink and drug—at least in Colorado and Washington, D.C—until we are drunk, stoned and stupid. But, believe me, I tried it decades ago and my life was so unfulfilled and wasted.

10. “Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” We hear talk of ‘modern morality,’ as if there are sins that it is now fashionable to ignore. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said that many leave the Church [and hate it] not because of its doctrine but because of the commandments, because of morality.

* * *

I hope that our readers will be inspired by his writings also. I would recommend St. Francis of Assisi, The Everlasting Man (the history of the world as it relates to Jesus), or The Man Who Was Thursday as good books to start on. Dale Ahlquist’s three books on Chesterton are exquisite, giving overall glimpses of the great writer’s works. He also hosts a brilliant TV show on EWTN G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense.

One final quote that I hope will leave you smiling: “The whole modern world [in 1924] has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.” Sound like today? Maybe this is one mistake we can prevent.

In recent years I have put my faith not in politics, but where it belongs, in God. I have been far more joyful and peaceful.

And as for the Supreme Court?

May the Holy Spirit guide your deliberations this Easter Season.

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129 thoughts on “Chesterton Quotes For the Supreme Court”

  1. Pingback: Google

  2. I have often suspected that so-called “EVP’s” are actually the recordings of intestinal gas; the ghost-hunters listen to their own intestines and, with a little imagination, manage to construct meaningful sentences from beyond.

    Sadly, the Supreme Court seems to use a similar methodology. If their preferred “interpretation” cannot be found in the words of the Constitution, nor in relevant federal law, nor in the debates leading to the ratification of the relevant documents, nor in the religion or philosophy that gave rise to this country, no matter: their bowels are not to be questioned. The only thing is, a burrrito from Taco Bell is less likely to give bad advice than a cocktail party hosted by the “smart set”, which is the true source of their oracles.

    1. Good points, Howard. Yes, unfortunately the Supreme Court often decides according to what is fashionable rather than what is law or true or good. “Laws?” they seem to say, “Who needs them? We are the law.”

      And I agree that advice from Taco Bell burritos is far more reliable than cocktail party chatter. Particularly their 7-layer burrito.

    2. I would think that vegetarian burritos have nothing relevant to say about the Supreme Court.

  3. Pingback: Supreme Court and So-Called Same-Sex Marriage - Big Pulpit

  4. Can anyone who frequents this site assist me in navigating Vatican.ca to locate an archive of the Holy Office of Pius IX Instructions which were issued and signed by the Pope . I have found many secondary sources but not an original instruction….there must be somewhere a digital form of the instruction and an archive of these….just cannot locate. Thanks for the help!

    1. Thank you Andre, and I mean it, for getting me to read the Bible this afternoon. St. Paul exhorts Philemon, a Christian slave owner, to take back his returning slave Onesimus “no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother, beloved especially by me, but even more so to you, as a man and in the Lord” (Philemon 16). http://www.usccb.org/bible/philemon/1
      In the Introduction it states, “Yet Paul by presenting Onesimus as “a brother beloved…to me, but even more so to you,” voiced an idea revolutionary in that day [as many other ideas in the New Testament such as the dignified treatment of children, of women and each other] and destined to break down worldly barriers of division “in the Lord.” [and, of course, we should always treat gays or anyone with dignity and respect].

      In Andre’s link: “the emphasis on St. Paul’s ‘dogmatic theology’ of slavery leads logically to the manumission [freeing] of Christian slaves.”
      (My comments are in brackets.)

      St. Callistus was a former slave and caretaker of the Catacombs who became Pope in 217.

      St. John Chrysostom (c. 400) in his sermons exhorted slave owners to teach their slaves crafts so that they may become self-supporting and then freeing them.

      Better links to the Catholic Church and Slavery: http://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/slavery
      http://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/ethical-aspect-of-slavery

    2. Your “better links” contain some repulsive excuses:

      Primitive Christianity did not attack slavery directly; but it acted as though slavery did not exist. By inspiring the best of its children with this heroic charity, examples of which have been given above, it remotely prepared the way for the abolition of slavery. To reproach the Church of the first ages with not having condemned slavery in principle, and with having tolerated it in fact, is to blame it for not having let loose a frightful revolution, in which, perhaps, all civilization would have perished with Roman society.

      I guess we should praise the Church for saving civilization by tolerating slavery. As for preparing the way for abolition…I mean, 1800 years later and it’s still saying that there’s nothing about slavery, in principle, that is against divine or natural law.

    3. Catholic Church thinking was the driving force behind the abolition of slavery in most of the world. In the US the Protestants were the main force because they were the vast majority. Catholic thinkers had been reflecting and writing on it for centuries. The Church was the first place that ever thought slavery was wrong. Many slaves were Christian. The nascent Church was a tiny community of just a few thousand in Rome and elsewhere. They were being persecuted, killed, hunted down, in hiding. Where they were tolerated, they often tolerated state policies just to survive. A few thousand strong is not going to rise up against the vast Roman Empire to change a deplorable economic institution.
      And their first mission was, and still is, to save human souls.

      “Nothing is more important than the state of the soul.” ~~G.K. Chesterton.

      I mean, take today. Many things go on where I work that are immoral but I don’t rise up and reprimand the bosses because I want to keep my job. I tolerate it and go about my business of gently telling people about how joyful, and purposeful, and hopeful my life has been since I found the Lord 8 years ago. Trying to steer them to the Lord.

      Didn’t you read the quotes about the Church speaking out against slavery? St. John Chrysostom in 400 A.D? The Pope in the 7th century spoke against it. The quotes from the Popes from the 15th century onward? Who were the agnostic or Atheist “thinkers” speaking up then? None. The Protestants didn’t even come along until the 16th century and their moral philosophy was based solidly on the Catholic foundation that had been laid down for 1800 years. Unfortunately change takes time and in this case it took centuries.

      The Church was the first and often only voice speaking up against the abuses of slavery, the enslavement of American Indians and around the world. Sure you can quote mine and find exceptions, but humans and institutions are flawed and there will always be mistakes and exceptions. But overall the Catholic Church is the greatest and oldest institution for good in human history.

      Some might think the New England Patriots—my team—but that is highly subjective. Why are some people in MA so over-inflated about themselves? They should let a little of the air out.

    4. The Church was the first place that ever thought slavery was wrong.

      The first? Pretty impressive. Reminder, the year was 1866 and they were still teaching that there was nothing intrinsically wrong with slavery. 🙁

    5. What part of the following quotes don’t you understand? Did you read them? I’ll post them again plus some new ones:
      In Andre’s link: “the emphasis on St. Paul’s ‘dogmatic theology’ of slavery leads logically to the manumission [freeing] of Christian slaves.”

      (My comments are in brackets.)

      St. Callistus was a former slave and caretaker of the Catacombs who became Pope in 217.

      St. John Chrysostom (c. 400) in his sermons exhorted slave owners to teach their slaves crafts so that they may become self-supporting and then freeing them.

      Better links to the Catholic Church and Slavery: http://www.catholic.com/encycl

      http://www.catholic.com/encycl

      “In the Bull of Canonization of the Jesuit Peter Claver, one of the most illustrious adversaries of slavery, Pius IX branded the ‘supreme villainy’ (summum nefas) of the slave traders. ~~Paul Allard.

      http://www.ewtn.com/vexperts/s

      More on the Catholic Church and Slavery:

      “…In 1462, Pius II declared slavery to be ‘great crime’ (magnum scelus); that, in 1537, Paul III forbade the enslavement of the Indians; that Urban VIII forbade it in 1639, and Benedict XIV in 1741; that Pius VII demanded of the Congress of Vienna, in 1815, the suppression of the slave-trade, and Gregory XVI condemned it in 1839; that, in the Bull of Canonization of the Jesuit Peter Claver, one of the most illustrious adversaries of slavery, Pius IX branded the ‘supreme villainy’ (summum nefas) of the slave-traders. Everyone knows of the beautiful letter which Leo XIII, in 1888, addressed to the Brazilian bishops, exhorting them to banish from their country the remnants of slavery a letter to which the bishops responded with their most energetic efforts, and some generous slave-owners by freeing their slaves in a body, as in the first ages of the Church…”~~Paul Allard. http://www.catholic.com/encycl

      Another link that the Catholic Church was against slavery: http://www.catholic.com/encycl

      “In 1866 the Holy Office, in response to an inquiry from Africa, ruled that although slavery ( servitus )[indentured servitude] was undesirable, it was not per se opposed to natural or divine law. This ruling pertained to the kind of servitude that was customary in certain parts of Africa at the time.” http://www.firstthings.com/article/2005/10/development-or-reversal

      As JoAnna commented: “As I suspected, it seems Pius IX was not referring to chattel slavery with that quote, as the article also contains information about popes who directly condemned chattel slavery as evil but did not condemn other forms of slavery (such as indentured servitude) as objectively evil.”)

      “Some prominent Catholics of the early nineteenth century, including J.M. Sailer, Daniel O’Connell, and the Comte de Montalembert, together with many Protestants, pressed for the total abolition of slavery.

      “Eugene IV in 1435 condemned the enslavement of the peoples of the newly colonized Canary Islands and, under pain of excommunication, ordered all such slaves to be immediately set free. Pius II and Sixtus IV emphatically repeated these prohibitions. In a bull addressed to all the faithful of the Christian world Paul III in 1537 condemned the enslavement of Indians in North and South America. Gregory XIV in 1591 ordered the freeing of all the Filipino slaves held by Spaniards. Urban VIII in 1639 issued a bull applying the principles of Paul III to Portuguese colonies in South America and requiring the liberation of all Indian slaves.

      “In 1781 Benedict XIV renewed the call of previous popes to free the Indian slaves of South America. Thus it was no break with previous teaching when Gregory XVI in 1839 issued a general condemnation of the enslavement of Indians and Blacks. In particular, he condemned the importation of Negro slaves from Africa. Leo XIII followed along the path set by Gregory XVI.

      “No Father or Doctor of the Church, so far as I can judge, was an unqualified abolitionist. No pope or council ever made a sweeping condemnation of slavery as such. But they constantly sought to alleviate the evils of slavery and repeatedly denounced the mass enslavement of conquered populations and the infamous slave trade, thereby undermining slavery at its sources…

      “… The reader should be warned, however, that Noonan manipulates the evidence to make it seem to favor his own preconceived conclusions. For some reason, he is intent on finding discontinuity but he fails to establish that the Church has reversed her teaching in any of the four areas he examines.”

      http://www.firstthings.com/article/2005/10/development-or-reversal

    6. What part of the quotes do you think I don’t understand? What was wrong with my previous statement?

    7. This quote from Pope Pius IX was concerning indentured servitude, where you contract with someone to work for them for a set period of time, such as 7 years, and then you were free. Some colonists in the US from Europe came over here as indentured servants. That’s how they earned passage to the US. It apparently had died out in the West by 1866 but still existed in parts of Africa.They were not slaves and it was a far different thing.

    8. I don’t think that’s accurate, specifically that there’s no reason to think Pius was restricting himself to indentured servants (and we’ll set aside whether or not indentured servitude is ethical in practice), or that this was the only form of slavery still in effect in Africa at the time. Many of the conditions we see given would not be necessary were this the case.

      Here’s the entire passage in question, for the record (minor edits re: imperfect copy+paste of OCR):

      In 1866 the Holy Office issued an Instruction in
      reply to questions from a Vicar Apostolic of the
      Galla tribe in Ethiopia. This document includes
      a contemporary theological exposition of morally
      legitimate slavery and slave-trading:

      . . . slavery itself, considered as such in its essential
      nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law,
      and there can be several just titles of slavery and these are
      referred to by approved theologians and commentators of
      the sacred canons. For the sort of ownership which a slave owner has over a slave is understood as nothing other than
      the perpetual right of disposing of the work of a slave for
      one’s own benefit – services which it is right for one human
      being to provide for another. From this it follows that it
      is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to
      be sold, bought, exchanged or donated, provided that in
      this sale, purchase, exchange or gift, the due conditions are
      strictly observed which the approved authors likewise
      describe and explain. Among these conditions the most
      important ones are that the purchaser should carefully
      examine whether the slave who is put up for sale has been
      justly or unjustly deprived of his liberty, and that the
      vendor should do nothing which might endanger the life,
      virtue or Catholic faith of the slave who is to be transferred to another’s possession.

      In answer to a question from the Vicar Apostolic
      the Holy Office replied that Christians may lawfully
      acquire slaves by purchase or gift provided that they
      have been justly enslaved. If they have been unjustly
      enslaved but nevertheless refuse to be sold or
      given to Christians, they may not be purchased or
      accepted, for their freewill must be respected. If they
      have been unjustly enslaved and freely offer themselves
      to be the slaves of Christian masters under a
      milder form of slavery as the only means of escaping
      from their present harsh form of slavery, and as a
      means of coming to know about Christian worship,
      they may be acquired and held as slaves by Christians
      by just title (e.g. purchase), provided that they are
      treated with Christian charity and instructed in the
      rudiments of the faith with a view to their conversion
      to Christianity by their own free choice.

      For more on slavery in Ethiopia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_Ethiopia

    9. Pius IX didn’t say that. “In the Bull of Canonization of the Jesuit Peter Claver, one of the most illustrious adversaries of slavery, Pius IX branded the ‘supreme villainy’ (summum nefas) of the slave-traders.” http://www.catholic.com/encycl… The “Holy Office,” which is a committee, said that. And if you look at the “First Things“ quote, a far more credible source, by world renowned scholar Cardinal Avery Dulles you will see the word “servitus” is included, not omitted: “In 1866 the Holy Office, in response to an inquiry from Africa, ruled that although slavery (servitus)[indentured servitude] was undesirable, it was not per se opposed to natural or divine law. This ruling pertained to the kind of servitude that was customary in certain parts of Africa at the time.” http://www.firstthings.com/art

      “Servitus: Definitions from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia n. In Roman law, the right of a person not the owner of the thing to use it or have it serve his interest in a particular manner not wholly exclusive, but by way of exception to the general power of exclusive use belonging to the owner.”

      In your own link on pages 86-87:

      “This distinction was soon explained as the radical difference between unjust chattel-slavery in which the master had full rights of ownership over the slave as his personal property, and a just Christian slavery in which the master merely had a right of use, a dominium utile, a perpetual right of disposing of the work of his slave for his own benefit. This distinction, as already seen above, was made use of by the Holy Office in 1866. http://anthonyflood.com/maxwellslaverycatholicchurch.pdf

      Dominion Utile Definition: “Latin: the property rights of a tenant; exclusive right to use a thing. Related Terms: Tenancy, Tenant, Vassal, Feudal System, Dominium Directum, Lease, Estover… In the Middle Ages … the positions of … vassal were designated by dominium utile. Dominium utile is opposed to dominium directum; the latter term stands for those normal cases of dominium in Roman law, as well as the position of the feudal lord…”

      You really should be looking these things up for yourself. But let me get this straight, you’re saying that because the Holy Office spoke up for the rights of indentured servants (which I agree had many injustices) in 1866, that everything the Catholic Church believes in is wrong today?

      I really don’t have time for these ad hominem attacks against the institution itself to deflect from discussing the issue at hand.

    10. Pius IX didn’t say that. […]The “Holy Office,” which is a committee, said that.

      Apologies, I was unaware of the distinction (and based on your and JoAnna’s previous comments thought them interchangeable).

      And if you look at the “First Things“ quote, a far more credible source, by world renowned scholar Cardinal Avery Dulles you will see the word “servitus” is included, not omitted: “In 1866 the Holy Office, in response to an inquiry from Africa, ruled that although slavery (servitus)[indentured servitude] was undesirable, it was not per se opposed to natural or divine law. This ruling pertained to the kind of servitude that was customary in certain parts of Africa at the time.”

      Look, I’m quoting a book written by a Catholic priest, with the imprimatur of Cardinal Cowderoy. If you wish to impugn either of these men, be my guest, but then don’t also rely on this work to make points of your own.

      You seem to want to make a big deal about the word “servitus” being omitted from Maxwell’s work, despite every other definition of the word I’ve come across being ‘slavery’ or ‘servitude’. I can’t make sense of the definition you present, but given that none of the other sources I’ve seen define servitus as indentured servitude, I’m not at all sure you should be presenting it as if that was the intent.

      By the way, here’s the big distinction you reference re: Maxwell pg. 86-87:

      In 1633 Filliucius was explaining that masters have the right to the work of their slaves, the sort of work that a reasonable man expects, as well as the right to all that they produce, including the offspring of the slave-women, but they have no rights over their slaves’ lives or
      limbs or physical or spiritual welfare

      Funny that you left that bit out.

      You really should be looking these things up for yourself.

      Come off it. Phil asked if anyone could help him track down a copy of a text which none of you had yet to locate, while being accused of using fabricated quotes. That’s what I did.

      But let me get this straight, you’re saying that because the Holy Office spoke up for the rights of indentured servants (which I agree had many injustices) in 1866, that everything the Catholic Church believes in is wrong today?

      How can you possibly come to that conclusion?

    11. Don’t worry about the Pius IX quote. We’ve been struggling ourselves to sort it out. (I’m the only one that was around in 1866 and I couldn’t remember it).

      Now please tell me why are we having this discussion about slavery and indentured servitude in Ethiopia in 1866 and the Catholic Church’s response to it?

      What is your purpose? Just to attack the Church? If that’s what you want then I’m grateful to defend her night and day. But when you comment on something please read it first. Why do I have to post things 2 or 3 times because you don’t seem to read it? Case in point, the servitus definition, as was already posted, was:

      “Servitus: Definitions from ‘The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia’. Google it. If you’re trying to say that the Church didn’t speak up against slavery, read the 15 or so quotes I already posted. Here’s an overview of history (that I’ll post again, but shortened) but here’s the last time: “It’s by Dr. Rodney Stark, renowned Professor of Social Sciences at Baylor (and not a Catholic): “The Truth about the Catholic Church and Slavery”:

      “The problem wasn’t that the leadership was silent. It was that almost nobody listened. Some Catholic writers claim that it was not until 1890 that the Roman Catholic Church repudiated slavery. A British priest has charged that this did not occur until 1965. Nonsense!

      “As early as the seventh century, Saint Bathilde (wife of King Clovis II) [of Burgundy] became famous for her campaign to stop slave-trading and free all slaves; in 851 Saint Anskar began his efforts to halt the Viking slave trade… everyone [in Europe] was at least nominally a Christian, that effectively abolished slavery in medieval Europe…” http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/julyweb-only/7-14-53.0.html

      Take note of the sentence in the first paragraph: “A British priest has charged that this did not occur until 1965. Nonsense!”

      Also take note of Fr. Maxwell’s quote on page 11. of your link: “As is well known the common teaching on slavery was officially corrected by the Second Vatican Council in 1965…” http://anthonyflood.com/maxwellslaverycatholicchurch.pd

      It sounds like Prof. Stark is referring to Fr. Maxwell. It sounds like his book has some errors. Just because he’s a priest he might be mistaken or have an agenda. Mistakes happen because we’re human (also for the Imprimatur).

      Please note at the end of the “First Things” quote http://www.firstthings.com/article/2005/10/development-or-reversal that Cardinal Dulles said, “The reader should be warned, however, that Noonan [the author] manipulates the evidence to make it seem to favor his own preconceived conclusions. For some reason, he is intent on finding discontinuity but he fails to establish that the Church has reversed her teaching in any of the four areas he examines.” I wonder if the same could be said about Fr. Marshall?

      In regarding to using your link, I was using your own argument against you. No hard feelings. I mean, we’re both New England Patriots fans.

      Tom Brady would have won the Super Bowl if he was using a foam rubber football.

  5. If there is a God, Chesterton is the man. Not so much if there is no God. I like him anyway. My favorite quotes from reading him:

    Moreover, a man with a definite belief always appears bizarre, because he does not change with the world; he has climbed into a fixed star, and the earth whizzes below him like a zoetrope.

    The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.

    The principle is this: that in everything worth having, even in every pleasure, there is a point of pain or tedium that must be survived, so that the pleasure may revive and endure.

    the success of the marriage comes after the failure of the honeymoon. All human vows, laws, and contracts are so many ways of surviving with success this breaking point, this instant of potential surrender.

    I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable. For a man and a woman, as such, are incompatible.

    …(in primitive cultures) the woman does not work because the man tells her to work and she obeys. On the contrary, the woman works because she has told the man to work and he hasn’t obeyed. I do not affirm that this is the whole truth, but I do affirm that we have too little comprehension of the souls of savages to know how far it is untrue.

    It is quaint that people talk of separating dogma from education.
    Dogma is actually the only thing that cannot be separated from education. It is education. A teacher who is not dogmatic is simply a teacher who is not teaching.

    Now most modern freedom is at root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules; it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities.

    ‘From the earth we come and to the earth we return; when people get away from that they are lost.’ Bohemian Waiter in NYC to GKC

    The best we can say for ourselves is worse than the worst that we can do.

    1. I like your Chesterton quotes, “…The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and left untried.” and “…the woman works because she has asked the man to work and he has refused.” So many, many of his quotes that I love:

      “In every single little thing that exists there is a type of the eternal.”

      “The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. He has lost everything except his reason.” Dale Ahlquist goes on to elaborate, “For sanity, reason must be supplemented with our creative imagination and and with faith.’

      “It’s easy to be solemn, it is so hard to be frivolous.”

      “Whether you tell the truth with jokes or with long solemn sentences, is like asking one whether you tell the truth in French or in German.”

      “It is the old things that startle and intoxicate. It is the old things that are young.’

      “Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back.”

      “The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.”

      “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”

      “The opposite of being funny is not being serious; the opposite of being funny is being not funny.”

      “A nation that has nothing but its amusements will not be amused for long.”

      One that I really like, that applies to me: “i am a journalist and am not an expert at many things. But because I am a journalist I will comment about them all.”

      Do you watch the EWTN show “G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense”? Check them out here: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=6140&pgnu=
      It is so good. Also Dale Ahlquist’s 3 books on Chesterton are so informative. And, of course, G.K.’s own works. So many quotes. I could go on and on.

  6. Nice, I didn’t know one of my favorite B16 quotes was him paraphrasing Chesterton. (Don’t have it at hand, but starts: “Truth is not determined by a majority vote.)

    Not surprised in the least, and wouldn’t be surprised if Chesterton was paraphrasing an even older source, but very pleasant– I believe Fulton Sheen also did a “Wrong is wrong even if everyone is wrong; right is right even if no-one is right” variation.

    1. Didn’t realize JPII was paraphrasing Chesterton—should have known. Pope Francis paraphrased him with his, “A heresy is a truth gone mad.” G.K. said, “’Every great heretic has always … picked out some mystical idea from the Church’s bundle or balance of mystical ideas.’ And then he proceeds to explain how the heretic goes mad on one idea.” –Dale Ahlquist. I read that Pope Francis was a member or somehow affiliated with the Chesterton Society when he was in Buenos Aires.

      Archbishop Sheen said that Chesterton was the writer who influenced him the most. I’ve heard him quote G.K. a few times on his broadcasts. Chesterton wrote this quote in 1908 when Sheen was 13, so it’s pretty safe to say he said it first.

    2. *laughs* Thinking in shorthand, then smudging it… I meant given the number of well educated Catholics that said something fairly similar, I suspect they may have been drawing on an older source. Wasn’t aware that Sheen was a Chesterton fan, though.

      I suppose it’s also possible that at least some of them were just commenting on an aspect of human nature.

    3. Yes, all the quotes kind of bleed into one another. It’s hard to write anything without using some idea or phrase that you’ve read before.

      Dale Ahlquist says that every idea C.S. Lewis ever got he got from Chesterton. Which is a pretty broad statement, although Lewis changed from an Atheist to a believer after reading G.K.’s “The Everlasting Man.”

  7. This the United States! The Supreme Court should ONLY make decisions, on any matter, based purely upon the US Constitution…not on culture, not on ANY religion, not only public opinion, not on any factor excepting the rights and privileges conferred on all citizens in the Constitution….period. The US is a repulblic, a democracy not a theocracy!

    1. Yes, it’s still there JoAnna…by the way I believe it applies to all religions or no religion…
      the First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion,….

      “Gay marriage is a civil institution, not religious matrimony.” No one wants to make the Catholic Church nor its priests a venue for same=sex marriage. Matrimony is sacramental marriage and no one is tampering with that,

    2. Up until now, the states have always made the marriage laws. But the case before the Supreme Court is about whether the Federal Government will now make it. Justice Scalia asks the question that if same-sex marriage is made a Constitutional right then how can you not ask a minister to perform the wedding? Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQeTesI7p60

      Marriage should be left up to the voters in the individual states.
      There is a process for doing this. Atty. Kyle Duncan said, “Two-thirds of the states now favor traditional marriage…If the courts were not forcing the states to recognize same-sex marriage you might have same-sex marriage in eleven or twelve states and the District of Columbia, but you wouldn’t have it in two-thirds of the states.” He also said that the tax-exempt status of churches, schools, Jewish temples, Muslim mosques, or any religious institutions could be taken away if they upheld traditional marriage beliefs.

    3. Jamey, I’m not sure where Duncan gets his data that 2/3 of states favor traditional marriage….it is legal in 37 states as of today.

      http://gaymarriage.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004857

      It is a ludicrous argument that the various religions and their ministers would HAVE to perform gay marriage….that would violate the 1st amendment as well as the Jeffersionian impenetrable wall of separation of church and state. No law could ever pass, nor has one ever been proposed that would force a Catholic priest to perform a gay marriage…that argument is a red herring.

    4. He was counting the 26 states where the Federal courts have overturned the will of the people in that state and forced same-sex marriage on them, plus the 13 states that have outright bans on it. A total of 39. Only 11 states plus the District of Columbia have voted to approve of same-sex marriage. Thanks for the link.

    5. Let’s leave aside how much weight “the will of the people” should hold, especially when considering questions of minority rights.

      Of the 26 states where the will of the people was supposedly overturned, support for SSM polls at above 50% in 14 of these (below with % support), and was more popular than not (though at or below 50% in polls) in several more.

      AK (54%); AZ (58); CA (61); CO (60); CT (67); FL (52); IA (57); MA (71); NV (60); NJ (66); NM (58); OR (63); PA (56); and WI (59).

      TL; DR: If you are invoking the will of the people, you don’t get to count most, let alone all, of the 26 states who have legalized marriage through the courts as being for traditional marriage.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_opinion_of_same-sex_marriage_in_the_United_States#By_state

    6. The problem with polls is that people sometimes tell the pollsters what they think they think they want to hear or what is politically correct. The results in the privacy of the voting both is sometimes quite different.

    7. The problem with polls is that people sometimes tell the pollsters what they think they think they want to hear or what is politically correct.

      I mean, ok – for the sake of argument – let’s stipulate that what you say is true re: polling. How big an effect do you think it is having in this situation? A couple points? 5? 10?

      The results in the privacy of the voting both is sometimes quite different.

      Make this case then. I can point to the polling, what data do you have that supports this? On a related note, how do you isolate the will of the people re: SSM based strictly on voting? Are you limiting yourself to ballot measures?

    8. In California Proposition 8 which favored traditional marriage won 52.2% to 47.7%. Several other states had similar referendums. State legislatures have passed state laws defining marriage, in which cases the lawmakers can be voted in or out according to the will of the people. My point is that marriage laws should continue to be decided by the individual states to reflect what the people in that state want. People are divided on this issue so let them vote on it in their states. Justice Roberts said, in the “World Over” link above, that people are conflicted over this, “So why do we want to close the debate now with a Federal law?”

    9. In reverse order –

      “So why do we want to close the debate now with a Federal law?”

      Just so we’re clear, as I understand the context of Justice Roberts comments about closing the debate, it was in terms of the tide of public opinion continuing to be more and more supportive of SSM, and warning about how a court ruling might hurt that. Frankly, whether or not this is true, I’m not sure that’s how our Supreme Court should be deciding cases.

      My point is that marriage laws should continue to be decided by the individual states to reflect what the people in that state. People are divided on this issue so let them vote on it in their states.

      Some aspects of marriage law should continue to be decided by the individual states, however, as we see in things like employment and housing laws, it is sometimes necessary for the federal government to ensure the rights of minorities where they would otherwise not be protected were they left to the “will of the people”.

      State legislatures have passed state laws defining marriage, in which cases the lawmakers can be voted in or out according to the will of the people.

      Perhaps we should have begun by defining what constitutes the “will of the people”. I can think of many issues with trying to determine how people feel about any particular issue based on which lawmakers they elect. If you’re a one-issue voter, and that issue is abortion, you might well elect a lawmaker who is also virulently anti-SSM, regardless of how you feel about it, as long as they are pro-life. I would also think that it becomes difficult to know what the will of the people is when it involves issues that religious organizations take strong stands on. If you’re going to appeal to the pressure people may face to be politically correct in polling, then surely you have to recognize the possibility that people who might otherwise have no problems with SSM might feel pressured to vote against for religious reasons.

      In California Proposition 8 which favored traditional marriage won 52.2% to 47.7%. Several other states had similar referendums.

      This is a valid, if dated (and vague re: “several others”), counter-point. Polling in Nov-2008 showed that CA residents opposed SSM 48% to 47%. I think it’s safe to say that, since then, public opinion in favor of SSM has moved beyond the point where you could make an argument for CA being anti-SSM. Just two of the states I originally listed would seem to be in danger of being similarly misrepresented.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_California#Public_opinion

    10. “If the majority is so in favor of it,” says Duncan, “then why do you have to have the Federal courts stepping in and forcing it on people? Why not let the states work this out, let the people work this out?” We have a procedure for working this out—voting. “Justice Kennedy said two years ago in the Windsor case that the states should define marriage.”

      Many think that same-sex marriage is an objective impossibility. I hold the traditional Catholic view that sex is for creating children. It should only take place in a marriage between a man and a woman.

      I think Justice Roberts was commenting on the fact that this new form of marriage has only existed since 2001 and there is still debate about
      it. He said, “How can we shut down the debate and close minds on this
      issue by declaring some sort of decree about it based on our own personal opinions?” How can we? It is so new that we have no way of knowing the long-term ramifications of it concerning children, adoption, the couples themselves, traditional marriage, and society in general. Will it open the door to any other forms of marriage such as polygamy? If it’s only based on two people wanting to do it, then why not 3 or 4? Justice Alito asked this question.

    11. “If the majority is so in favor of it,” says Duncan, “then why do you have to have the Federal courts stepping in and forcing it on people?

      I mean, the obvious answer is that the majority is not evenly distributed throughout the country, and that in some states the majority oppose SSM. As is sometimes the case when dealing with the rights of minorities – especially when they have been traditionally discriminated and oppressed by the majority – we reach a point where it can no longer be left to the individual states to secure their rights, and the federal government steps in.

      I think Justice Roberts was commenting on the fact that this new form of marriage has only existed since 2001 and there is still debate about it. He said, “How can we shut down the debate and close minds on this issue by declaring some sort of decree about it based on our own personal opinions?”

      Can you cite where Justice Roberts said this? The quote I was referring to was this, from the recent oral arguments:

      The situation in Maine, I think, is ­­characteristic. In 2009, I guess it was by referendum or whatever, they banned gay marriage. In 2012, they enacted it as law. I mean, that sort of quick change has been a characteristic of this debate, but if you prevail here, there will be no more debate. I mean, closing the debate can close minds, and ­­it will have a consequence on how this new institution is ­­accepted. People feel very differently about something if they have a chance to vote on it than if it’s imposed on them by the courts.

      http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/14-556q1_11o2.pdf

      [BTW, if it’s not clear from the quote, Roberts is referring to the fact that, in the span of 3 years, Maine went from a referendum outlawing SSM, to one that legalized SSM: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maine_Question_1,_2012%5D

      I think it’s clear from the context of what I’m quoting that he was concerned that a court ruling in favor of allowing SSM might have a chilling effect on what is otherwise mounting popular support. I have no idea where your quote of him shutting down debate based on their own opinions comes from.

      It is so new that we have no way of knowing the long-term ramifications of it concerning children, adoption, the couples themselves, traditional marriage, and society in general.

      Leaving aside that similar arguments have long been used to deny minority rights and slow progress (who knows what will happen if we let women vote?! what will happen to society if we free the slaves?!), why not look at Massachusetts? It’s been over a decade since they legalized SSM. Has society there fallen to pieces? Are folks running around incest-ing and polygamy-ing it up? I think not. On the other hand, no sooner had they legalized SSM that the Red Sox go on to win their first WS in nearly a century (and two more since). Coincidence? I think not.

    12. I was quoting Kyle Duncan who was quoting Justice Roberts.
      Apparently the second half was Duncan’s own thoughts (see “World Over” link above). But still, Justice Roberts supports my side when he says, “People feel very differently about something if they have a chance to vote on it than if it’s imposed on them by the courts.”
      When people just think well it’s the law so it must be right.

      Here are some other things the Justices said:

      Justice Roberts: Well, you say join in the institution. The argument on the other side is that they’re seeking to redefine the institution…Obviously, if you
      succeed, that core definition will no longer be operable.The fundamental core of the institution is the opposite¬sex relationship and you want to introduce into it a same¬sex relationship.

      JUSTICE SCALIA: Well, yes, that the State courts will agree with you. But once again, that’s not the people deciding it. It’s it’s judges deciding it.

      Justice Breyer: …suddenly you want nine people outside the ballot box to require States that don’t want to do it to change what you’ve heard is change what marriage is to include gay people. Why cannot those States at least wait and see whether in fact doing so in the other States is or is not harmful to marriage?

      Justice Alito: Before the end of the 20th century, there never was a nation or a culture that recognized marriage between two people of the same sex? Now, can we infer from that that those nations and those cultures all thought that there was some rational, practical purpose for defining marriage in that way or is it your argument that they were all operating independently based solely on irrational stereotypes and prejudice?

      http://www.supremecourt.gov/or

      On the other hand, look at the 7 feet of snow MA had this year.
      Coincidence? I think not.

    13. Look, I’m not interested in playing ‘quote the Justice that seems to support your view’. If that’s all you want to do, let’s both just read the oral arguments – including all the pro-SSM justices – and call it a day.

      You brought up Roberts, seemingly in an attempt to paint him as not wanting to shut down a public debate that could go either way. I tried to clarify that this was not the context of his statements – that he views the public debate as increasingly favoring pro-SSM, and voiced a concern that the courts ruling before the public debate had fully won over the vast majority of the country would be counter-productive. You then presented another misleading statement about Roberts – that he warned against the justices shutting down debate based on their own personal opinions. Again I corrected. Most recently we have this from you, ostensibly interpreting Roberts:

      “People feel very differently about something if they have a chance to vote on it than if it’s imposed on them by the courts.”
      When people just think well it’s the law so it must be right.

      I’ll try one last time. I really don’t think this is what Roberts is saying. He’s not saying that people who were previously anti-SSM will just give up and accept a pro-SSM ruling. What he is saying is that public opinion is rapidly shifting towards pro-SSM, and that he feels that if the court were to rule pro-SSM now, that it would prematurely end the “debate”, and that it would – if you will – harden the hearts of the anti-SSM crowd, a portion at least who might otherwise eventually be accepting of SSM.

      PS. I have to acknowledge the attempt to play along with the MA humor – though I think it’s more than fitting that your version of divine justice is not only over a decade late, but wildly indiscriminate. Egypt’s first-born would be nodding their heads.

    14. Apparently it’s easier for you to get snarky than to answer the valid points the Justices raised (including the liberal Breyer).

      As for the Justice Roberts quote, Lyle Duncan who filed an amicus brief on behalf of several States supporting traditional marriage, used it as part of the reasoning in his argument (on “World Over” link above). I’ll leave it to the readers to decide:

      CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: “You’re ¬¬you’re quite right that the consequences of waiting are not neutral. On the other hand, one of the things that’s truly extraordinary about this whole issue is how quickly has been the acceptance of your position across broad elements of society. I don’t know what the latest opinion polls show. The situation in Maine, I think, is ¬¬ is characteristic. In 2009, I guess it was by referendum or whatever, they banned gay marriage. In 2012, they enacted it as law. I mean, that sort of quick change has been a characteristic of this debate, but if you prevail here, there will be no more debate. I mean, closing the debate can close minds, and it will have a consequence on how this new institution is accepted. People feel very differently about something if they have a chance to vote on it than if it’s imposed on them by the courts.”

      There is a process already at work here: the individual states decide. Why does your side want to interrupt this and have the Federal courts step in and decide for them?

      And as for Egypt’s first-born, if your side were in charge back then with same-sex marriage and abortion, Egypt would not have had anyone born at all.

    15. Apparently it’s easier for you to get snarky than to answer the valid points the Justices raised (including the liberal Breyer).

      I mean, you didn’t ask me to engage or respond to the points, did you? No, you just said “here’s some other things” and started quoting justices. Leaving aside that, based on previous exchanges, I can’t even be sure those are accurate quotes, let alone accurate context – as I’ve already said, if the goal is just to quote justices back and forth, have fun. I’m not a constitutional scholar and have no interest in rehashing the entire oral argument of this case. To the extent that I engaged with your initial Roberts quote to begin with was to correct what I thought was a fairly clear misunderstanding of his point in context – all the while maintaining that regardless of whether or not he was right, that I didn’t think that public opinion was a good basis for judicial decisions.

      However, since you seem offended that I’m not engaging with your quotes, I’ll briefly address each (in order).

      Re: Roberts

      Here he seems to arbitrarily define opposite sex as the fundamental core of the institution of marriage, and is concerned that they are being asked to redefine ‘millennia’ old traditions. This type of ‘it has always been so’ argument isn’t very appealing to me when it comes to questions of minority rights. Not only does it often attempt to paint an inaccurately homogeneous picture of the tradition being defended, but it’s the type of argument we’ve dispensed with on any number of other rights issues (again, granting the right to vote to women and minorities are prime examples).

      Re: Scalia

      Concerns over the court deciding vs. the people. Again, not a persuasive argument when we’re talking about the rights of minorities.

      Re: Breyer

      I think this is a great example of the dangers inherent in quote mining, out of context, from oral arguments. If it’s not clear, this is the part where they’re all asking questions (often playing devil’s advocate) – not the part where they give their opinions, so it’s not the best place to look for answers. Breyer later has this to say:

      But there is one group of people whom they won’t open marriage to. So they have no possibility to participate in that fundamental liberty. That is people of the same sex who wish to marry. And so we ask, why? And the answer we get is, well, people have always done it. You know, you could have answered that one the same way we talk about racial segregation. Or two, because certain religious groups do think it’s a sin, and I believe they sincerely think it. There’s no question about their sincerity, but is a purely religious reason on the part of some people sufficient? And then when I look for reasons three, four and five, I don’t find them.

      Re: Alito

      Similar to Roberts. The ‘it was always so’ refrain isn’t that powerful in my mind. I think you can make a good argument that, until very recently in the history of human civilization, the rights of women were few and far-between, and almost always less than those of men. Even today, we can still find examples of cultures that deny rights to women based on…you guessed it, Tradition!

      There is a process already at work here: the individual states decide. Why does your side want to interrupt this and have the Federal courts step in and decide for them?

      You know, on the one hand you whine that I’m not engaging with unasked questions, and then when you actually do ask a question, it’s one that I’ve answered several times. What gives?

    16. I want to thank you for answering every question with “It violates the rights of a minority.” It makes it very easy to answer. I quote Jason Hall an attorney and one of our columnists and a Cincinnati Reds fan (who will one day win the World Series to “prove” he is right):

      “Marriage to anyone or anything other than a person of the opposite sex is not a possibility to which we simply don’t have a right. No, it is an objective impossibility. At the same time, there IS a clearly defined fundamental human right to marry, recognized in British common law (and therefore in American law), as well as virtually every other Western legal system shaped by the Christian tradition. That’s because Church teaching has always recognized marriage as a basic right of each human person who has the capacity to enter into it.

      “A civil right is a right arising from and/or recognized by the civil law. A human right is something to which a person is entitled by being a person. When the civil law does not recognize human rights, that creates injustice, oppression, etc.”

      To equate the right of same-sex marriage with the rights of the blacks under Jim Crow who were lynched, barred from housing, marriage to whites, schools, voting, seats on buses, access to restaurants, drinking fountains, rest rooms, front doors at businesses, etc. is ludicrous.

    17. I want to thank you for answering every question with “It violates the rights of a minority.” It makes it very easy to answer.

      You’re quite welc…oh come on! You weren’t genuinely thanking me, were you? I go to the trouble of humoring your whiny request to answer your unasked questions and this is the response I get?

      First of all, I didn’t answer every question in the manner you suggest, certainly not the one dealing with Breyer. My primary argument was that appealing to tradition isn’t always useful in determining what is right, and far less so when addressing minorities.

      Second, we’re now far afield of my original goal re: engaging in this conversation, which was to challenge the idea that 2/3 of states favored tradition marriage, and more specifically the claim that court rulings in favor of SSM did violence to the (as yet undefined) “will of the people.”

      I quote Jason Hall an attorney and one of our columnists and a Cincinnati Reds fan

      Hey, speaking of easy ways to answer, just punt to some rando opinion on the historical bases of the ‘Western legal system’.

      To equate the right of same-sex marriage with the rights of the blacks under Jim Crow who were lynched, barred from housing, marriage to whites, schools, voting, seats on buses, access to restaurants, drinking fountains, rest rooms, front doors at businesses, etc. is ludicrous.

      Yeah, whoever made that direct comparison is ridiculous. Who did that?

    18. Things such as rights and law and liberty and justice are traditions.
      “My primary argument was that appealing to tradition isn’t always useful in determining what is right, and far less so when addressing minorities.”

      Who are you referring to then? Women, who were denied voting, equal pay, owning property. Or some nebulous group–Eskimos, pet owners, Zoroastrians?
      Jason Hall is a lobbyist for the Kentucky Bishops’ Council,

    19. Things such as rights and law and liberty and justice are traditions.

      I mean, except when they’re not, right? Like when we extend rights to previously unprotected groups.

      Who are you referring to then? Women, who were denied voting, equal pay, owning property. Or some nebulous group–Eskimos, pet owners, Zoroastrians?

      Are you asking this re: “My primary argument was that appealing to tradition isn’t always useful in determining what is right, and far less so when addressing minorities.”?

      If so, I’m referring to any number of minorities who’s rights have traditionally not been recognized.

    20. Yes but you are saying that someone should have a “right” to same-sex marriage, which is an objective impossibility. Fred at the sports bar would be wrong to say that he has a right to be a Girl Scout or to make me his sister or to marry 10 guys at the bar at once. During a Red Sox game.

    21. Yes but you are saying that someone should have a “right” to same-sex marriage

      Show me where I said this.

      which is an objective impossibility

      According to Fred Jason, apparently.

      Look, it’s been real fun watching you repeatedly not understand things, but I’m going to have to call it quits.

    22. It’s been fun debating you Fred. I mean Andre. I apologize for dismantling your slogans. You made a good point or 2 and I think you have promise. Why don’t you come over to our side and you would have some real solid truths to use?

    23. BTW, if you want to go down the road of unanswered points, I’ve yet to hear responses to the following:

      – How big an effect do you think it [wanting to appear politically correct] is having in this situation [public polling on SSM]? A couple points? 5? 10?

      – how do you isolate the will of the people re: SSM based strictly on voting?

      – what constitutes the “will of the people”

      – If you’re going to appeal to the pressure people may face to be politically correct in polling, then surely you have to recognize the possibility that people who might otherwise have no problems with SSM might feel pressured to vote against for religious reasons.

      – why not look at Massachusetts? It’s been over a decade since they legalized SSM. Has society there fallen to pieces? Are folks running around incest-ing and polygamy-ing it up?

    24. Are gays being discriminated against and oppressed by the majority now? No, and I certainly don’t think they should be. There are laws protecting them in every state.

    25. I support the Catholic Church’s view that we should treat everyone with dignity and not discriminate against anyone. All are welcome.

    26. Still waiting for your reply to the comment below: What are your religious beliefs?How do you define marriage?
      Please tell us what you believe not what you doubt. “To doubt is only to destroy,
      to think is to create.” ~~G.K. Chesterton

    27. They have a fundamental bearing on what we are discussing. You’re afraid to state your definition of marriage? Your beliefs? Why? I’ve stated mine.

    28. They have a fundamental bearing on what we are discussing.

      Who’s “we”? Yet another reminder of what I’m talking about:

      “challeng[ing] the idea that 2/3 of states favored tradition marriage, and more specifically the claim that court rulings in favor of SSM did violence to the (as yet undefined) “will of the people.”

      If I was a Catholic that believed in traditional marriage or a Mormon that thought polygamy *was* traditional marriage, I don’t see how my arguments would change.

      You’re afraid to state your definition of marriage? Your beliefs?

      Just so you know, I’m not Marty McFly; calling me ‘chicken’ will do you no good.

      Why?

      1) as I’ve said before, it’s irrelevant to the conversation I was trying to have with you; on a related note, 2) you seem to be having trouble enough staying on topic as it is, why add more to the mix; and 3) questions that have actual bearing to the points I began this discussion with have as yet to be answered.

      I’ve stated mine.

      Yes, and your unsolicited disclosure of irrelevant information is noted.

    29. Listen to Justice Scalia’s questions on the World Over link above. “A minister when he conducts a marriage is also an agent of the state at that time. It would be inconceivable that he would say ‘I will only marry a man and a woman; I will not marry two men.'”

    30. Well, Johanna Roe was a right decision is still the law of the land.

      Scott and Plessy dealt with the rights of slaves/blacks, separate but equal, etc. and the SCOTUS position was changed. Now let’s look at the RC Church position on slavery, separate but equal. Scott was in 1857 and Plessey 1896.

      Cardinal Avery Dulles makes the following observations about the Catholic Church and the institution of slavery

      For many centuries the Church was part of a slave-holding society.

      The popes themselves held slaves, including at times hundreds of Muslim captives to man their galleys.

      Throughout Christian antiquity and the Middle Ages, theologians generally followed St. Augustine in holding that although slavery was not written into the natural moral law it was not absolutely forbidden by that law.

      St. Thomas Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin were all Augustinian on this point. Although the subjection of one person to another (servitus) was not part of the primary intention of the natural law, St. Thomas taught, it was appropriate and socially useful in a world impaired by original sin.

      No Father or Doctor of the Church was an unqualified abolitionist.

      No pope or council ever made a sweeping condemnation of slavery as such.

      But they constantly sought to alleviate the evils of slavery and repeatedly denounced the mass enslavement of conquered populations and the infamous slave trade, thereby undermining slavery at its sources.

      Theologian Laennec Hurbon asserted that no Pope before 1890 condemned all forms of slavery, asserting that, “. .. one can search in vain through the interventions of the Holy See-those of Pius V, Urban VIII and Benedict XIV-for any condemnation of the actual principle of slavery.”[

    31. Who is Johanna?

      Have you ever read the actual text of the Roe v Wade decision, Phil? You should. It’s very poorly thought out and reasoned, and it invokes outdated science as well.

      Here’s better information re: the Catholic Church and slavery to correct the many things you have wrong in your analysis (note: you must make a distinction between chattel slavery and voluntary indentured servitude). http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/common-misconceptions/let-my-people-go-the-catholic-church-and-slavery.html

      One quote: “When Europeans began enslaving Africans as a cheap source of labor, the Holy Office of the Inquisition was asked about the morality of enslaving innocent blacks (Response of the Congregation of the Holy Office, 230, March 20, 1686). The practice was rejected, as was trading such slaves. Slaveholders, the Holy Office declared, were obliged to emancipate and even compensate blacks unjustly enslaved.”

      Funny… sure doesn’t match with what you said above.

    32. JoAnna (sorry arthritic fingers and short term memory issues) for a thorough analysis of what was meant and was said about the church and slavery through all ages, I would recommend John T Noonan in ” A Church that Can and Cannot Change,”

      Also, In spite of a stronger condemnation of unjust types of slavery by Pope Gregory XVI in his bull In supremo apostolatus issued in 1839, some American bishops continued to support slave-holding interests until the abolition of slavery. In 1866 The Holy Office of Pope Pius IX affirmed that, subject to conditions, it was not against divine law for a slave to be sold, bought or exchanged.

    33. Seriously, Phil? You’re lifting quotes directly from Wikipedia now? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_slavery Has no one ever told you that they’re not a good source of accurate information? Plus their source is an imcomplete citation of someone allegedly quoting Gaudiem et Spes, which was written long after Pius IX’s pontificate.

      I challenge you to find me a quote from Pius IX, from the Vatican.va website, in which he says chattel slavery is in keeping with human dignity.

    34. Phil, I hope this will help:
      “In the Bull of Canonization of the Jesuit Peter Claver, one of the most illustrious adversaries of slavery, Pius IX branded the “supreme villainy” (summum nefas) of the slave traders.
      http://www.ewtn.com/vexperts/showmessage_print.asp?number=347509&language=en
      More on the Catholic Church and Slavery:
      “…In 1462, Pius II declared slavery to be “a great crime” (magnum scelus); that, in 1537, Paul III forbade the enslavement of the Indians; that Urban VIII forbade it in 1639, and Benedict XIV in 1741; that Pius VII demanded of the Congress of Vienna, in 1815, the suppression of the slave-trade, and Gregory XVI condemned it in 1839; that, in the Bull of Canonization of the Jesuit Peter Claver, one of the most illustrious adversaries of slavery, Pius IX branded the ‘supreme villainy’ (summum nefas) of the slave-traders. Everyone knows of the beautiful letter which Leo XIII, in 1888, addressed to the Brazilian bishops, exhorting them to banish from their country the remnants of slavery a letter to which the bishops responded with their most energetic efforts, and some generous slave-owners by freeing their slaves in a body, as in the first ages of the Church…” ~~Paul Allard http://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/slavery
      Another link that the Catholic Church was against slavery: http://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/ethical-aspect-of-slavery

    35. Phil, here’s a link that might shed some light on the subject. It’s by Dr. Rodney Stark, renowned Professor of Social Sciences at Baylor (and not a Catholic): “The Truth about the Catholic Church and Slavery.”
      The problem wasn’t that the leadership was silent. It was that almost nobody listened. Some Catholic writers claim that it was not until 1890 that the Roman Catholic Church repudiated slavery. A British priest has charged that this did not occur until 1965. Nonsense!

      As early as the seventh century, Saint Bathilde (wife of King Clovis II) [of Burgundy] became famous for her campaign to stop slave-trading and free all slaves; in 851 Saint Anskar began his efforts to halt the Viking slave trade. That the Church willingly baptized slaves was claimed as proof that they had souls, and soon both kings and bishops—including William the Conqueror (1027-1087) and Saints Wulfstan (1009-1095) and Anselm (1033-1109)—forbade the enslavement of Christians.

      Since, except for small settlements of Jews, and the Vikings in the north, everyone was at least nominally a Christian, that effectively abolished slavery in medieval Europe, except at the southern and eastern interfaces with Islam where both sides enslaved one another’s prisoners. But even this was sometimes condemned: in the tenth century, bishops in Venice did public penance for past involvement in the Moorish slave trade and sought to prevent all Venetians from involvement in slavery. Then, in the thirteenth century, Saint Thomas Aquinas deduced that slavery was a sin, and a series of popes upheld his position, beginning in 1435 and culminating in three major pronouncements against slavery by Pope Paul III in 1537.

      It is significant that in Aquinas’s day, slavery was a thing of the past or of distant lands. Consequently, he gave very little attention to the subject per se, paying more attention to serfdom, which he held to be repugnant.

      However, in his overall analysis of morality in human relationships, Aquinas placed slavery in opposition to natural law.

      http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/julyweb-only/7-14-53.0.html

    36. Pius IX still taught in 1866: “Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons…. It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given”. See note 1 below.

      NOTE 1. Instruction by the Holy Office signed by Pope Pius IX on 20 June 1866

      Ref:http://www.churchauthority.org/values/honesty.asp

      Further reference for the quote: Instruction of the Holy Office, signed by Pope Pius IX, 20th of June 1866. Collectanea de S.C. de Propaganda Fide, I, no 1293, 719, Rome 1907

    37. That’s not from Vatican.va. What is your proof that the quote is not fabricated? Where is the source document? Unless it is authenticated by the Vatican you have no proof whatsoever that the quote is authentic.

      This, however, is from the Catholic Encyclopedia. Note the bolded portions (bolding is mine):

      It must be observed that the defence of what may be termed theoretical slavery was by no means intended to be a justification of slavery as it existed historically, with all its attendant, and almost inevitably attendant, abuses, disregarding the natural rights of the slave and entailing pernicious consequences on the character of the slave-holding class, as well as on society in general. Concurrently with the affirmation that slavery is not against the natural law, the moralists specify what are the natural inviolable rights of the slave, and the corresponding duties of the owner. The gist of this teaching is summarized by Cardinal Gerdil (1718-1802):

      Slavery is not to be understood as conferring on one man the same power over another that men have over cattle. Wherefore they erred who in former times refused to include slaves among persons; and believed that however barbarously the master treated his slave he did not violate any right of the slave. For slavery does not abolish the natural equality of men: hence by slavery one man is understood to become subject to the dominion of another to the extent that the master has a perpetual right to all those services which one man may justly perform for another; and subject to the condition that the master shall take due care of his slave and treat him humanely (Comp. Instit. Civil., L, vii).

      The master was judged to sin against justice if he treated his slave cruelly, if he overloaded him with labour, deprived him of adequate food and clothing, or if he separated husband from wife, or the mother from her young children. It may be said that the approved ethical view of slavery was that while, religiously speaking, it could not be condemned as against the natural law, and had on its side the jus gentium, it was looked upon with disfavour as at best merely tolerable, and when judged by its consequences, a positive evil.

      Source: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14039a.htm

      Voluntary indentured servitude =/= chattel slavery. If that quote from Pius IX is authentic, which is very doubtful, he was not speaking of chattel slavery, but rather voluntary indentured servitude — and even voluntary indentured servitude does not mean that one human being can abuse another.

    38. I have looked at vatcan.ca and have been unable to find out where the original documents on the Instructions of the Holy See in the 1800’s are available…any of them, not just the one by Pius IX. It is clearly referenced in at least 20 secondary sources and books on the church and slavery. Point me in the direction of a catalogue of original instructional papal documents. Please. Also Pius IX supported the South in the Civil War and supported them as a separate country. Need References? Shortly after his reign things changed. Slavery is slavery…no matter how you tweek it.

    39. You might want to try Vatican.va.

      As for your slander against the Pope, yes, I would like to see reputable sources. I find it hilarious is that you think the Pope had any influence on U.S. politics during the Civil War era, given that America was heavily Protestant (and anti-Catholic) at that time.

    40. Here is a hint, Phil: when the only sources you can find for a quote are anti-Catholic blogs, most likely the quote is fabricated.
      I will look at the Vatican website later if I have a chance.

    41. JoAnna….that is quite dismissive. The simple FACT is that I could not find ANY archive of ANY Papal Signed Instructions from the Holy Office in digital form from the 1800’s….I may be looking in the wrong place, or not knowing how to navigate the Vatican website. I do not need a hint, I need to know where the archive for Instructions from the Holy Office is. You cannot dismiss multiple secondary sources if the primary source is unavailable.

    42. Please send me a link to the original (primary source) Instruction by the Holy Office signed by Pope Pius IX on 20 June 1866 regarding slavery and I will concede. If it’s not available, then we’ll have to believe multiple independent secondary sources based upon their absolute consistency. I have been asking for this and hitting a stone wall.

    43. But they are not independent. They are biased and anti-Catholic. Would you trust Aryan Nation websites to contain accurate information about the Jewish faith? Same concept.

    44. Again, please send me a link to the original Instruction signed by Pius IX….that is the only way to resolve the issue. I have asked 3+ times. Let’s end this merry-go-round by looking at the primary source document which is to be best of my knowledge on the vatican site. One link will end it all……and if you provide it, I done either way.

    45. Phil, I haven’t had the chance to look yet. I’m at work and in the midst of a busy day. If have time tonight in between doing laundry and herding children I’ll see what I can find. Otherwise it may have to wait until tomorrow.

    46. JoAnna…you can’t get more Catholic than this site nor John Noonan….the most thorough researched book on the RCC and slavery …..

      “In 1866 the Holy Office, in response to an inquiry from Africa, ruled that although slavery ( servitus ) was undesirable, it was not per se opposed to natural or divine law. This ruling pertained to the kind of servitude that was customary in certain parts of Africa at the time.”

      http://www.firstthings.com/article/2005/10/development-or-reversal

    47. Thank you, Phil, that is a much more reliable source! As I suspected, it seems Pius IX was not referring to chattel slavery with that quote, as the article also contains information about popes who directly condemned chattel slavery as evil but did not condemn other forms of slavery (such as indentured servitude) as objectively evil. I am still going to look and see if I can find the quote in its original context, however, as I prefer to look at primary sources whenever possible.

    48. Phil, I found this is the EWTN.com document library. It’s a Syllabus of Pope Pius IX. It doesn”t mention slavery but it talks about the Church’s relationship with civil governments. I hope it can be of some help or be a pathway.

    49. Depends on who Fr. John Maxwell is. He could be a heretical priest with an agenda to discredit the Church. But I will investigate and see what I can find out.

    50. I mean, doesn’t it go without saying that anyone that appears to be critical of the Church might in fact be a heretic? That’s always my default position!

      Be sure to let us know what your investigation turns up!

    51. While the pro-SSM might not have had a decent answer for him, we shouldn’t assume this means there is no good answer to those concerns, nor should we assume that it was a reasonable concern to begin with. After all, from that same section you cite:

      JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN: Ms. Bonauto, maybe I’m just not understanding Justice Scalia’s question, but for example, there are many rabbis that will not conduct marriages between Jews and non-Jews, notwithstanding that we have a constitutional prohibition against religious discrimination. And those rabbis get all the powers and privileges of the State, even if they have that rule, most — many, many, many rabbis won’t do that.

      As I’ve mentioned to Jamey elsewhere, quote mining oral arguments is a tricky endeavor.

    52. And yet you appear to be quote mining. If you read the entire line of questioning, Scalia points out that if it were made a Constitutional protection then it would (in his opinion) be extremely difficult if not impossible to allow for exemptions of ministers. In Italy ministers are not state representatives. An Italian would have to obtain a civil marriage and a religious marriage. In the US we have no such distinction. To make it constitutional would essentially be either 1)forcing ministers to act against their conscience on behalf of the state or 2)doing away with any state recognition of religious ceremonies which was how civil marriages aka common law marriages came about in the 1st place. The state began to recognize religious ceremonies in terms of legality.

      If the states are allowed to decide, exemptions can be made because it won’t be a matter of constitutional rights/protections. You wouldn’t be turning the US’s notion on marriage on its head. Although Oklahoma is considering severing ties with the traditional recognition of a marriage. But that’s just one state not a whole country by judicial fiat.

    53. And yet you appear to be quote mining.

      I don’t just appear to be, I am… but I thought I had said as much at the time, so I don’t see your point.

      If you read the entire line of questioning, Scalia points out that if it were made a Constitutional protection then it would (in his opinion) be extremely difficult if not impossible to allow for exemptions of ministers.

      I mean, I read the entire #3 that JoAnna cited.

      *I’m not a constitutional expert klaxon*

      I don’t know how (or even whether) ruling on behalf of SSM would change these exceptions. I’m just pointing out the trouble with quoting justices in oral arguments. Scalia appears to think there’s a problem based on his questions. Other justices appear to think that his concern is unfounded based on theirs. Are they just thinking out loud? Playing devil’s advocate? Would it be simpler to just wait for them to, you know, draft their opinions instead of guessing?

      If the states are allowed to decide, exemptions can be made because it won’t be a matter of constitutional rights/protections. You wouldn’t be turning the US’s notion on marriage on its head.

      Here are just some previous US’s notions that I’m glad were turned on their heads:

      – only men can vote
      – only landed men can vote
      – only whites can vote

      oh yeah, I almost forgot:

      – people can property

    54. Then I don’t understand why your calling JoAnna to the carpet for quote mining. It goes both ways doesn’t it?

      And Kagan’s line of questioning was brought up by Scalia who said that it would be allowing the state’s to act versus a constitutional right. Currently there is no ruling that marriage is a constitutional guaranteed right for anyone. As what was said in the Court some states have not recognized another state’s marriage in the past. If you made it constitutional, then all states would have to have some form of marriage and then of course the court would have to decide if a state can still refuse to recognize marriage from another state. This isn’t second guessing. This is knowing what will happen should the court makes it a constitutional matter.

      The matter of voting and property are in the Constitution. A woman’s right to vote was made an amendment by duly elected representatives. This is the legislative branches job. The Courts job is simply to interpret what is already there. There isn’t any mention of marriage in the constitution. If a person wanted marriage to be written into the constitution then said person would vote for an official to represent them or petition their elected official.

      In other words, yes you can change marriage but through elections. JoAnna, myself, and jamey have repeatedly stated to the effect that we want to be able to voice our opinion through the ballot box. If the Court decides this question now, we (and many others) will be loosing our ability to decide. We think this is wrong because again there’s no mention of marriage in the constitution and the Court has already ruled that marriage is a state by state run institution. And it bears repeating that if you wish to change how marriage is run then you need to change the Constitution through your vote. It’s still the ability to decide.

    55. Then I don’t understand why your calling JoAnna to the carpet for quote mining. It goes both ways doesn’t it?

      I guess if you hadn’t been keeping up with my conversation with Jamey, it might look like I’m trying to have it both ways. I think a lot of what’s going on in oral arguments is people thinking out loud and testing arguments. Just because Scalia raises a point in oral arguments, it doesn’t tell you what he believes, let alone mean it’s a valid point to begin with.

      Currently there is no ruling that marriage is a constitutional guaranteed right for anyone. […] This isn’t second guessing. This is knowing what will happen should the court makes it a constitutional matter.

      Did you know before hand that the ACA would end up being ruled as constitutional because they considered it a tax? I would argue against presuming to know how the court will rule, and on what bases. But hey, that’s just me being upfront about not being an expert.

    56. Sure. I don’t presume to know what Scalia truly believes only that these are the points he raises which people have been raising for a while. Those who are pro-SSM have been ignoring mine (and others) questions about those same points arguing that they are pointless to discuss. At the very least if Scalia asks them, they are points that we should also be discussing ourselves. To ignore them is to shut down dialogue and I’ve been seeing far too much of that happening on both sides. Let each side have a voice.

      I don’t presume to know the court’s ruling. But I do know what the possible outcomes of such a ruling would be. I live in Canada. I’ve seen what happens when a Federal court rules that marriage is a federal institution and a right. I’m not saying there will be a duplication in the US only that it’s probable.

      The point in be a civic minded individual is to try to surmise a problem when changing the law. This can be something simple as decreasing the speed limit or complicated as sanctioning same sex marriage. I’m puzzled why you aren’t trying to think ahead of what problems would arise. I think all voters should seek out the common good.

    57. I don’t presume to know the court’s ruling. But I do know what the possible outcomes of such a ruling would be.

      Respectfully, it makes no sense to say that you know the possible outcomes when you don’t even know the ruling. It’s ok to not know, btw. I don’t either.

      Also:

      “I don’t presume to know the court’s ruling.”

      vs.

      “If you made it constitutional, then all states would have to have some form of marriage and then of course the court would have to decide if a state can still refuse to recognize marriage from another state. This isn’t second guessing. This is knowing what will happen should the court makes it a constitutional matter.”

      I mean.

    58. With all due respect, you aren’t making much sense to me.

      Of course I don’t know what the court will say but one can still make a guess. I can also know what the possible problems of ruling that marriage is a constitutional right versus what would happen if they ruled that marriage isn’t a constitutional right.

      I guess my best analogy is I don’t know exactly what will happen when I get in my car in the morning, but I do know what could happen. My car could not start. It could stall in the middle of the street. I could get a flat. I could have an accident. Or everything could go smoothly.

      I really can’t understand why a person can’t foresee the possible problems arising from a particular ruling. If I can guess at what will happen with my car based on real probabilities, why can’t a person make an equally educated guess about possible outcomes of certain types of rulings?

      You seem to be saying that no one can make any educated guesses or predictions. You seem to be saying that there are endless possible outcomes. Do you expect the country to turn into anarchy? Are you expecting revolution? Those are pretty slim possibilities wouldn’t you agree? So what are the possibilities? Well the court outlined a few religious liberty issues and states’ rights issues for starters. So yes you can know what the possible problems are.

    59. With all due respect, you aren’t making much sense to me.

      Of course I don’t know what the court will say but one can still make a guess.

      It’s not even that you don’t know which side they’ll rule in favor of, it’s that you don’t now how they’ll end up ruling, which is a crucial aspect in terms of what the possible implications are. Again, to take the ACA as an example, I don’t think many people thought that one of the key elements of the decision was it being considered a tax. So, while you could have guessed whether or not the court would uphold or reverse, the implications of the manner in which it was decided were much less predictable. You seem to be claiming a level of certainty in terms of the implications of a ruling in favor of SSM that I think is unwarranted. Maybe you have far more expertise with constitutional law though.

      You seem to be saying that no one can make any educated guesses or predictions. You seem to be saying that there are endless possible outcomes. Do you expect the country to turn into anarchy?

      I think the key here is ‘educated guesses’. I didn’t say nobody could make educated guesses, I advised against those who weren’t experts in constitutional law making guesses (and listed myself as a non-expert!). Maybe you are an expert, in which case, guess away…but something tells me you’re not (well, tbf, even if you’re not an expert, guess away, but I dunno, maybe be up front that you’re just guessing vs. “i know this will happen”).

    60. No I’m not a constitutional expert. I however live in Canada. I live with the legislated and court rulings that made same-sex marriage a right every day.

      It’s not a stretch to see what the possibilities are. The Court has limitations. It’s even stated what those possibilities are. I think I can take their word for it. If they come out of left field, well then that’s what they do. That doesn’t mean my suppositions are invalid at this point in time. I really don’t understand why people can’t discuss what their thoughts are. Isn’t this that sort of forum? I mean Catholic Stand doesn’t appear to be a constitutional law forum. I didn’t accidentally step onto a law website did I? Wasn’t the original post about quotes from Chesterton? Then I would say that anyone is free to give their opinion.

      And I have been forth coming. I used words like “if” “possible” and “possibilities” throughout. Nobody here claims to be a mind reader. We are all making educated guesses. A person can know what those guesses are. I really don’t see how a person couldn’t. How is it possible that I can get into my car without having a inkling of what would happen? It’s not like I have to be a mechanic to know what could happen yes? Same thing. I can know what some possibilities are even if I don’t know every single outcome. And I bet you that no constitutional expert knows every single outcome either.

    61. I really don’t understand why people can’t discuss what their thoughts are. Isn’t this that sort of forum?

      Please don’t blow my comments out of proportion. I neither said or implied anything of the sort, and even if I did I’m not a mod here. I was merely responding to language in your comments where you claimed certainty where I felt there could be none. I’m glad you’ve since clarified.

    62. BTW

      No I’m not a constitutional expert. I however live in Canada.

      This sounds like a Holiday Inn Express tagline.

    63. *rolling my eyes* I have to tell people that or they get confused. Not all Americans live in America. #expat It gets more confusing when they think I can’t vote because I don’t live in the States. And no we’re not military. I still have to keep up with American politics. Fortunately living in country with a tiny population and one border…well I get a lot of American news. Canadians wonder why Americans don’t get as much news about Canada. #Canadianprobs

    64. This is a general reply to this thread about “we don’t know what will happen if the Supreme Court rules that SSM is a Constitutional right.”

      I mean, the next question is “why just 2 people, why not 3 or 4? Justice Alito asked this exact question.

      And why not even more? Will polyamory or polygamy be next? If the Facebook bosses decided that the whole company will get married in a mass ceremony on Skype, why not? This Facebook comment, of course, is facetious—I hope some of you realize? But what will be the definition of marriage?

      And could clergy be forced to conduct SSM ceremony against their beliefs? See Scalia’s questions. “If it becomes a Constitutional right I don’t see how we could allow a minister to say ‘I will only marry a man and a woman. I will not marry 2 men.'”

      And would Christian, Jewish, or Muslim or other houses of worship, or schools, or institutions lose their tax exempt status if they adhered to their belief in traditional marriage? The plaintiff’s lawyer was asked this and he chillingly replied, “I’d have to know the facts, but it would be an issue.”

      I’ve read several comments that it would never happen. Kyle Duncan, the original lead attorney in the Hobby Lobby case said (on the “World Over” video posted further down), “That’s what they said about no-fault divorce. That it would be good for the couple, and for the children, and society, and it would strengthen marriage. But it has had the opposite effect.”

      Forty-six per cent of children are now born out of wedlock which has had a devastating effect on them. The divorce rate has skyrocketed with people thinking, “Oh, I’ll try this marriage out for 6 months or a year or two and if it doesn’t work out we can get a quickie cheap divorce.” Or couples just choose to cohabit.

    65. I mean, the next question is “why just 2 people, why not 3 or 4? Justice Alito asked this exact question.

      Good question. Also, I think supporters of SSM need to make sure they have an answer for what happens if two dogs decide they want to marry two cats. That’s another thing that *could* happen if SSM is allowed.

    66. And yet, Kagan’s response doesn’t really answer his concerns either. Have non-Jews ever sued a rabbi for not marrying them? Probably not. If they did, and that case made it to the Supreme Court, how would she rule? And on what basis? If bakers and florists and photographers can be forced to participate in a same-sex wedding or be fined, why not rabbis or priests?

    67. And yet, Kagan’s response doesn’t really answer his concerns either.

      I mean, *you* don’t think it addresses his concerns. Looking at the transcript, I don’t see where Scalia pushes back against Kagan’s points.

    68. “The Supreme Court should ONLY make decisions, on any matter, based purely upon the US Constitution.” Agreed.

      However the Constitution does not include marriage. It’s not mentioned anywhere in the document. And marriage has always been understood to be a state matter much like a driver’s license. All states have different rules governing marriage and it isn’t unprecedented that some states will not recognize another state’s marriage.

      Laws governing a state’s restriction of marriage are created either through duly elected representatives or a referendum. In other words its voters who decide what marriage is (or restrictions to it) in their state. These voters may or may not be religious, but generally speaking voters decide such laws based on what is good public policy for their state. In other words, they vote based on morality, on culture, religious belief, public opinion, etc.

      You really can’t live in a democracy without taking into account the people’s decisions about common good. If we based all government decisions on being morally neutral we would be allowing things that shape our society for the worse. I think most people agree that we should be making policy decisions that are best for the country. What an individual think is best for the country will vary.

      I assume that you believe that what’s best is gay marriage yes? But I disagree. Living in Canada has shown me that this is not good public policy for children, for free speech, and for religion. It’s not a road I want the US to go down. Therefore I make my vote and voice count. This is how a true republic and a true democracy works.

    69. Yes, I do believe in right to CIVIL gay marriage, benefits, taxation, health insurance and the same rights of heterosexual couples should be extended to gay couples.

      I am glad you agree the SCOTUS decision should be ONLY based on the US Constitution:

      Amendment XIV

      Section 1.

      All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    70. Health insurance is largely a private enterprise. There are companies and public universities etc who provide health insurance. Taxation inheritance laws should be wiped out for all persons. Tax code in general needs to be revamped. In Canada there is no such thing as filing jointly. All persons file separately. If there are to be benefits, it should be for the benefit of those with children regardless of marital status. In other words, these so called rights you speak of need to be revised and more applicable to more people not just gay persons. Changing marriage laws won’t help out those single parent families or children of the deceased etc. Those issues are separate from marriage. I really don’t understand why pro-ssm supporters only wish to extend such benefits to gay people.

      As for the 14th amendment, well gay people can marry as it is defined by the state. This means that in some states you can marry your 1st cousin and in others you can’t. In some states you can marry someone at age 13 and others it’s 16. Are you suggesting that the 14th amendment supersedes any marriage statutes? Are you saying that there’s a form of age discrimination or consanguinity/affinity discrimination by excluding certain persons from marrying? I’m really puzzled as to why a state can’t define marriage. As long as the state is consistent about how it administers legal marriages, why can’t it have some restrictions based on how the voters define it?

    71. Deltaflute….just where do you get data that you can get married at 13….The vast majority of states it’s 18, one 19 and one 21…a few 16 with consent. You need to be right about facts before asserting them:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_marriage_in_the_United_States

      Yes, I favor gay marriage
      Yes, I believe that close relatives should NOT be allowed to marry because of factors dealing with recessive genes
      Yes, I believe that the age for marriage should be the same in all states (18)
      No, I do not believe that individual states in federal republic should have differing marriage statutes…or should some states allow slavery and not others? We tried that in the 1800’s and it was discriminatory, like gay marriage. Gay marriage is purely a CIVIL matter and a matter of equal protection.

    72. It was asserted during the discussions before the Supreme Court. And New Hampshire does allow marriage at age 13 for females with parental consent.

      You wouldn’t be dealing with recessive genes in the cases of affinity. Those are marriages in which the persons are related through marriage and not through biology. My husband has a double cousins. My father-in-law and his cousin married my mother-in-law and her sister. It’s not incest. Some states have restrictions on marriages based on affinity.

      What your positing sounds like anti-federalism. You seem to be saying that states have no real authority for making laws. That’s now how the republic was set up and is contrary to the constitutional restrictions placed on the federal government. Do you believe that the states have no real authority and power to have different laws amongst the states? I mean even states vary with respect to issuing driver’s licenses. Are you proposing that they should all have the same statutes?

    73. The NH marriage law has a bizarre, convoluted exception and should be stricken. Let’s be clear on my position. No state should have the right to make a law which discriminates against a group of people….very clear. Any attempt to treat a class of people unequally is wrong, is immoral and is anti American.

    74. Yet we do have discrimination against people of a certain age. Take driving. We don’t allow 12 year old behind the wheel. And some states require driving tests when a person reaches a certain age (seniors) whereas other states do not. We are treating two classes of people (minors and seniors) unequal compared to other adults. Is this immoral, wrong, or anti-American? Are you suggesting that we eliminate age as a factor?

      And for marriage….again are you suggesting that it’s wrong to discriminate against a 15 year old who wants to marry? Do you think it’s being unfair to not allow a step-sister marry a step-brother?

      I’m really having a hard time understanding why you view gay persons as a special class not subject to any kind of restrictions whereas young people and those who have affinity should have restrictions placed against them.

    75. You are stretching the limits of my imagination! A 12 year old has not the physical or developmental capacity to drive in a city. I am a senior and for the safety of others I have no problem with a special vision test nor driving test. After all, I could kill myself or someone else. Government should protect safety.
      I think it is stupid for a 15 year old to marry because he/she has neither the life experience nor maturity to maintain relationships, job, responsibility for kids etc
      I could care about step=brother from on marriage marrying step sister from another marriage.
      Gay people are normal, age appropriate, quite responsible, capable of genuine love etc. so your comparisons are flaccid. Sexuality and orientation exists on a continuum.
      Sexual orientation is a pet target for fundamentalist Catholics and extremist evangelicals. Most Catholics, in every survey given in the US, do not consider homosexuality a problem nor gay marriage an issue; 37 states in the US approve gay marriage/union. Religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality are all human characteristics which do not allow for discrimination.
      Please find some cogent examples…

    76. “Government should protect safety.” Agreed. Laws govern us to both protect us and promote the common good.

      “I think it is stupid for a 15 year old to marry….” Well the Church says a 14 year old girl can get married. I’ll let the Church speak to that.

      And yet, there are states that don’t allow step-siblings to marry. I’m not sure what the reasoning is, but that’s what the voters decided.

      “Gay people are normal, age appropriate, quite responsible, ….”
      I would say some are and just like straight people some aren’t. It’s a generalization to say that all gay people have normal gay relationships. There are gay persons who prefer teenagers. There are gay people who don’t like monogamy. As you said sexuality and orientation are a continuum. And social policy should be reflecting what is a common good. In the cases of marriages which often create children, it also means deciding the common good for minor children.

      “Sexual orientation is a pet target for fundamentalist Catholics and extremist evangelicals.”

      I disagree. The people being turned into targets are evangelicals mostly (I’m not sure if there are fundamentalist Catholics). They are the ones being singled out by the media, like in the case of Memories Pizza, or tribunals. I don’t see people suing Muslims or Orthodox Jews who share the same views. Such a thing is often unheard of because it stirs Islamaphobia and antisemitism comments. Thus Christians are easy targets. We’re also the majority. This is one reason why Christians are concerned. I could list a few more. I can tell you from my personal experience that I wish it was over and done with. I would love never to speak to someone about their sexuality ever again. But unfortunately it affects me and how I parent my children.

      “Religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality are all human characteristics which do not allow for discrimination.”

      True. But actions do. This is why some states have strict liquor laws for example. They are there to promote the general welfare. There are no marriage forms that make you mark your sexual orientation. None. The state has no idea what your sexual orientation is when you fill out paper work for a marriage license. It takes some real pretzel twisting to think the state is preventing homosexuals from marrying simply because they are gay.

      The state sets restrictions it has for licensing for businesses so why can’t it make restrictions on marriage based on how it sees a marriage is and for the general good? Otherwise your treating gay people as a special class above and beyond minors who don’t have a right to marry in most states. You’re saying that gay people don’t have to adhere to the same restrictions as straight people. (Although I would assume that once you have same-sex marriage, you would allow two straight people to marry each other regardless of sex.) So again why gay people and not minors? Or is it really that it’s not about gay people or their supposed rights, it’s about you wanting same-sex marriage? And I’m afraid to tell you but having same-sex marriage is something different than marriage and polygamy and polyamoury.

      Let’s call a spade a spade. It’s not about gay rights. It’s legalizing and having recognition of same-sex marriage. It’s bringing a new type of contract/licensing into the government and wanting it to be on par with what marriage has always been. Or worse castrating marriage turning it into a gender-less institution for consenting adults. I admit that marriage has been loosing its meaning for a long time. But that’s all the more reason for the state to be attempting to protect it and promote it. General welfare and all. I suppose you disagree with me about how to protect and promote marriage.

      And that is why it should be a state matter. Let voters decide how to strengthen marriage.

    77. You make some good points, Phil. No one wants to deprive anyone of
      their rights, but the tax benefits and health benefits for married couples
      is to help defer their cost in raising children, which the society has always deemed as a great benefit to the society.

      Al Kresta says that unfortunately traditional marriage has not set a good example and has been falling apart in the last 2 generations or more
      with easy divorces, some electing not to have children or just one or two children, and some couples choosing to cohabit instead of getting married. We have really got to get that in order with more stable marriages. Listen here (April 30, first hour): http://www.avemariaradio.net/archive-categories/kresta-in-the-afternoon/

    78. I agree that tax benefits, insurance, etc. help defer the cost of raising kids. Many gay couples here in MA adopt and raise kids, so they sould have the same benefits.
      I also agree about divorce rates and cohabitation. All the more reason to provide gay couples a reason to marry…stability.

    79. I don’t know how it works in MA but people with children (straight or gay) get tax exemptions and can put their children on their insurance plan.

      “Traditional marriage consists of the sacrificial love of a couple which would eventually lead to children.” A same-sex marriage is based on romance; why should the state even get involved in romance?

      You see it one way and I see it another. People are split on this
      question and that is why we should leave it up to the individual
      states to decide according to how the voters in that state decide.

  8. John Darrouzet

    Excellent! I always read what you write Because the quality of it is so true, so good, and, in a word, “beautiful.”

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