SCOTUS and Rainbows: How Do We Respond?

Frank - Moses

Frank - Moses

A professional woman posted what seemed to many readers (according to the huge number of likes, shares, etc.) to be well-reasoned thoughts about why Christians should now officially stop “trying to impose their religious ideas of sin on what is truly a basic civil rights issue” after the Supreme Court issued their same-sex marriage ruling. She went on to say that every time Christians have imposed their definitions onto others, this has led to the greatest violent episodes of history. I posted a response and then left it there, where it received lots of attacks.

“I have to disagree on various levels. The issue of REDEFINING marriage has not been pushed on society by Christians imposing anything!  Marriage has always been defined by its conjugal and procreative nature. And that has been true across cultures, religions and throughout history. So, those who are dismayed by the SCOTUS decision are disturbed for the same reasons that four judges dissented. Because the Supreme Court has set itself up to change the very nature and definition of marriage. And that is not the court’s job.

And as for the violence record throughout history there is this: The Black Book of Communism and other reputable sources report that Marxist/communist regimes murdered nearly 110 million people from 1917 to 1987. To put that in perspective we need to remember that all domestic and foreign wars during the 20th century killed around 35 million. When communist atheists control governments they are extremely deadly. In contrast, Christians are the creators of hospitals, universities, and charitable organizations caring for the poor. Christianity is the foundation for civilizations that uphold human dignity.”

To a young woman who loves the Yankees and posted that “we should all just be happy for them [same-sex couples]. Doesn’t the Bible say ‘do unto others what you would have them do unto you,’” I responded in this way:

“Words have meaning. When words, representing institutions, are changed to mean something totally different, there are consequences.

In this case, for all of history, ‘marriage’ has meant a conjugal union which is procreative in nature. That is a very specific form of union. Redefining it will have a long-term impact. It’s kind of like you saying right now, ‘I’m a Yankee pitcher because that’s what I dream about and that’s how I identify myself. So who are you not to honor me as a Yankee pitcher and to deny my civil right to play in the next game?’ If we put you in the game because you want to be there, it would change the outcome of Yankee history. If we put anyone who wanted to join the Yankees on the team, without respect to any criteria beyond their interest, wouldn’t it essentially destroy that team and the game of baseball?”

To a Catholic friend who was using the rainbow filter on her FB page, I wrote to her privately.

I asked her to remove that filter. I told her that she was probably trying to be kind to gay friends but that our church has officially said that the Supreme Court ruling was a grave error. It is not to be celebrated. I explained that redefining marriage will impact our children so they no longer know what marriage really means. It will impact families because kids will be needed to artificially create gay “families” and children will be intentionally deprived of both a father and a mother. This new definition of marriage is all about the adults, not the children. And now our children will think this lifestyle is optional, perhaps an “enjoyable experiment.” The consequences will be far reaching.

After explaining this privately, this woman removed the filter!

We do what we can do!  I’m sure there are other ideas for how to respond. There are just my few attempts to stay true to the faith. I’ve been called names and ignored, and I have had to think long and hard about when and how to respond. This is not easy. But the darkness is increasing and the only response we can have is to join together as flickers of light.

–Judith Costello, copyright 2015

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15 thoughts on “SCOTUS and Rainbows: How Do We Respond?”

  1. Your article hit all the salient points so thank you for that! The Church is up against wide spread and widely accepted relativism and humanism. This notion that it’s all about ‘love’ and someone this fixes everything is ridiculous. The more I hear and read about ‘gay marriage’ the more I realize that reason and logic are sadly lacking in society today.

  2. Thank you for an excellent article, Judith. You have a keen knowledge of the Catholic Faith and we sure can use it. Many more, please.

  3. “In this case, for all of history, ‘marriage’ has meant a conjugal union which is procreative in nature” you write. Homo sapiens achieved behavioral normalcy about 65,000 years ago. Your statement is blatantly wrong, incorrect and misleading. Marriage was often about economics, power and inheritance for many, many years. Research the history of marriage. Here are a few starting places:

    And I could cite hundred of sources and texts. You make a sweeping statement without a single citation. The statement is false and hence the reasoning of the post is erroneous because it is predicated upon a erroneous assumption. What ever can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. However, I have provided evidence….you make a sweeping judgement not based on evidence.

    1. Oh Phil, here we go again. So, you have said this before, and you have been corrected. Even if marriage has included legalities and philosophies about inheritance/economics/power — it’s still always been a conjugal union. A bride has always implied a groom. It’s an institution rooted in natural law and based on our very biology. Goodness, even atheist regimes understand that.

      No one has yet answered me. Where did the highly intelligent, well-educated Hillary Clinton get her history so wrong (until her rapid “evolution” just years ago during an election cycle)? She said:

      “…the fundamental bedrock principle that [marriage] exists between a man and a woman going back into the mists of history, as one of the founding foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization, and that its primary, principle role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society in which they are to become adults.”


      “Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman.”

      How did she get her history so wrong?

    2. Phil, Phil, put on some Gregorian Chant and kick back for a while. Or we’re going to call Leila again. Now you know that marriage has always been conjugal and procreative. From before there were governments, before there were cities, even before there were religions. What do you think those couples were getting together for—potato sack races? Here’s President Obama in 2008, before he “evolved”:

      “We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled – doubled – since we were children. We know the statistics – that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”

    3. I am willing to put on some chant and I am willing to spring open a good single malt scotch and hug my son tight. I’d prefer not to interact with the person who always has theTruth.
      I would differ that marriage was always procreative and conjugal and I could could cite hundreds of references from anthropologists. Now me, the human primate, has a history that goes back 65,000 years when our species achieved behavioral normalcy. The OT an NT goes back about 4000 years and no autographs exists but many interpolated copies beginning in the 3rd century CE. In early human clans, men grabbed women for expansion of their clan, for power, for purpose of inheritance …these lofty notions about marriage are recent developments of the last 4000 years only. Google reputable university sites on the history of marriage and you will see that was Catholicisms opines about was not always that way. But it really matters not because change sustains life and culture. The hunters and gatherers were driven by biology and survival,,,we as primate mammals evolved, as did our beliefs and culture and those will continue to to change for the next 65,000 years. OK, listening to chant and going to bed….the boy in my life gets up at 5:00 am. I send you the energies of the universe ( prayer in Catholic terms)…..

    4. Phil, you are a good father indeed. Chesterton says that history “doesn’t progress, but wobbles” between periods of light and darkness. We are technologically very advanced but morally and spiritually we are in a New Dark Age.
      Much of the conjecture on pre-history is just that, conjecture. There was nothing written down. Chesterton says that we have no proof that cavemen hit their women with clubs. He says that some postulate there was a time when women ruled. He asks, “So did the women hit the men with clubs?” So have a nice rest, and bless you and your family.

    5. Jamey, Actually, if you want to know more about the real roots of human breeding of the ancients in contemporary study, examine the studies of the aborigines of Australia, the Amazon tribes untouched by contemporary civilizations in the deep rainforests. the Jarawa of the Indian islands, natives of New Guinea, and numerous clans of “uncontacted people.” They all evidence the fact that the simplicity of of “conjugal love and procreation” are modern evolutionary innovations. Male-female couplings of these indigenous uncontacted people are quite unlike the more lofty definitions of modern religions of the past 4000 years. Times change and we cannot get caught in the nostalgia of the past … my state of MA has legalized gay marriage in 2004 and civilization here has not collapsed and in terms of the poor, disabled, the marginalized, we provide among the best services in the nation. I think we are a good example of reaching to the margins and understanding the future. Have a great day…..

    6. Phil, please don’t have your double malted scotch before tonight. Ha ha. Read my new article on CS about SSM legalization causing hetero marriage rates to go down. No, GK was NOT anti-Semitic. Read this:

      “… There were things in the tradition of Israel which belong to all humanity now, and might have belonged to all humanity then. They had one of the colossal cornerstones of the world: the Book of Job. It obviously stands over against the Iliad and the Greek tragedies; and even more than they it was an early meeting and parting of poetry and philosophy in the morning of the world. It is a solemn and uplifting sight to see those two eternal fools, the optimist and the pessimist, destroyed in the dawn of time. And the philosophy really perfects the pagan tragic irony precisely because it is more monotheistic and therefore more mystical. Indeed the Book of Job avowedly only answers mystery with mystery. Job is comforted with riddles; but he is comforted. Herein is indeed a type, in the sense of a prophecy, of things speaking with authority. For when he who doubts can only say ‘I do not understand,’ it is true that he who knows can only reply or repeat ‘You do not understand. And under that rebuke there is a sudden hope in the heart; and the sense of something that would be worth understanding. But this mighty monotheistic poem remained unremarked by the whole world of antiquity, which thronged with polytheistic poetry. It is a sign of the way in which the Jews stood apart and kept their tradition unshaken and unshared, that they should have kept a thing like The Book of Job out of the whole intellectual world of antiquity…”

    7. Jamey, Jamey….it’s only a pure single malt…blended whiskeys are for the masses (lol).

      Looking forward to your next post…..I am sure we will meet there.

      Also GK….he floundered between defending and antisemitism:

      “From then on (1918), however, Chesterton hammers relentlessly at the idea that there is “a Jewish problem,” the problem being that Jews are foreigners, innately alien to the nations into which they’ve insinuated themselves. Writing in 1920, he tells us that Jews are regarded, by the Arabs in Palestine, as “parasites that feed on a community by a thousand methods of financial intrigue and economic exploitation.” Chesterton then adds that this charge may not be entirely true but needs to be addressed by the Jews—as though they were compelled to consider themselves permanently on trial by their persecutors. Later in the decade, writing about a journey to America, he says, in defense of Henry Ford, “No extravagance of hatred merely following onexperience of Jews can properly be called a prejudice. . . . These people of the plains have found the Jewish problem exactly as they might have struck oil; because it is there, and not even because they were looking for it.”
      …..till tomorrow

    8. Phil, Phil, I would never think you would drink the common drink of the peasants. (lol) I gave up the bubbly 29 years ago—I got a little too bubbly. Just be careful about drinking and typing: it can lead one off the highway and into the ditch.

      The author of that column saying that Chesterton was anti-Semitic was—surprise, surprise—an atheist by his own admission, and, according to Dale Ahlquist, an anti-Catholic:
      “For those of us who love Chesterton, we are always distressed to see him falsely accused of something vile. But we have gotten a little tired of the charge of anti-Semitism. He has been absolved of that charge too many times for us to count – from the tribute by Rabbi Stephen Wise to the official statements of the Weiner Library (the archives of anti-Semitism and holocaust history in London). The charge is usually made thoughtlessly or ignorantly. But in some cases it is made knowingly and deceitfully. It is a calumny against the man who said “The world owes God to the Jews,” and “I will die defending the last Jew in Europe,” who was sought out by Jewish leaders in his support for Zionism, a man who hated racism and racial theories and who fought for human dignity and always affirmed the brotherhood of all men.

      The American Chesterton Society devoted an entire issue of Gilbert to address the charge of anti-Semitism against Chesterton. We bring out the facts and we also let him defend himself in his own words. We would be happy to debate anyone on a point-by-point basis who insists on repeating the false charge.”

      “…the world owes God to the Jews… [T]hrough all their wanderings… they did indeed carry the fate of the world in that wooden tabernacle…The more we really understand of the ancient conditions that contributed to the final culture of the Faith, the more we shall have a real and even a realistic reverence for the greatness of the Prophets of Israel. [W]hile the whole world melted into this mass of confused mythology, this Deity who is called tribal and narrow, precisely because he was what is called tribal and narrow, preserved the primary religion of all mankind. He was tribal enough to be universal. He was as narrow as the universe…”

      Ahlquist: “Perhaps some future literary critic will be discussing Mr. Gopnik’s anti-Catholicism rather than Chesterton’s anti-Semitism.”

  4. Ms. Costello,

    You were way out of line asking the woman to remove the rainbow filter from her profile photo. And she was a fool to listen to you and do it. The only reason the SCOTUS decision wasn’t unanamous was because of the four Catholics who decided to let their religious right beliefs influence their ability to provide a just ruling. It is definitely cause for celebration. Love conquered bigotry.

    1. Wait a sec. Now it’s “out of line” to privately perform the Catholic work of mercy to “instruct the ignorant”, from one Catholic to another? Wow…. That’s a new one.

    2. Thank you for a love-filled and well-researched comment. If you read the dissenting opinions you will find they are not based on religious beliefs but upon reason: law, philosophy, social science, and political science.

      She has every right to advise her friend to remove the rainbow filter from her profile picture. Toleration means you can still voice your disapproval, although you seem to think otherwise. Here’s an explanation of tolerance:

      “[W]hen tolerance IS extended, we can reasonably protest if certain groups are favored over others. It is one thing to say that certain groups or activities should be tolerated legally or otherwise. But then to declare that opposing groups have no right to the same tolerance or to voice their disagreement in the same matter is unjust. Many people today mistake “tolerance” to mean approval, tacit agreement, or at least feigned indifference. This is a misunderstanding.

      The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines tolerance and toleration this way:

      Toleration—from the Latin tolerare: to put up with, countenance, or suffer—generally refers to the conditional acceptance of or non-interference with beliefs, actions, or practices that one considers to be wrong but still “tolerable,” such that they should not be prohibited or constrained. [1]

      It goes on to make a distinction that is often lost today:

      [I]t is essential for the concept of toleration that the tolerated beliefs or practices are considered to be objectionable and in an important sense wrong or bad. If this objection component (cf. King 1976, 44-54) is missing, we do not speak of “toleration” but of “indifference” or “affirmation.”

    3. As opposed to the 5 who let their anti-religious beliefs influence a ruling to impose those beliefs on everyone else?

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