Thursday, November 06, 2008

Here it comes . . .

I had hoped to believe at least for a while that things are not as bad as I had predicted in my earlier posts they would be, but alas the news is already coming in, suggesting that the political tsunami is on its way.

This from my friend Mark Gordon:
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, offered this moving tidbit:

"Last night, while standing just a few feet from the podium from which our next pro-choice president spoke, I was overcome with pride and emotion. Would it have been possible to react in any other way? I was so proud of what pro-choice America did to make this historic moment possible and I knew in that moment that the electricity I felt in this crowd in Chicago was being felt across the country."

Read it all here.
The fact that the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America was standing a few feet from the podium at which president-elect Obama gave his victory oration says all that needs to be said about how deadly serious he was when he declared: "I will not yield and Planned Parenthood will not yield."

And then this from Piero Tozzi at C-FAM:
Douglas Kmiec, the “pro-life” law professor whose outspoken stumping for Barrack Obama dismayed former allies, recently speculated that the President-elect would likely tap Supreme Court Justices . . . Kmiec’s list includes Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh . . .

Koh is perceived as championing abortion and homosexual rights, pointing to developments in other jurisdictions as indicating a shift in world opinion that should be reflected in constitutional law. This past October, he chaired a panel discussion on “Transnational Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Rights” at a Yale conference which predicted “dramatic changes in the near future” in Supreme Court jurisprudence in these areas.

Read it all here.
It looks for all the world as though the grim predictions were not exaggerated. How I wish they were.


Kevin said...

Although I agree with you on abortion, I frankly do not get the issue with homosexual unions. The former deals with the non-consentual taking of a human life. The latter a consentual relationship.
You may still argue that homosexuality is immoral. That is fine insofar as it goes. However when it comes to our civil, secular law, we should continue to allow consenting adults to enter into whatever arrangements they deem good.
What exactly will homosexual marriage do to the institution of marriage that heterosexual marriage has not already done? If you are not willing to outlaw no-fault divorce and remarriage then your position will be hypocritical.
Frankly I don't want Bishops, Rabbis, Imams or Shamans dictating civil law. It would seem American Catholics feel much the same.

Mark Gordon said...

I have felt for a long time that the problem is the secular co-optation of the term "marriage", which, properly understood, refers to a Sacrament of the Church. It was only during the Reformation, with its relocation of spiritual authority from Church to State, that marriage became a civil matter. My father, a Baptist minister, used to conclude weddings with these words: "And now, by the power invested in me by the State of Rhode Island, I pronounce you man and wife." It always struck me as odd that at the decisive moment of the wedding liturgy, a Christian minister should invoke the power of the state to seal what had just taken place. That's a legacy of the Reformation.

The state is an arbiter of civil contracts, not sacramental covenants, and I think it should get out of the marriage business altogether. We don't ask the state to seal or authenticate Baptism or Eucharist, so why should it have any role in Marriage, again properly understood? I would prefer a system of civil union contracts that could be entered into by any two consenting adults, heterosexual or homosexual, through which they could legally exchange rights and responsibilities without destroying the historic - and historically sacramental - definition of Marriage.

Mark Gordon said...

I've thought for a long time that the problem here is secular co-optation of the word "marriage," which is a legacy of the Reformation's relocation of spiritual authority from the Church to the state.

Marriage is a sacrament of the Church, and just as we don't ask secular authority to seal and authenticate Baptism, Orders, or other sacraments, it escapes me why we ask the state to administer something called "marriage."

A story: When I was growing up, my father, a Baptist minister, would conclude his wedding services with these words, "And now, through the authority vested in me by the State of Rhode Island, I pronounce you man and wife." It always struck me as exceedingly odd that at the penultimate moment of the wedding liturgy he would invoke the authority of the state to announce and thereby authenticate the new union. I understood much later that he was speaking from a tradition in which the state had become the arbiter of such things. But that's not the catholic tradition (small 'c' intended), which brings us to our present squabbles over "marriage."

I believe the state should get out of the marriage business altogether. Then it would be free to preside over a system of civil union contracts in which any two people could exchange rights and responsibilities, much as any two people can already do in other precincts of civil society, such as business, medicine, and education. Under this arrangement, the young Catholic couple who had just been genuinely "married" through the Sacrament, could separately approach the civil authorities and swear out a contract to specify their respective civil rights and responsibilities, one to the other. Similarly, if any other two people desired to do the same, they would be so empowered, and it would save us all from the specter of the state redefining the historic - and historically sacramental - definition of marriage.