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Anatomy of a Smear Print E-mail
By Austin Ruse   
Friday, 23 March 2012

I do not believe that sexual orientation and gender identity should become new categories of non-discrimination in international law. For this, I have been “outed” on a number of homosexual websites and blogs as supporting the murder of homosexuals.

Not long ago, I spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the preeminent gathering of conservatives in the nation. Our panel discussed the confluence of abortion supporters and homosexual activists in public policy. I gave an account of the international legal strategies for making abortion and sexual orientation legally binding human rights.

It’s little known how human rights are ginned up these days. Certain terms and ideas, seemingly innocent, are floated into the U. N. conversation and into U. N. documents. Then, in short order, new human rights are claimed under what is called “customary international law.”

On abortion, this is done through the repetitious use of the phrase “reproductive health.” It has been repeated hundreds of times in dozens of U. N. documents, most of them non-binding on states. Proponents say this repetition has created an international right to abortion. Of course, this is false.

In the same way, the homosexual movement hopes to make sexual orientation and gender identity protected classes in human rights law. It has been heavier sledding for them than for abortion proponents because opposition to their cause includes a majority of Member States of the United Nations.

But homosexual activists have tried for years simply to get the phrase “sexual orientation and gender identity” into U. N. documents. They have largely failed. The best they have been able to do is to have this phrase promoted in a “statement,” no more than a press release really, issued by the French government and signed by sixty-five countries back in 2008.

Not long after, there was a debate in the U. N. General Assembly about extra judicial killing and summary execution. This is one of dozens of annual resolutions the General Assembly produces each fall. Proponents tried and failed and then succeeded in getting “sexual orientation and gender identity” into the document as a protected class.

Opposition to the measure centered not on support for killing homosexuals, though this is what proponents said to the global media. Opposition centered on resistance to including this new and undefined term (does anyone know what “gender identity” really means?) into a U. N. document.

Everyone knows the strategy has little do with protecting homosexuals from execution but rather with introducing a new term that can then be turned into an elaborate justification for a new international legal norm. Member States know this and how the game is played. So they have resisted from square one.



        New issues; old tactics 

Last summer the activists were at it again at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. A seemingly non-controversial vote was taken on the preparation of a report on violence against homosexuals. It barely passed. All it would be is a report, nothing more. But the U. S. government and others trumpeted it as an historical breakthrough for human rights. See how this is played?

I explained all this at CPAC. A young swain filmed my talk. I figured opponents would be there. I even suggested that those who support homosexual rights, but who were also American patriots, may even stand with me and others who believe these issues should not be decided in the ugly sausage factory at the United Nations but on our own shores.

Within a day, a video of a small portion of my talk was up on Right Wing Watch with the rather remarkable headline “Austin Ruse Condemns Efforts to Stop Violence Against LGBT Community.” Of course, this was scattered all over the homo-sphere. Right Wing Watch put it up on YouTube. It was called the ugliest talk at CPAC.

And the comments? They really had me pegged. I am really a self-hating homosexual. One of them knew this by the way I moved my eyes. It is amazing how the homosexuals like to use the word homosexual as an epithet. Self-hating indeed.

The video even found its way onto a “Catholic” blog called Catholics for Equality, a group of dissenters from Church teaching. They accused me of speaking out against efforts to stop homosexual executions.

None of these shameful charges is true; in fact, all are false and slanderous. It would have been easy to get the entire video and see that my arguments were about the proper and improper development of international law.

But this was small beer compared to what happens to Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown, Peter Wolfgang, or others who are on the front lines defending traditional marriage every day. They get actual death threats. What happened to me is nothing compared to hate-filled rage directed at supporters of things like Proposition-8, or to a little girl who posted a YouTube video objecting to a troubled little boy being accepted into a Girl Scout Troop in Colorado.

The girl’s mother is an activist trying to stop the headlong leftward drift of the Girl Scouts. The girl put the video up on YouTube and it immediately went viral in the homo-fascist community. Her family came under immediate, brutal attack that lasted for weeks. The little girl’s life was threatened. The family was badgered at home. The father was badgered at work. They basically had to go into hiding and had to hire a lawyer to get the video taken down from dozens of websites.

In the end, the homosexuals got what they wanted. They shut that little girl up! Let’s hope that mainstreet America will come to know these tactics, which are more suitable for Kristallnacht than twenty-first century America.

I am tempted to predict that there is a dark night coming, except I fear we may already be there.

 
Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washington, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-FAM.


 
 
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Comments (73)Add Comment
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written by Manfred, March 23, 2012
Thank you for a fine article, Mr. Ruse. We would all be better off and we would be better Catholics if we understood our times to be a Divine punishment. "Amen, amen, I say to you; this earth shall not pass away until every jot and tittle has been satisfied." 54 million abortions, a ten year war killing hundreds of thousands of innocents which our President was warned by Vatican representatives, twice, was "immoral" and "illegal". How long does anyone think this can continue without massive penalties? Abortion and aberrosexuality are diabolical and only prayer and penance will rectify this condition. Our national government is corrupt and only responds to K Street and The Lobbies which buy and pay for our government's attention and votes.
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written by Richard A, March 23, 2012
I think the resemblance is based on actual behavior. Do American conservatives harass homosexuals and hound them into hiding? Do homosexuals harass American conservatives and hound them into hiding?
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written by Brad Miner, March 23, 2012
To Walter: No doubt you'd say the same thing to Jesus concerning his verbal assault on the scribes and Pharisees: "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how can you flee from the judgment of Gehenna?"
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written by Bangwell Putt, March 23, 2012
All United States citizens are protected under existing law. Separate categories serve as distractions. Violence against persons is prohibited. Violations are punished.

All persons of good will are in agreement on this subject. Comparison of this noble stance rooted in ancient understandings of justice to the insane hatred and violent behavior of the Nazis is incoherent.

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written by Austin Ruse, March 23, 2012
Scott, homosexuals in this country are a wealthy and pampered and protected elite. They are wealthier, better educated, and more powerful than almost any group in the country. Some discrimination.
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written by Austin Ruse, March 23, 2012
And, Scotty, many of the worst perpetrators of violence in the Nazi regime were in fact homosexuals. The analogy is very good. Some of the worst and most vicious attacks based on political beliefs in this country come from supporters of the homosexual agenda. I could have mentioned the hate heaped upon another little girl who had the temerity to testify for traditional marriage before teh Maryland legislature. She, too, received vicious death threats. Your team is vicious and do not want simply acceptance or tolerance. You want to stamp out all activities, statements and even thoughts that may contradict your own. This is fascist. I suspect you think we all deserve such attacks.
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written by Austin Ruse, March 23, 2012
Walter, I stand by everything I write and speak. I am happy to discuss any and all of it. But it is awfully low, typical but low, to say I have said things or believe things I never said or thought or believe. I have never called for homosexuals to be executed as has been attributed to me. Such is the low nature of your side of the argument.
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written by Austin Ruse, March 23, 2012
And by the way, Walter, my recent column was not "about bitch-slapping a 300-pounder." It was about how Chastity Bono got nailed by Warren Beatty's daughter for not being sufficiently enlightened about transgenderism and also how looney all that business really is. You see, someone reading your comments might think that I advocated "bitch-slapping a 300-pounder." See how honesty and dishonesty work in argumentation?
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written by Grump, March 23, 2012
Given your reference, Mr. Ruse, this quote seems apt for the times:

"The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over." -- Joseph Goebbels

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written by Dismas, March 23, 2012
The continued perserverance and courage of those that speak truth and reason on an International and National scale in the face of such obstreperous evil attack from the sodomite/infanticidite totalitarian fascist regime is truly humbling.

May you continue to withstand their attack as they continue to further unmask and expose the well heeled incarnate evil they truly are.
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written by John, March 23, 2012
My policy is to simply never ever give in to the new fascists on the left. Be they homosexual activists or Christophobes etc. I simply don't back down. You shouldn't either. If you are making them angry then keep it up. It means that you are doing the right thing. Homosexual activists will not stop until it is Christians who are being persecuted. In fact we already are. Often they joke about sending us to the Lions, again. Only it isn't a joke.
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written by Jacob, March 23, 2012
Walter

I think the line is crossed when death threats are made or a mob denies someone the right to work.

I don't think Austin Ruse has made death threats to anyone or gotten anyone fired from their job--indeed he's happy to let people who identify as homosexuals make statements about their beliefs and profit from them unencumbered.
Gay activists who profit from this kind of thing more than Mr. Ruse ever will say things about their opponents that actually are horrible, yet Mr. Ruse doesn't get all his buddies together and hound their friends, relatives and employers until they're fired and go into hiding. (I wonder what would happen if a gay "activist" were harassed on the job for his or her beliefs, even if they had posted them on YouTube!)

And what's wrong with referring to Nazis? I consider Satan when I'm thinking about why I shouldn't steal a candy bar. I don't really think that stealing a candy bar is as bad as the things Satan has done, but I do find it useful to associate a small sin with bigger sins or in Satan's case, the source of sin.
Haven't you heard Gollum's story? You don't think serial killers just one day, completely innocent, go out and commit their most heinous acts? You realize that sinning is like a drug addiction? You know that it starts small and gets big? You understand that it was protecting Aryans before it was exterminating Jews?
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written by Scotty Ellis, March 23, 2012
Richard:

"I think the resemblance is based on actual behavior. Do American conservatives harass homosexuals and hound them into hiding? Do homosexuals harass American conservatives and hound them into hiding?"

It goes both ways. There are homosexuals who certainly seek to minimize or exclude voices that are condemning of homosexuality, just as there are social forces seeking to suppress the voice or concerns of homosexuals; indeed, recent bullying incidents come to mind which suggest that homosexuals are continuing to be the target of violence ment explicitly to suppress or punish their sexual orientation.

Walter:

It's called mimetic violence, and Catholics are hardly immune to the temptation to become a mirror image of the very thing they decry.

Brad:

I don't know what Walter would or would not say to Christ, but as Austin Ruse is not Jesus Christ I would say that there is a certain level of scrutiny to which he might be subject to that Christ might not be subject to. That being said, the Nazi metaphor is so overused (and misused) that I would argue that bringing it up at all is inviting these sorts of criticism.
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written by Walter, March 23, 2012
Mr. Miner, actually I would not, because he is Jesus. Mr. Ruse is not.
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written by Thomas Aquinas, March 23, 2012
Scotty writes: "The threat of violence and force has an almost universal place as a substitute for legitimate dialogue, discussion, thought, and rationality," Then he concludes: "Unfortunately, as this article's somewhat cliche use of the Nazi metaphor suggests, people can get things completely backwards: the Nazis discriminated against people on a number of bases, including their sexual orientation, while the conservative Christians who agree with this article are the ones upset that the U.N. is opposed to this sort of discrimination. I leave it to the reader to analyze who bears a closer resemblance to the Nazis."

Passive aggressively calling fellow citizens Nazis is an avenue of "legitimate dialogue"? Scotty, you may want just stop preaching rather than not practicing what you preach.
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written by Jack, March 23, 2012
Are you saying that a person SHOULD be discriminated against for his sexual orientation--or PERCEIVED sexual orientation?
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written by Graham, March 23, 2012
It was gay British blogger Johann Hari who wrote years ago of the "fascistic" tendency among activists. My years working in an industry in which gay and feminist activists have been the majority for decades confirms Mr. Ruse's story. And it was a young religious gay man who warned me. The environment became so toxic, so hostile, and so personal, that I was forced to make several formal complaints. After a year, two of my superiors were transferred, not demoted or reprimanded. They were only afraid of publicity or legal consequences. Just before leaving one of them was given an "employee of the month award" in my presence to make certain I got the message. It is an ugly and bigoted America that is being created. And it is destroying careers and lives. And the humiliations only became more subtle and sotto voce; they did not cease. It contributed strongly to the company's ultimate bankruptcy and liquidation. A demoralized and disgusted workforce and a management culture oblivious to what it takes to create a product and attract customers. Ultimately the culture could not be hidden and more than once I saw customers leave and never return because of it.

At my parish, there has been an outreach to gay men and women and I know that for the pastor this is truly pastoral care not more misconceived social justice. He cares about their souls and their families. Let me know when ACT UP, the Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU, NARAL, and other political action committees behave with similar decency and humanity. It isn't going to happen.

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written by Austin Ruse, March 23, 2012
Scotty:

"just as there are social forces seeking to suppress the voice or concerns of homosexuals"

Name them. Be specific.
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written by Austin Ruse, March 23, 2012
Jack,

One thing one wishes when one writes a column is that folks who criticize it have actually read it. Forget reading it fairly. Just read the goddamn thing.
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written by Austin Ruse, March 23, 2012
Tom, False. It is not conservative to believe that any behavior is fine. On this I stand with the Church. Heck, I stand with almost everyone on this, expect pie-eyed libertarians.
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written by Achilles, March 23, 2012
I don’t know if this “targeting” of homosexuals is really what the homosexualists say it is. When we were kids, we knew that the sexual perversion of homosexuality was way out of bounds just like heroin use or any other addiction. If someone were to flaunt homosexual tendencies it would have been an occasion for some derision, but my friends and I (and really no one I know) would ever want to cause physical harm to homosexuals. I know violence has happened and no one with a cultivated morality would condone violence towards this addiction, but boundary setting is called for.

There is a high suicide rate amongst homosexuals amongst many other disturbing factors that suggest as clearly as a noonday bell that homosexual actions are damaging and lead those so afflicted to despair and further disorder. What we must not do, in a misguided attempt to be compassionate, a la Scotty Ellis, is to try to reduce this fiasco to false equivalents. The homosexualists are merely trying to normalize aberrosexuall behavior. It is no act of charity to be complicit in this perversion because what is following is the normalization of what they now call “intergenerational” relationships.

There is no shame on the homosexualists part for the violence inflicted and threatened, they feel entitled just as a drug addict justifies horrid acts to obtain his drug. Good article Mr. Ruse.
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written by Tony Esolen, March 23, 2012
I loathe cruelty in all its forms. It's my reaction to things I saw and experienced (and sometimes took guilty part in) when I was a child -- the typical childhood cruelties. It is cruel to hold someone up to scorn because he's a bit effeminate -- and it is also cruel, in a vicious and manipulative way, to "comfort" a teenage boy with the news that homosexual, when he's confused...

It is not true that most of the cruelty homosexual men experience is directed at them by others. The life itself is notably cruel...

Maybe those other countries who don't want to have the category "homosexual" forced upon them simply look at the chaos of the sexual revolution, and are saying, "We are poor enough as it is -- we don't want that!"

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written by Patrick K, March 23, 2012
It is possible to have anti-sodomy laws, which restrict behavior, while still respecting the rights of those with disordered homosexual inclinations. Certainly it is true that people with same-sex attraction are children of God and fully deserve to be treated with the exact same compassion and respect as everyone else. That, however, is not to say that they need to be flattered or that we need to "walk on eggshells" with them. They need to accept logical and civil criticisms of sodomy without becoming overly emotional.

The supporters of sodomy need to be more prepared to explain why their form of sexuality is equal to that which is procreative. Simply calling for "tolerance," "acceptance," "respect," etc. of homosexual people is understandable and correct, but is not a defense of sodomy itself. Neither is calling names such as "bigot," or suggesting that acceptance of sodomy is a historical inevitability. Nothing is inevitable, and even if it were, mere social acceptance does not change its moral status.

It's actually somewhat disturbing that people would say something like, "get on the right side of history." And if we don't? It could be interpreted as a subtle threat, an appeal to social coercion that suppresses logical argument.
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written by Tom, March 23, 2012
Achilles, it may be that a high suicide rate amongst homosexuals is due, in part, to the hate, bias and discrimination they face as they attempt to live their lives.
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written by Scotty Ellis, March 23, 2012
Austen Ruse:

"Scott, homosexuals in this country are a wealthy and pampered and protected elite."

I think that broad and unfounded generalization is beneath a thoughtful person. There are wealthy and pampered and protected homosexuals (as there are wealthy and pampered and protected heterosexuals), and there are poor, bullied or persecuted homosexuals. I need not remind anyone of the homosexual students bullied into suicide, do I?

"And, Scotty, many of the worst perpetrators of violence in the Nazi regime were in fact homosexuals."

Perhaps, but the Nazis specifically targeted homosexuals for imprisonment and fines; additionally, homosexual Nazis would have had to keep their sexuality a secret, or else suffer the fate of Ernst Rohm. Literally tens of thousands of homosexuals were persecuted by the Nazis for being homosexual, and they faced death in concentration camps along with Jews and the disabled. Whatever the orientation of some of its members, history gives clear testimony that the Nazi party was unequivocally anti-homosexual, to the point of killing homosexuals; your metaphor, then, still stands as an unfortunate reversal of reality.

"Your team is vicious and do not want simply acceptance or tolerance. "

I have no team. I am not a homosexual and I do not consider myself particularly pro-homosexual. I simply think that it is quite uncharitable to oppose resolutions and legislation meant to protect people from discrimination based upon their sexual orientation. To put it in a different way: if, right now, legislation passed that gave heterosexuals a disadvantage to college admissions, I suspect you would be the first to cry out against such discrimination based upon sexual orientation. This is simply the same situation, with the roles reversed and with the persecution consisting of (quite often) violence, threats, and, in some countries, even death.

"I have never called for homosexuals to be executed as has been attributed to me."

I, personally, have never accused you of anything of the sort. But I do wonder why someone would oppose protections for homosexuals such as those proposed by the U.N. It is not that I think you wish positive harm upon them (although there are some who do, individuals whose resentment is appeased only by the thought of those they dislike burning in eternal torment), but rather that I wonder why, if you believe they should be protected from targeted discrimination, you would oppose resolutions to that effect.
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written by Scotty Ellis, March 23, 2012
Thomas Aquinas:

"Passive aggressively calling fellow citizens Nazis is an avenue of "legitimate dialogue"? Scotty, you may want just stop preaching rather than not practicing what you preach."

I didn't bring up the Nazis, the article brought them up. However, I must admit that I could not pass up the opportunity to point out the irony that the stance taken by the article - namely, one opposing specific protection to a group of people against discrimination targeting them because of an attribute such as sexual orientation - is strangely more in line with the Nazi agenda than the agenda of those who wish to end such persecution. I am not calling anyone a Nazi, but am simply pointing out the failure of a metaphor.
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written by Scotty Ellis, March 23, 2012
Austen, again:
"Name them. Be specific."

Very well, here's just a few:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Westboro Baptist Church
Abiding Truth Ministries
American Family Association
Americans for Truth about Homosexuality
The Grand Old Party (to some extent)

But I am really less interested in these specific organizations as I am about the social pressures that lead to anti-homosexual bullying, as well as the international scene: many nations continue to prosecute homosexuals, even with the death sentence. As the U.N. is an international organization, these countries are probably more pertinent to the resolution.
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written by Scotty Ellis, March 23, 2012
"The homosexualists are merely trying to normalize aberrosexuall behavior."

Aberrant, compared to what norm? You are assuming quite a bit; for example, you are missing the numerous cultures in which homosexuality was considered normative. In any case, this discussion is not primarily about the ethical status of homosexuality; it is about whether homosexuals should be protected from discrimination and persecution on the basis of their homosexuality.

The narrative that homosexuals are wicked or sinful has historically been a point of empowerment for those who have used violence against them in cultures that viewed homosexuality as aberrant. While you and your friends may never have engaged in explicit violence against homosexuals, it is clearly the case that some feel emboldened by this narrative to take matters into their own hands, physically, verbally, or otherwise abusing and harming homosexuals. I am not arguing that homosexuals have not been perpetrators of violence or hate speech; clearly, this has also happened. I am merely pointing out that this is a clear case of mimetic violence: violence that escalates as each side condemns the other, abhors its actions (in this case, name-calling, threats, violence, and low blows), and in response becomes the mirror image of the very thing it condemns. Being willing to release the issue, to reach out to the "other," and recognize a common bond of humanity (and a common need for the protection of human rights) is the only way progress is going to be made.
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written by Manfred, March 23, 2012
Some ideas on the above: Mr. Ruse is correct that the early Nazi Sturm Abteiliung (S.A.) under Roehm were largely homosexual. They were destroyed by the Schutz Staffel (S.S.)by Hitler's orders as he no longer needed them and their reputation. May I suggest the readers go to the Catechism of the Catholic Church to para 2357 and read the last line? The Church has 5,670 years of Judaeo-Catholicism (the ONLY two religions which have been true in the history of the world!!!, with Catholicism replacing Judaism 2,000 years ago)on Its side. We live in a world of FACTS-look them up!
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written by Achilles, March 23, 2012
Professor Esolen, I concur completely and agree that cruelty on any level is very sad. I mentioned boundary setting in the case of a sexual advance not for effeminacy. It is a difficult thing to deal with, but the homosexualist M.O. with violence and death threats is way out of bounds.

Dear Tom
If that is the case, that is sad indeed. I don’t believe that. I know many homosexuals and I think to attribute a lack of acceptance as a root cause of suicide is a great error. You should try being Catholic.
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written by Achilles, March 23, 2012
Dear Scotty, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that homosexual acts are not normal. It is assuming that objective moral standards exist and are knowable. In fact Scotty, I will go even further out on that limb and say, there is a right side and a wrong side to this issue, not only morally, but in consideration of a healthy society.

You are claiming that there are many cultures that find homosexual acts normal? You must be reading the new history books. There are so many natural difficulties and maladies that arise from these relationships and moral mindset that it would take an impressive ostrich act to ignore them all.

Though I may not have spoken well or clearly enough, I will not take credit for escalating the violence against homosexuals.

As usual Scotty, you have confused categories. This is not a civil rights issue. This is a moral issue.
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written by Scotty Ellis, March 23, 2012
Apologies to Mr. Ruse, I have been spelling Austin "Austen."
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written by Thomas C. Coleman, Jr., March 23, 2012
I almost thought I could stay out of this one, but I have to thank Manfred for pointing out that Hitler got rid of the homosexuals when he was through with them. I ask all of those who believe it is their duty to the virtue of Charity to oppose the Holy Mother Church because She teaches what she must on this matter that when the totalitarian forces that are using the homosexuals to discredit the Church are through with them they will bully them much more than Fundamentalist do. Anyone who truly loves his or her friends who are homoselxuals must warn them friends that they are being used and will be thrown to the wolves. All of you freethinkers should realize that when the comissars come to take you to the guilloitne they will not be disuaded from their missions by your protestations that you have many gay freids or that it has years since you've been near a church.
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written by Austin Ruse, March 23, 2012
Scotty, If you believe that opposing things like homosexual adoption, homosexual marriage and the like is the same as "seeking to suppress the voice or concerns of homosexuals" then yes I suppose all those groups do that. And I am certain taht homosexual advocates would characterize disagreement over public policy that way. But, none of those groups, as far as I know do anything other than opposing certain public policy ideas they believe are inimical to human flourishing. You should include the Catholic Church in your condemnation then.

I want to make it clear since it is unclear whether you get this or not. My column and my speech that was mischaracterized by the pelvic fascists is about the proper development of international law. You can believe as you yoruself do and also agree with me that human rights are manhandled when they are developed as I describe. If sexual orientation and gender identity are to be new categories of nondiscrimination in international law, then do it head on and not using subterfuge, lies and deception.
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written by Noah Vaile, March 23, 2012
Good for you Austin. We need people standing up for The Catholic Church, Truth (The Catholic Church, again), Justice and the American Way.
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written by Grump, March 23, 2012
Bishop Sheen noted that St. Paul declared that homosexuality and atheism were related to one another as effect to cause.
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written by Patrick K, March 23, 2012
Scotty: "many nations continue to prosecute homosexuals, even with the death sentence"

I believe in most cases it is sodomites, not homosexuals as such, who are prosecuted. I'm not sure if legal restrictions are the best way to tackle this problem, and certainly the death penalty is far too harsh. But if a democratic society choses to do so, I don't disagree on principle with sodomy legislation. It's important to keep in mind the distinction between homosexually inclined people and those who act on that inclination.

Everyone suffers from various sinful inclinations (the word for this is "concupiscence"). Concupiscence is not in itself sinful and should not be illegal. It is, I agree, cruel and unfair to single out homosexuals in that regard, as it would be cruel and unfair to punish someone who felt angry but did not act wrongfully on that feeling. Christians need to be sensitive to the unfortunate position homosexuals are in and to empathize with their situation. But, again, we must do so in a spirit of authentic charity, and not in a flattering way that enables self-destructive and self-corrupting behavior.
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written by Scotty Ellis, March 24, 2012
Achilles:

"You are claiming that there are many cultures that find homosexual acts normal? You must be reading the new history books."

Native American culture accepted homosexuality in individuals they called "two-spirited." These individuals had important placed in the community. Ancient Egyptian culture has given us at least one artisitc representation of a homosexual relationship, and there is evidence that such a relationship would have been considered normal. Many warrior tribes among African nations had homosexual relationships between younger and older warriors, while the Greeks themselves were not unknown to engage in similar relationships. This lists only a few cultures; a recent survey of a variety of cultures across time found that about half of the cultures investigated condemned homosexuality, while the other half were either indifferent or even afforded it a special status. So, then, it is clear that history - whatever books you wish to use - does provide a mixed message on the issue. You would have to cherry pick a particular lineage of cultures to provide yourself with a historical norm matching your description.

"There are so many natural difficulties and maladies that arise from these relationships"

And this is not the case with heterosexual relationships?

Austin:

"If you believe that opposing things like homosexual adoption, homosexual marriage and the like is the same as "seeking to suppress the voice or concerns of homosexuals" then yes I suppose all those groups do that."

And this is not persecution? Let us put it a different way: imagine the roles were reversed. Let us say that homosexuals were advocating that heterosexuals were not allowed to adopt; clearly you would call this an attempt to persecute or oppress? The Church would clearly declaim such attempts; yet these are the very things which you would not consider persecution when targeting other groups. Or, let me put it yet another way: you would probably consider, say, an avowed apostate Catholic turned Satanist to be in general an inferior parent to a faithful Catholic, according to your own account of things? Yet, you would probably recognize that laws preventing that person from adopting would be a violation of their rights and a form of persecution? Well, then, what makes homosexuality a "worse" sin, one that somehow nullifies a homosexual's rights and which exempts a similar law from being considered persecution?

"You can believe as you yoruself do and also agree with me that human rights are manhandled when they are developed as I describe. If sexual orientation and gender identity are to be new categories of nondiscrimination in international law, then do it head on and not using subterfuge, lies and deception."

Unfortunately, there are many nations (particularly nations that continue to enforce laws against homosexuality) that make this difficult.

Patrick:

In a liberal secular society, the moral prohibitions founded upon religious beliefs cannot be the basis of law: only those actions which effect the distribution of and access to primary goods can be legislated by law, and even then decisions must (in theory, admitting flaws) be based upon some form of empirical evidence. It would thus be improper for sodomy to be governed by legislation. It is not the duty of the government to punish sin; it is the duty of the government to maintain earthly peace. It is a dangerous thing for the government to legislate according to religious beliefs (would you be willing to submit to a government legislated according to Islamic beliefs?).
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written by Chris, March 24, 2012
There are many homosexuals who agree with you write. What is a personal issue that each individual deals with in varying successful/unsuccessful ways is being turned into a war on heterosexuals, the family and society.
Homosexuals want to be happy and love and those that think... know sexual instinct can be channeled in destructive and constructive ways (husband/ wife, life long commitment children). Sex for its own sake is empty and deeply dehumanising. We become what we do. Homosexuality is fundamentally an emotional difficulty that uses sex to gain affirmation. Ultimatley many an old homosexual will be nothing but a sad witness to the pointlessness of the "gay" lifestyle and agenda!
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written by Michael Paterson-Seymour, March 24, 2012
As Kennedy J argued in Romer v Evans, the protection offered by antidiscrimination laws are not a "special right" because they protect fundamental rights already enjoyed by all other citizens.
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written by Manfred, March 24, 2012
What is the most disturbing about the replies to this column is, that as well argued as some points may be, they all reflect the complete absence of a solid CATHOLIC education. Correct me, but I see no reference to the NATURAL LAW. The bodies of two men or two women are not compatible to generating life! That is the end of the argument. You could take the same argument for an individual's "needs" and argue for necrophilia (sexual intercourse with a cadaver)or bestiality (sexual intercourse with an animal)and certainly polygamy. Do you know the real reason most Catholic colleges are no longer Catholic: because once moral theology and apologetics were removed from the syllabus, there was no reason for them to teach college level "Catholicism".
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written by Austin Ruse, March 24, 2012
Scotty, youa re changing the terms of your argument. First you suggested that these groups "suppress the voice and concerns of homosexuals." Of course, they do no such thing. No one is suggesting that homosexuals are not free to speak out for their beliefs. So then you change you argument to one of persecution. OK. We can go there. Is it persecution not to allow someone to marry or adopt? Are we not allowed to make any legal distinctions between those who may marry and those who may adopt. I think you understand that not allowing any distinction would open the door to adoptions and marriages that even you would object to. Is this then persecution or is it discrimination? I suggest it it the later and further that it is an acceptable discrimination, as the Church teaches. Not everyone is allowed to marry and society agrees with that. Not everyone is allowed to adopt. We do not say that this persecutes those who fall outside what is allowed.

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written by Mike, March 24, 2012
Well said, Manfred!
The column and comments are a debate on a small subset of the original offense. The use of ones body for illicit sexual behavior is the issue. Homosexual or heterosexual sex outside the sacrament of Holy Matrimony is always ALWAYS a serious offense against natural law, God's law. To discuss whether homosexuality is acceptable in any situation is the argument most homosexual, as well as atheists want to have. Thereby the premise of legitimacy is partially assumed. No. Chasity and celibacy outside of marriage are to be promoted for everyone as this is Gods teaching for us to be truly happy in this life. I not stupid I know people have fallen natures but the issue of discrimination will never be resolved unless and until we recognize the charity of chastity.
Austin, the assault on you and others from the "community" is only proof that the passion of lust and murder are the one in the same. This IS the history of man.
For all you who make hate of homosexuals the issue, GET IN LINE!! Discrimination will always exist until virtue is resurrected in our county. As long as abortion is legal virtue will be silenced and replaced with man-made rules which always lead to darkness and death.
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written by Scotty Ellis, March 24, 2012
Austin:

"Scotty, youa re changing the terms of your argument. First you suggested that these groups "suppress the voice and concerns of homosexuals.""

Inasmuch as these groups seek explicitly to prevent homosexuals from having the protection of law, or inasmuch as they seek the establishment of legislation which prevents homosexuals from access to services that they wish to access, these groups do indeed suppress the concerns of homosexuals, and this is a form of targeted discrimination.

"Are we not allowed to make any legal distinctions between those who may marry and those who may adopt."

Distinctions are fine. I am not advocating that civil marriages be extended to arrangements between inanimate objects, for example. However, the Catholic opinion regarding sacramental marriage is not the only valid, coherent, and consistent definition or concept of marriage. I believe that a working definition of civil marriage as it applies today is a legal arrangement between two adults of majority founded upon a mutual commitment. There is no doubt that this differs substantially from sacramental marriage, but that is not the issue: the issue is that I see no reason why homosexuals should not be permitted to receive these same legal benefits. Similarly, I see no reason why homosexuals should not be allowed to adopt children, as I see no reason why a homosexual would be intrinsically unable to perform the duties of an adoptive parent. This is not to say that there are no distinctions: there are some obvious reasons why sex offenders, for example, particularly those who preyed upon minors, should not be allowed to adopt.

"Is this then persecution or is it discrimination?"

It is persecution inasmuch as you cannot produce an argument based on something outside of the content of your religious beliefs to justify why homosexuals should not be allowed to have civil marriages or adopt children. Every argument listed on this entire article for why homosexuality is wrong has proceeded from within the content of a specific religion's beliefs, which cannot be the grounds for legislation in a secular and pluralistic society.

Mike:

"Homosexual or heterosexual sex outside the sacrament of Holy Matrimony is always ALWAYS a serious offense against natural law, God's law."

This basically sums up the problem: your argument is based upon the acceptance of a particular faith's beliefs, and this cannot be expected to be the basis for legislation in a secular society. Even the Catholic interpretation of natural law is fundamentally a part of the its faith, because the natural law is man's participation in the divine law through his rationality; therefore, believing in this sort of natural law requires a belief in the divine law, which is a matter of faith.

"Austin, the assault on you and others from the "community" is only proof that the passion of lust and murder are the one in the same. This IS the history of man."

As I have said before, I decry any forms of threats, coercion, and violence, regardless of the source. Much healing could be done on both sides of this argument simply by admitting the mutual violence and wounds that has occurred over the long history of Catholicism's interaction with homosexuals. I lament the death threats and violence used against those who have chosen to speak their minds and beliefs in the immorality of homosexuality, but I also lament the threats, violence, and deaths that homosexuals have suffered at the hands of religious individuals for no other reason than their sexual orientation. This is the history of man: the passions of the religious, just like the passions of the irreligious, can be the source of lust and murder.
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written by Thomas Aquinas, March 24, 2012
Scotty, you should do yourself a favor and not simply accept the dogmas of the liberal magisterium so uncritically. Whether or not Native American tribes accepted homosexuality I cannot say (and I suspect, as with most romanticized liberal accounts of indigenous peoples, the truth is far more complicated and inconvenient to your purposes), but I do know that you don't discover the correctness of a moral point of view by counting the noses of what politically correct groups happen to believe. Native American tribes scalped their enemies, engaged in cannibalism, and were downright stupid when it came to the environment. Are these worth emulating?

The question you have to answer is why anyone should think that sodomy is morally equivalent to what appears to many of us as the end to which our sexual organs are ordered. If you say they are equivalent, then you have literally no grounds to say that there is such a thing as common children, offspring who can be attributed to certain parents in the absence of a government agency. For to do so would mean that conjugal sex is in fact the proper end of our sexual powers, implying that sodomical acts are at least sub-par.

There are many other big and important questions that your view has to answer for. Trotting out a list of historical victims--setting aside the question of whether your account is itself a distorted narrative--does not establish your case. But it what it does do is show the rest of us that you are an unserious man. Instead of confronting the arguments offered to you, you tell us how awful your adversaries are. That's not an argument; that's an evasion, and of the worst sort. Instead of treating your interlocutor with respect, you try to bully him into silence. In effect, you are saying, "Continue saying these things and you will identify yourself as a mean, hateful, despicable human being unworthy of interaction in public discourse."

If you want dialogue, then, by all means, do it. But if you want to be a passive aggressive rhetorical bully, then should go elsewhere.
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written by Mike, March 24, 2012
Scotty,
If the use of sex organs is not a perfect example of natural law and therefore God's law, then you are denying even the law of gravity. Man was given to know this basic law even before the you were born, Scotty. And by the way, even before the hated Catholic Church existed. Ones decision to believe in God does not change the fact that He exists. Look around man, see the flowers and trees perfectly doing His will! Check out the oceans and the stars doing HIS will....perfectly! Then only real conflict on Earth is the man will vs God's will. But for those who choose to deny His will, for those who choose to do their own will...He answers naturally by doing that which He has done (and this is historical Scotty) since the beginning of time. He will use His will against their will.
One more point. When Jesus was visibly walking on Earth (by the way, thousands of witnesses to his life, death and resurrection) He defined Holy Matrimony as a man and woman will become one flesh. Question? How does a man and a man or woman and woman become one flesh with love so deep that they create new life? The simple fact is they can not. Thus, Holy matrimony or for you secularist marriage is not possible for same sex individuals. Just as flying is not walking Homosexual union is not marriage.
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written by Scotty Ellis, March 24, 2012
Thomas Aquinas:

"Scotty, you should do yourself a favor and not simply accept the dogmas of the liberal magisterium so uncritically."

I try not to accept the dogmas of any magisterium uncritically.

"Native American tribes scalped their enemies, engaged in cannibalism, and were downright stupid when it came to the environment. Are these worth emulating?"

My argument was not that Native Americans did not do deplorable things (although it is to be noted that homosexuality really was an accepted part of indigenous cultures, to the point that the Catholic Spanish burned Indians in order to stamp out this part of their culture). It was simply to call into question the notion that homosexuality is not "natural." If by "natural" you mean something descriptive of what has actually been considered normal, then the question is quite complicated. If by "natural" you mean Catholicism's interpretation of the content of natural law, then you have something that is only as persuasive as one's previous commitment to the Catholic faith.

"The question you have to answer is why anyone should think that sodomy is morally equivalent to what appears to many of us as the end to which our sexual organs are ordered."

First, it necessary to point out that teleology is always a mental construct: that is to say, delineating a specific and exclusive purpose to some structure is always an act of interpretation. Purpose is thus fluid, and a study of material human culture reveals quite readily the mind's capacity to discover new or alternate purposes to structures (not to mention that evolution often proceeds by previously existing structures taking on new importance and purposes). With this in mind, one can easily accept that the reproductive organs have a procreative purpose without limiting them to that purpose; alternative uses (such as pleasure) are not intrinsically immoral without the previous assumption that the organ has only one licit purpose, which seems unjustified without appeal to articles of revelation.

The second sentence of this paragraph does not have any discernible logic. Someone can quite consistently admit multiple purposes for the sexual organs and still maintain an understanding of offspring's link to parents as an extra-legal and purely biological or relational-social matter.

"Trotting out a list of historical victims--setting aside the question of whether your account is itself a distorted narrative--does not establish your case."

It establishes simply that homosexuals have been the targets of persecution for their homosexuality. I agree that it makes no progress in determining the morality of homosexuality, which is not really my main concern.

"But it what it does do is show the rest of us that you are an unserious man. Instead of confronting the arguments offered to you, you tell us how awful your adversaries are."

I have no "adversaries" here, only interlocutors, none of whom I have accused of anything particularly awful. I have only noted that there is a history of violence and coercions used by members of both sides of this debate, and that I support any law or resolution meant to protect members of either persuasion from persecution on the grounds of their beliefs and sexual orientations. I also am unaware of any argument that I have not responded to, and would be happy for you to point them out.

"Instead of treating your interlocutor with respect, you try to bully him into silence."

Nothing of the sort. I have simply pointed out that I believe that it is dangerous to oppose the establishment of laws protecting individuals from harm, censure, or denial of services and goods based upon sexual orientation, and furthermore that support of these laws need not be an endorsement of either the morality or immorality of homosexuality. Law need not reflect one's interpretation or belief of ultimate morality; rather, it needs to protect the peace and foster an environment in which individuals are free to pursue their understanding of the good life.

"If you want dialogue, then, by all means, do it. But if you want to be a passive aggressive rhetorical bully, then should go elsewhere."

I do not believe anything I have said constitutes rhetorical bullying. In any case, as I noted above, if you believe I have not responded adequately to a particular objection I would be happy for you to point this out.
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written by Thomas Aquinas, March 24, 2012
Scotty seems to believe that if he can label a belief "religious," then he can sequester it to the realm of the irrational. That, of course, is stipulation and not argument.

The idea that beliefs that arise from religious traditions are by their nature outside the realm of public discourse is itself a belief, one for which Scotty has offered no grounds. Why can't we simply reject it as Scotty's private belief and pay it no mind? If the individual--man, if you will--is the measure, then it's not clear on what grounds Scotty can reject his opponent's stipulation. He, of course, believes his view is the default position, one that we should assume is correct while all comers have the burden. But who made up that rule, and why should anyone think it correct? He doesn't tell us.

Take, for example, his claim that marriage is somehow a sectarian institution having no standing outside of a dogmatic tradition. That, of course, is a position one would hold if one believed that all such things may only arise from special revelation, a position that one may find among someone who belongs to the Reformed Students Fellowship and has drunk heavily of that Protestant brew.

The apple, as they say, does not fall from the tree. You can take the boy out of Calvinism, but you can't take Calvinism out of the boy.
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written by Austin Ruse, March 24, 2012
Scotty, like all good anonymous trolls, you have made this thread your own thought not what the column is about. I suspect your have really not tried to discover arguements against homosexual marriage. If you really want to read some. Go to the Public Discourse and do a site search on Robert George. You will find half a dozen essays on the subject. I suspect not a single one mentions religion.

By the way, where do you get the idea that public laws cannot be motivated by eligious belief?

And while you are at it please provide your arguments against marriage among multiple partners.
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written by Scotty Ellis, March 24, 2012
Mike:

"If the use of sex organs is not a perfect example of natural law and therefore God's law, then you are denying even the law of gravity."

It depends greatly on what you mean by natural law. I suspect you mean by natural law man's participation in the divine law vis a vis his rationality. This is a religious concept, and whatever its currency among Catholics and certain other Christians it is not particularly convincing to those who do not believe in a divine law. One can test the law of gravity, and can observe its effects. The notion that the sexual organs have a morally binding (and exclusive) purpose is not subject to such a test.

As I have mentioned before, I do not contend that reproduction is not a purpose of sexual organs; I have merely noted that it is not logical to assume that it is the only purpose or the only moral purpose without several further assumptions.

"Look around man, see the flowers and trees perfectly doing His will! Check out the oceans and the stars doing HIS will....perfectly!"

I suppose it is God's will that Malaria kill children? Or that people get consumed by wild beasts?

"How does a man and a man or woman and woman become one flesh with love so deep that they create new life? The simple fact is they can not. Thus, Holy matrimony or for you secularist marriage is not possible for same sex individuals."

I agree with you regarding sacramental marriage, which Jesus did define. I disagree with you regarding civil marriage, which is not defined by Christ: it is defined by the state, and procreation is not a necessary requirement or possibility for civil marriage; thus a homosexual couple could indeed participate in civil marriage.

Thomas Aquinas:

"Scotty seems to believe that if he can label a belief "religious," then he can sequester it to the realm of the irrational."

That is not what I said at all. I said that purely religious beliefs cannot be the basis for legislation in a secular, pluralistic society.

"The idea that beliefs that arise from religious traditions are by their nature outside the realm of public discourse is itself a belief, one for which Scotty has offered no grounds."

It is true that secular liberalism is itself a belief system; however, it is a belief system that refrains from making judgments on the ultimate purpose of life and the nature or existence of higher goods. Instead, it seeks nothing more than the establishment of earthly peace among citizens who differ with each other in their opinions of the highest things, instead focusing on managing, protecting, and equitably distributing those goods which are necessary for everyone regardless of their view of the highest goods. This is the rationale for liberal secularism, and it requires no references to higher beliefs: its justification lies simply in the fact that no matter what you believe, you require certain goods to live and may want access to other goods depending on your view of the good life. This is demonstrable from observation.

"He, of course, believes his view is the default position,"

Not at all. In fact, history shows us that the "default," if there is any, is for governments to patronize a particular view of the higher good, usually giving preference to one religion or belief and often persecuting dissent. Liberal democracy is a quite recent development.

"Take, for example, his claim that marriage is somehow a sectarian institution having no standing outside of a dogmatic tradition. That, of course, is a position one would hold if one believed that all such things may only arise from special revelation, a position that one may find among someone who belongs to the Reformed Students Fellowship and has drunk heavily of that Protestant brew."

There is no doubt that the majority of cultures have viewed marriage as religious while simultaneously civil (an excellent treatment of this can be found in Giambattista Vico's work The New Science). That is not in dispute. Nevertheless, civil, secular marriage in a liberal democracy is explicitly not a religious construct: it has been explicitly made civil and legal. That is what I am referring to.

Austin:

"Scotty, like all good anonymous trolls, you have made this thread your own thought not what the column is about."

I am not anonymous, first of all. Second, I always thought that comments were meant to be the commentator's thoughts on the subject of comment; I have simply been discussing my belief, contrary to this article, that sexual preference and identity should be included in any anti-discrimination resolution, legislation, or statement.

"I suspect your have really not tried to discover arguements against homosexual marriage"

On the contrary, I am familiar with many. The best nearly universally invoke natural law, but inasmuch as natural law is a concept of faith requiring a rather specific conception of God and man's rationality, I do not believe that any of the arguments have much hope in a secular society. The ones that do not mention natural law have the unfortunate quality of either being consequentialist in nature and/or producing spurious research regarding homosexuals.

"By the way, where do you get the idea that public laws cannot be motivated by eligious belief?"

This is the case specifically in a secular liberal democracy. There are, of course, countless constitutions in which religious beliefs provide the foundation for public law. But a secular liberal democracy rejects such beliefs as a basis of law because the exclusive truth of their claims cannot be justified from empirical grounds.

"And while you are at it please provide your arguments against marriage among multiple partners."

I have no argument against this from a purely civil or secular point of view. If it were the common custom of a people to have multiple marriages, so too would follow the law. This has been the case historically in many cultures and likely continues to be the case in cultures today. There are good religious arguments against such marriages, but I would only use such arguments when dealing specifically with others who share my faith and would hardly expect others to abide by them.
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written by Austin Ruse, March 25, 2012
Scotty, Again, where do you get the idea that public policy cannot be founded on religious belief. You are not making arguments. You are simply making assertions.

In your assertions about marriage above you say it is between two committed people etc etc etc. Exactly where do you get this idea of two?

The fact that marriage is for creating and raising children. Is that a natural law argument or a religious argument?

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written by Achilles, March 25, 2012
Dear Scotty Ellis,
You fine writing skills have been outstripped by the lunacy of what you express. Though I am no mental giant, I do have a degree in history, and contrary to you, I am aware that my degree has served more to hamper my intellectual growth than to enhance because I put my trust in the University of California system instead of in Truth. Since recovering from that delusion, I have spent many years studying history. Your asinine statement about the prevalence, acceptance and promotions of homosexual acts in 50 % of known cultures us unconscionably irresponsible. Just to mention the Greeks as if they promoted it wholesale is to ignore much of what is easily know about them and the issue of homosexuality. I can only assume that your sources come from the LBGTQQ headquarters and here on The Catholic Thing, that source holds no weight. You are a cultural relativist and a moral relativist, Our Holy Father speaks against this “dictatorship of relativism” in eloquent and convincing terms. I don’t think anyone here can take your arguments seriously. (except maybe for Tom)

You have made the most dangerous of separations, the separation between public and private morality. Between form and content, between the word and its meaning and by extension, between the body and soul. You have “married the spirit of the times and you will soon be a widower.”

Thomas Aquinas is a much better spokesman than I am, but you can’t hear him either. Please let me share with you some things C.S. Lewis said about you in The Abolition of Man. In the chapter The Way he is discussing the universal moral law that the vast majority of civilizations share and Scotty, nothing is in it about homosexual acts being moral.

He says to recognize the natural law one must inside the law to see advances in an understanding of the law but that:

“The outsider knows nothing about the matter. His attempts at alteration, as we have seen, contradict themselves. So far from being able to harmonize discrepancies in its letter by penetration to its spirit, he merely snatches at some one precept, on which the accidents of time and place happen to have riveted his attention, and then rides it to death—for no reason that he can give.”

Scotty, you clearly do not operate from within the law and C.S. Lewis goes on to explain more:

“ From within the Tao itself comes the only authority to modify the Tao. This is what Confucius meant when he said 'With those who follow a different Way it is useless to take counsel'.5 This is why Aristotle said that only those who have been well brought up can usefully study ethics: to the corrupted man, the man who stands outside the Tao, the very starting point of this science is invisible.6 He may be hostile, but he cannot be critical: he does not know what is being discussed. This is why it was also said 'This people that knoweth not the Law is accursed'7”

You are hostile but incapable of being critical. But here we come to perhaps the most important point where your posts here are concerned. You encourage in the most unhealthy way that others have an “open Mind”, well here is what C.S. Lewis says about an open mind, these are words of wisdom to be heeded by us all.

“An open mind, in questions that are not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about the ultimate foundations either of Theoretical or of Practical Reason is idiocy. If a man's mind is open on these things, let his mouth at least be shut.”

Scotty, even C.S. Lewis would suggest that you be silent and reorient your mind and soul to the Truth. After this last point I will cease to use C.S. Lewis on this post, but I highly suggest that you read, with understanding, all the C.S. Lewis writes in Abolition of Man. It would edify you greatly if you were able to understand.

He speaks truthfully to you as you try to speak to the issue of homosexual rights:

“ He can say nothing to the purpose. Outside the Tao there is no ground for criticizing either the Tao or anything else. In particular instances it may, no doubt, be a matter of some delicacy to decide where the legitimate internal criticism ends and the fatal external kind begins. But wherever any precept of traditional morality is simply challenged to produce its credentials, as though the burden of proof lay on it, we have taken the wrong position.”


You have taken the wrong position Scotty. No Catholic would ever say that homosexuals don’t have the same rights as any other citizen, but homosexuals also have the same responsibility to civilization as any other citizen and in this particular case that involves in calling homosexuality what it is, a sexual perversion whose actions and agenda lead to the destruction of civilized society and a furthering of the culture of death. These facts are indisputable from inside the tao.
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written by Scotty Ellis, March 25, 2012
Austin:

"Scotty, Again, where do you get the idea that public policy cannot be founded on religious belief. You are not making arguments. You are simply making assertions."

I am saying that public policy in a secular liberal democracy cannot be founded on religious belief precisely because a secular liberal democracy refrains from making judgments about the highest good; it is simply a matter of definition. This does not apply to governments other than secular liberal democracy. As to the reason why liberal democracy does not permit religious belief to be the basis of public policy, we must simply turn to the fact that such a democracy is founded on each citizen's right to pursue his own private view of the good (or a view of the good he shares with a particular subset of citizens). Citizens cannot be condemned for their view of the good life in itself nor compelled to adhere to some particular account of the good, because such compulsion or persecution runs contrary to the commitment to each citizen's right to pursue his own private view of the good. These rights form the basis and limits of freedom under such a constitution; I am prohibited from taking actions which will interfere with other citizen's right to pursue their view of the good. The government thus regulates precisely those goods that are common to all men, regardless of their view of the higher good or good life: the primary goods. So, you see, it is simply a matter of liberal democracy's commitment to rights that forms the basis of its rejection of religious beliefs as the basis for public policy.

"In your assertions about marriage above you say it is between two committed people etc etc etc. Exactly where do you get this idea of two?"

This is a matter of custom in the west, especially owing to its legacy of the Roman legal tradition and Christian morality, among other factors. Custom precedes law, and if the customs of our nation were substantially different or changed, so too would civil marriage.

"The fact that marriage is for creating and raising children. Is that a natural law argument or a religious argument?"

Well, your statement already defines marriage as being "for creating and raising children." This is a fine definition, but is not the only possible definition: marriage could also be defined as for companionship and mutual aid between spouses; or it could be simply defined, in the case of civil marriage, as a certain form of legal arrangements. In other words, it is a matter of how marriage is defined. I am not making judgments about which definition is "better," but simply noting that there are differing opinions on the matter. You have defined it in a way harmonious with the Catholic natural law tradition, which is ultimately a religious argument, since the natural law is defined as man's participation in the divine law through his rationality.
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written by Austin Ruse, March 25, 2012
Scotty, you said you had never heard ANY arguments for traditional marriage except those from religion and natural law, which to you is the same thing. I ask you; is "marriage is for begetting and raising children" an argument from religion or natural law?

You say that religion cannot effect public policy in a liberal secular democracy. You say that it is not possible to be religiously motivated in the development of public policy? So, all those Christians and Jews and even Muslims --- left, right and center --- who have entered politics in any way over the past few hundred years were doing precisely what? You know for a fact that their religious beliefs had nothing to do with what they did and do in public policy? Really?
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written by Scotty Ellis, March 25, 2012
"Though I am no mental giant, I do have a degree in history, and contrary to you, I am aware that my degree has served more to hamper my intellectual growth than to enhance because I put my trust in the University of California system instead of in Truth."

I am happy to hear that you have such a direct line to the Truth; I have not reached this level of enlightenment, being more interested in the complexities and ambiguities of history.

"Your asinine statement about the prevalence, acceptance and promotions of homosexual acts in 50 % of known cultures us unconscionably irresponsible."

My source for this statement is a work from Oxford University Press called Adolescence and Puberty. It is quite possible that this number is imprecise, given the difficulties of ethnographic studies, but even if it was off by a wide margin it would still indicate that there is no universal human consensus about the morality or immorality of homosexuality.

"I can only assume that your sources come from the LBGTQQ headquarters and here on The Catholic Thing, that source holds no weight."

Again, Oxford University Press.

"You are a cultural relativist and a moral relativist, Our Holy Father speaks against this “dictatorship of relativism” in eloquent and convincing terms. I don’t think anyone here can take your arguments seriously. (except maybe for Tom)."

I am sorry you are unable to engage in a charitable and critical dialogue with people of other beliefs; St. Thomas Aquinas took his interlocutors quite seriously, for example, even while maintaining a solid ground within Catholic orthodoxy. He never simply dismissed the ideas of others, but rather would issue a subtle respondeo dicendum which incorporated the thoughts of objectors.

"You have made the most dangerous of separations, the separation between public and private morality."

I am not unaware of the potential dangers of this separation, but I believe that it is far less dangerous than the alternative, which is the legislation of a public morality with an exclusive vision of the good life and the highest good.

"In the chapter The Way he is discussing the universal moral law that the vast majority of civilizations share and Scotty, nothing is in it about homosexual acts being moral."

I completely agree that there is no universal moral law that homosexual acts are moral. The problem is that Lewis, like many writers of his ilk, somewhat unreflectively assumes that the cultural standards within the Abrahamic tradition are universal; to some degree, this is not something he should be blamed for, as it has been the standard of thought in the West for centuries. Indeed, the encounter of the West with truly alien cultures, such as the culture of the native Americans, has much to say about European self-image, including his label, "savage," that he applied to those with vastly different customs, morals, and ways of life.

"You are hostile but incapable of being critical."

I do not believe I am being hostile, and ironically I am nearly the only commenter who has put forward a critical view of the article. I weigh each of your arguments carefully and charitably. I do not believe I have the answer to this question, nor is there any particular dogma which I believe it necessary to uphold. My stance is simply that I do not believe it to be wise to oppose legislation protecting individuals from discrimination based upon their sexual identities or preferences.

However, I would like to note that your quote from Lewis actually serves to highlight the difficulty of the entire situation: your argument has no bite except amongst those who have already accepted a specific interpretation of what it means to be a Catholic, and unfortunately you are unable to provide any persuasive arguments for those outside of this fold. I believe that I have put forward an argument that should have bite for anyone, which is simply that, regardless of your beliefs about the morality or immorality of homosexuality, recognizing that your position with a homosexual could theoretically be switched - and that, given a hypothetical set of circumstances in which heterosexuals were targeted with threats, violence, or legislative prohibitions based upon their sexual orientation, you would view such acts as immoral and would be in favor of a resolution stopping them - you would be willing to extend the protection of the law to a group with whom you disagree simply for the sake of consistency and self protection.

As a side note, not all beliefs are subject to the difficulty which Lewis notes. Beliefs based upon observation and evidence are more easily justifiable.

"Scotty, even C.S. Lewis would suggest that you be silent and reorient your mind and soul to the Truth."

I am constantly seeking truth. I am skeptical, however, of groups which claim to already know the Truth, and know it absolutely; the Catholic Church is not alone in making the claim that it knows the complete Truth, nor are its claims entirely original. In other words, I am faced with a wide variety of groups claiming to know the Truth: how am I to judge between their claims? The majority of Christian thinkers, even eloquent and quite insightful ones such as Lewis and Chesterton, have yet to digest the implications of the pluralism of religious claims. Why is one a Catholic? Is it really reducible to accidents of time and space? Had you been born to a Muslim family, would you at this very moment be as zealous- or even more zealous - in your defense of the absolute truth of the revelations to Mohammed? And, knowing this, have you come up with a larger justification for being Catholic rather than Muslim, one that does not already assume the truth of the Catholic faith for its rationale? Please note that I am not trying to mock: I really would be interested in such a justification, if you have one.

"After this last point I will cease to use C.S. Lewis on this post, but I highly suggest that you read, with understanding, all the C.S. Lewis writes in Abolition of Man. It would edify you greatly if you were able to understand."

I have read much of Lewis: Mere Christianity, Miracles, The Great Divorce, and A Grief Observed, but I have yet to read Abolition of Man. I am currently reading Gibbons, but believe me that when I am done I will read the Abolition of Man.

"You have taken the wrong position Scotty."

No matter what position I take, there will be someone out there who will say this. For this reason, I need more than what you have written: I need some form of justification.

"These facts are indisputable from inside the tao."

I believe that this statement probably sums up the entire reason why I am skeptical of what you have said. Taken at face value, you are basically creating a tautology, a neat circle of self-referring logic: when you believe a system to be absolutely true (that is, when you are inside the tao), you find the system to be (unsurprisingly) absolutely true. The problem is that there are multiple taos, and from within each it is possible to become absolutely sure of the truth of one's own belief and condemning of all outside the tao (even atheists and agnostics do this: one of the greatest failures of modern atheism is its absolute lack of self irony, as it fails to recognize itself as a system with the same flaws that it criticizes in others).

By the way, for purposes of self-disclosure, I am a Roman Catholic. I go to Mass. I even teach an adult education class. The main difference between myself and many conservative Catholics is that I do not believe myself to be in possession of an ultimate truth: I believe myself to be fallible, and thus any conclusion I reach is potentially fallible and subject to correction. I also am of the sort to chuckle slightly at a man saying "I am infallible, and this statement proves it."
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written by Scotty Ellis, March 25, 2012
Austin:

"Scotty, you said you had never heard ANY arguments for traditional marriage except those from religion and natural law, which to you is the same thing. I ask you; is "marriage is for begetting and raising children" an argument from religion or natural law?"

Both; that particular argument is a Catholic natural law argument. You should be careful with your terms, however: "traditional marriage" is quite vague. Which tradition? There are traditions of marriage which accept polygamy, for example, and not all monogamous definitions of marriage held historically are identical to the specific Catholic definition of "sacramental marriage" (although they are quite similar to "natural marriage"). I suspect you mean the tradition within Abrahamic religions (which is still a broad tradition).

"You say that religion cannot effect public policy in a liberal secular democracy. You say that it is not possible to be religiously motivated in the development of public policy? So, all those Christians and Jews and even Muslims --- left, right and center --- who have entered politics in any way over the past few hundred years were doing precisely what?"

I was speaking prescriptively, not descriptively. In retrospect, I should have used "should" or "ought" to make this clear, but as I was speaking of a completely abstract entity (the "secular liberal democracy" is admittedly something not perfectly instantiated) I did not foresee that someone would interpret what I said to be descriptive. Of course peoples beliefs, religious and otherwise, have been the impetus behind their political actions. This is, however, assumed within a liberal democracy: there is no reason a person cannot be motivated towards the enactment of public policy due to a religious belief, even explicitly (in fact, it is probably much rarer that this would not be the case). What I said specifically is that such beliefs themselves cannot (or, more precisely, ought not) be the basis.

For example, to use the current subject: someone might be motivated by a certain sort of religious belief to propose or support legislation to prevent homosexuals from adopting. However, it would not be acceptable for them to argue in a liberal secular society, "my faith teaches me that these individuals are sinning and/or are not adequate parents; ergo, we should enact this legislation." Although their motive might be religious, they should present their case in such a way that it appeals, not to the specifics of their own faith, but to a broader, more empirically justifiable grounds.

Now, in a nation in which the majority share some common faith, practically speaking this will not always be the case (and U.S. politics today make this very clear). Because the political system simply looks to majority votes, a politician whose religious views happen to coincide with the majority of voters is in a position to practically use this to his advantage, and will likely couch his arguments to appeal directly to the religious basis instead of a broader approach. I happen to believe that this sort of action, though certainly to be expected, fundamentally undermines the advantages of a liberal democracy (and if you disagree with this, just imagine: how would you feel living in a democracy filled predominantly with individuals of a religion which you believe to be erroneous, in which the vast majority of legislation is passed simply due to its harmony with the prevailing religion: certainly, I would imagine you would wish that voters would look at broader arguments, and that politicians would move to more universally applicable terms rather than using religion to secure legislation which might go so far as to discriminate against you).
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written by Achilles, March 26, 2012
Dear Scotty, I am sorry to be uncharitable, I am young in the faith and coming from very bad places. This is no excuse. I assure you I take you seriously or I wouldn’t have tried so many times to talk to you. I am charitable in my heart towards you but not your ideas that come from outside the tao. I am intolerant of moral and cultural relativist ideas because they are lies. The direct line of Truth is Jesus Christ. I am not open to beliefs outside of the truth and really, can you show me someone who is? Our dispute is about the source of truth. I am not my own source and when I was, I was in grave error as is everyone else who is their own source of truth.

By all means, read Thomas Aquinas’ subtle responses and read them as many times as you must until you are able to abandon “open mindedness” about ultimate things.
No one here advocates violence against homosexuals. No one here advocates coercing the will of anyone to do or not do anything. Like the heroic addict, we say it is gravely immoral to abuse drugs because it is damaging to the drug user. The same with homosexual acts. We never propose to force a will, we just call what is wrong, wrong, and in the end this is charitable to one with same sex attraction. Where you might say “do it if it works for you.” You would encourage homosexuals to do what will shorten their natural life and put their eternal life at risk.

Scotty, I was born into an atheist skeptical family that was very anti-Catholic and I was never a defender of their view. I searched and sought and the Catholics have it right. This is no accident of time and space and no I would not have been a zealous Muslim.

Scotty, I have never met a Catholic who said he was infallible. Me personally, my life is a testament to my own fallibility and error. If I were as scientific as you I would recognize that statistically it would be impossible for me to even recognize the truth. But such is the grace of God with a wretched heart, I can see the truth and I am not that truth. It sounds awful to me that you teach RCIA, my RCIA teachers were like you and it was not very edifying. I had to go to the Church Doctors.

Biting arguments are not my concern, truth is. Your mindset is of calculation and I strive for principle regardless of outcome. Your choice is whether or not you want to join the fold. God bless you Scotty.
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written by BPS, March 26, 2012
Austin mentioned, in regard to Scotty's comments that similar arguments can be made for polygamous marriage. But that's not all...how about marriage or sex with what we now consider minors? Are not our current ideas about the age of consent just as arbitrary and religiously influenced as our ideas about homosexual marriage? Are there not civilizations far and wide which accepted a much, much lower age of consent about things sexual, than ours? Should we not give up our ageophobia? And wasn't there a famous homosexual organization which advocated destruction of age of consent laws? And isn't homosexual porn loaded with images/stories of sex (real or simulated) with what we now consider minors?
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written by Scotty Ellis, March 26, 2012
Achilles:

"I am charitable in my heart towards you but not your ideas that come from outside the tao."

Why your tao? That is the heart of the matter. If you truly believe that your beliefs are so closed from outside access - and from outside criticism - then by what standard can you possibly judge the superiority of your beliefs compared to other systems? The Muslim is as assured of his connection to truth as you are. Very well. How is an outsider to judge between the two?

"Our dispute is about the source of truth"

Indeed, although we likely agree that we can discover things through the senses and experience; that is a shared, common starting point.

"By all means, read Thomas Aquinas’ subtle responses and read them as many times as you must until you are able to abandon “open mindedness” about ultimate things. "

Ironically, I must be open-minded to do this; you are basically asking me to be open-minded only for as long as I disagree with you. Once I agree with you, you would ask me to be closed-minded. I tell even people who share my beliefs to be open-minded; if what you believe is really the truth, it should stand up to any inquiry and any scrutiny, and you should never be afraid to investigate charitably every objection and opposing system there is. It has been my experience that closed-mindedness is born of two things: the pride of believing oneself to have all the answers, or the fear that one might be wrong. I am not saying that you fall into either of these categories: I am saying that many who share your assertions do.

"Where you might say “do it if it works for you.”"

That is not what I say. I say to homosexuals, even if I disagree with you - even if I believe that what you are doing is a sin - you deserve the protection of law against targeted discrimination and persecution.

"You would encourage homosexuals to do what will shorten their natural life and put their eternal life at risk. "

I do not encourage anyone to be a homosexual. I also do not believe that being homosexual determines your eternal fate. God is a bit more subtle than that, seeing that He created a universe in which people would be born with homosexual desires.

"I searched and sought and the Catholics have it right."

Again, why?

"Scotty, I have never met a Catholic who said he was infallible."

You seem to; you seem to believe that you cannot be in error about the truth of the Catholic faith. Additionally, under certain circumstances, the Pope claims to be infallible (this is actually what I was poking fun at earlier; if a man on the street walked up to you and said, "This statement is infallible, and the next statement I make is infallible, too," you would likely be skeptical.

"Biting arguments are not my concern, truth is. Your mindset is of calculation and I strive for principle regardless of outcome. Your choice is whether or not you want to join the fold."

Truth is not a matter of choice. If I choose to "join your fold" (whatever that means, since I am already a Catholic), it would have no effect whatsoever on the truth or falsity of the Catholic faith.
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written by Austin Ruse, March 26, 2012
Actually, Scotty, that marriage is for begetting and raising children is an argument from science and from social science.
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written by Austin Ruse, March 26, 2012
And, Scotty, you are very clearly wrong about what can and cannot happen in a liberal secular society. It happens all the time, has happened from the beginning and will continue to happen that way. Sorry you do not like it. But, it is what it is...
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written by Achilles, March 26, 2012
Scotty, I didn’t mean to say “heroic” I meant to say heroin. There are no heroic drug addicts unless you watch that show Intervention or go to a public school, then everyone is heroic.

I don’t know any conservative Catholics who claim to be in possession of the truth. Christ was the way the truth and the life. Holy Mother Church is in possession of the Truth because she is the bride of Christ and Christ is the head. If you don’t know that, really Scotty, you shouldn’t have anything to do with adult education because you are disqualified by the lack of assent of your will. That would be like me giving tolerance classes for the LGBTQ union. You must not allow yourself to poison the minds of those who would seek to give the assent of their wills to the very precepts that you refuse to assent to.

I hope you do read Abolition of Man soon, but if you read all those other wonderful C.S. Lewis books and you refer to him and his “ilk” it is likely you will get nothing positive from him. I do however wish you luck in your search for self and I hope by God’s grace that search turns into the search for Truth.
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written by Jennifer Roback Morse, March 26, 2012
Austin, did your opponents actually deny that they use the tactics you described? We at the Ruth Institute have been taking note of these typical Leftist tactics at work: smear your opponent, rather than respond to his actual arguments. Your opponents did not deny that they and their friends use the tactics Austin described at the UN. Instead, they changed the subject to Austin's character. This is typical, and please note: It is not an actual argument for anything. it is not even an actual claim. We are supposed to forget about the issues at hand: namely the underhanded strategies of repeating a lie till it gets accepted, and surreptitiously inserting novel definitions and terms into UN documents. Instead, the issue is whether or not Austin Ruse is really a big meanie!
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written by Brian A. Cook, March 27, 2012
Where are the sustained Christian condemnations of violence against homosexual persons? There are an awful lot of Christians that actively promote that--look at Uganda. Are you saying the EVERYTHING that liberals say is a lie?

Scotty, I want to thank you for starting a serious discussion to pierce the echo-chamber. I wish to join you in saying that homosexual persons are routinely put in a "sodomite" box in order to do away with them. The real-world effect of anti-sodomy laws is exactly that.
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written by Tony Esolen, March 27, 2012
Since there is no such thing as an individual who is an island unto himself, there is no such thing as a strictly private good; rather, since man is by nature a social creature, it is nonsense to discuss the good of a man as separate from the good of his fellow men, in which good he shares, and not simply as a partaker of something divisible, but as a fellow-enjoyer of something indivisible.

That right there is the dagger to the heart of the liberal vision of man. The liberal vision is either Christian, in its upholding of the incomparable dignity of each human individual both in himself and in his ineradicable relationship to all other human beings, or it is a no-vision, a licentious or libertarian a-pathy. To rule religion out of the public square is ultimately to decide that there shall be no such thing as a society properly speaking; it is to rule in favor of atomistic individualism.

The people who profit from atomistic individualism? Those who would grant a beggarly "freedom" to masses of people, while stealing from them their true arenas of liberty and political action. The deal goes like this: you grant sexual license, and then assume control over all aspects of the chaos that inevitably ensues. You make common cause with family-destroying vices, precisely to remove from your way all those mediating institutions (churches, strong families, communities with their own traditions), so that you can dictate what shall be taught, what shall be read, what shall be allowed on the streets, what shall be bought, and so forth.
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written by Scotty Ellis, March 27, 2012
Tony:

"Since there is no such thing as an individual who is an island unto himself, there is no such thing as a strictly private good; rather, since man is by nature a social creature, it is nonsense to discuss the good of a man as separate from the good of his fellow men, in which good he shares, and not simply as a partaker of something divisible, but as a fellow-enjoyer of something indivisible."

I agree to some extent. However, there are primary goods - that is, those goods which must be had be everyone regardless of their interpretation of the highest good - secondary communal goods - that is, those goods that can only be had by participation and sharing amongst a community - and there are interpretations of the highest good. I would prefer that government refrain from regulating or legislating on the former matter and instead focus on the most common, universal goods - the primary good. This is a more charitable interpretation of "private" versus "public" goods; by "public" goods I would mean merely primary goods, while I would reserve "private goods" as a descriptor of the other two categories. I do not mean by this that they are private in the sense of belonging only to individuals (clearly, communal goods are not that sort of thing), but rather that they are goods which remain beyond the intrinsic jurisdiction of the state, only accidentally subject to it insofar as the practice or pursuit of those goods interferes with other citizens' abilities to practice or pursue their visions of the good.

This somewhat more charitable interpretation of the liberal secular democracy retains an affirmation of the idea that there are goods which man enjoys in community (and can only enjoy in community) while protecting those who do not agree with one particular individual or community's vision of the highest good from public harm.

"The people who profit from atomistic individualism? Those who would grant a beggarly "freedom" to masses of people, while stealing from them their true arenas of liberty and political action. The deal goes like this: you grant sexual license, and then assume control over all aspects of the chaos that inevitably ensues. You make common cause with family-destroying vices, precisely to remove from your way all those mediating institutions (churches, strong families, communities with their own traditions), so that you can dictate what shall be taught, what shall be read, what shall be allowed on the streets, what shall be bought, and so forth."

You are no doubt right that individuals can manipulate a liberal secular democracy in the way you describe (and no doubt that they do), but this is not intrinsic to liberal democracy: the same sorts of abuses occur within governments that enforce a particular vision of the highest good: the worship spaces of dissenting factions are taxed, fined, locked up, or even destroyed; those who do not profess the faith or who practice others are subject to various more or less harsh penalties; these abusers of a religious state proscribe books, require absolute adherence to the state's philosophy, censure dissenting opinions, and decide what shall be taught, what shall be read, what shall be allowed on the streets, what shall be bought, and so forth.
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written by Brian A. Cook, March 27, 2012
Anthony, how do you explain the socially conservative policies, laws, and party lines of Nazi Germany? Furthermore, I have never seen a single serious liberal advocating controlling people in the manner you describe. Liberals actually do want people to be free instead of being controlled by corporations or theocratic or dictators.
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written by Mark H, March 28, 2012
Just one little point but to me it is big. We should stop using the term 'traditional' marriage. It suggests that their are other forms. Marriage is marriage. By using 'traditional' we are subjecting ourselves to their game plan.
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written by Brian A. Cook, March 29, 2012
Scotty, keep up the good work in raising those questions. That is surely the best way to advance towards the truth little by little.
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written by Scotty Ellis, March 31, 2012
Brian:

I appreciate the encouragement. I have many questions, but I also believe that Austin is right that his opponents are using smear tactics. Typically, when you challenge someone's beliefs, you tend to bring out the worst in them; for example, calling someone a name, or threatening them. Some homosexuals do this, and it is a shame.

Unfortunately, what is often forgotten is that the ball goes the other way as well, and that Christians - even conservative Catholics - will resort to the same sorts of tactics: especially censure. I have noted that this site has not published a good number of my comments recently, all of which were written in good faith, none of which resorts to ad hominem, and all of which deal respectfully with the contents of the articles and the thoughts of other comments.

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