A responses to the Catholic Bishops of Australia,
from members of the Vegan Atheist forum,
to all those concerned,
regarding the ‘Same-sex Marriage’ Debate.
This letter is a response to "Don’t Mess With Marriage" all those unfamiliar with the letter can find a digital copy here. (http://www.sydneycatholic.org/pdf/DMM-booklet_web.pdf
Many people from around the world, especially america, may wonder why we are bothering to respond to a text such as this. Given the recent triumph for LGBTQ rights, and secular state, through the legalisation of marriage throughout America. However this is not true all over the western world. Australia has a reputation for being a little, upside down. And the legislation on gay marriage is one example of this. This video letter will rebut the arguments in the bishop's letter, but with the interest of time will not present any arguments for gay marriage.
separation of church and bigotry
Regarding the section of the letter entitled "Respect for all"
The catholic church finds itself in a strange position wherein they must justify treating fellow human beings decently with the misguided quotes in both the new and old testament (Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26-27). With the rise of literalistic interpretations, popular among fundamentalist's, the church has tried to separate themselves from the bigotry and hatred associated with such interpretations. One such attempt, that is seen commonly regarding homosexuality, is the quote from The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Which as quoted from the letter reads, “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” This quote is a tiny segment of the churches teachings on homosexuality, in full the quote reads,
The Catechism of the Catholic Church wrote:
Chastity and homosexuality
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
In its context you can see the quoted cited is little more than a polished turd. Homosexual acts are by nature immoral? They do not proceed form real feelings towards each other? they are to be approved of under no
circumstances. These teachings, if slandered by any other organisation, would be classified as hate speech. However, the pastoral letter's selectively uses fractions of this teaching in order to make it seem like the church "respects all". This is an irresponsible use of words, and contradictory to the stated goal of "[...]present[ing] the Church’s teaching['s] to the faithful."
What even is 'like'?
Regarding the section of the letter entitled "Marriage equality & discrimination"
Not every point addressed in the letter is a point of contention. However, it seems necessary to expand upon the topic in order to clarify what's meant. The bishops inform there readers that "We must treat like cases alike, and different cases differently"
and this is a point of agreement amongst modern philosophers on the topic of mortality. In the influential book "Animal Liberation" Peter Singer takes great care in addressing the potentially for morally relevant differences between humans and animals, through an analogy with women's rights. He wrote "Men and women are similar beings and should have similar rights."
he go's on to explain "There are obviously important differences between humans and other animals, and these differences must give rise to some differences in the rights that each have. Recognizing this evident fact, however, is no barrier to the case for extending the basic principle of equality to nonhuman animals."
This is the logic common in arguments about equity.
By the methodology suggested in the letter, we can apply it by drawing out arbitrary differences such as; race, hair colour, or location. In practice "traditionally marriages happened in a church" could be taken to mean, that marriages that do not occur in a church should not be recognised by state, because there are arbitrary differences between marriages that occur in churches and out of churches.
This means, the burden to be proved is that there are relevant differences between homosexual and heterosexual relationships, or "relevant differences in cases give rise to relevant differences in treatment." It is of note that the examples given of "differences in cases" by the Bishops, all draw the bounders upon relevant things, that protect the people concerned.
The Bishops wrote:Only women are admitted to women’s hospitals and only children to primary schools. We have programmes targeted at Aborigines, refugees, athletes, those with disabilities or reading difficulties, and so on
The women's hospitals, which are on the decline, are designed to be targeted at ailments specific to women, including childbirth. The existence of such a targeted system of health care may have had the affect that women who where not inclined to seek treatment due to factory of humiliation would be more inclined to do so. Primary schools teach a basic level of education to young children, this level of education is is not useful to older people, especially if they have already been through the system in question. Not to mention the tendency to have contact between older and younger people minimised in fear of abductions and paedophiles. four of the seven examples given are concerned with aiding groups that are marginalised of carry some added burden, and the remaining, being "athletes", stimulates athletic activity's within community's, thereby increasing the overall health of the community in question.
For some, marriage is similar to the issue around mayonnaise and egg, or regional products like wines and cheeses in Europe with protected names.
However, marriage isn't a consumer product that needs protection from fraud; it's a contract between two people, and presumably a gay man knows he is marrying another man, and will not be misled by the term "marriage" into thinking he's marrying a woman in the way that people buying something called "mayonnaise" might be expecting an egg based product.
The churches understanding of social justice is reflected in the way they word there statements. Although an off topic point, it should be noted that the correct pronunciation of Aboriginals is "Aboriginals" not "Aborigines," although the term aborigines has been used in poetry, most notably "Bran Nue Dae"'s "nothing I would rather be" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTiXSmQET2E
Regarding the section of the letter entitled "Emotional tie -v- Comprehensive one-flesh union"
In this section, and many other's, the authors open with a straw man. "One view of marriage is that it is nothing more than a commitment to love."
not only is this condescending, it is also entirely false. The view of marriage, marriage equality proponents argue, will differ from person to person, but the importance of love is often stressed, and this is a normative view in our modern society in which marriage is romanticized. We are not arguing that love is the only thing important to marriage. Most notably other things Important to marriage include, the well-being of; partners, offspring, and society.
If you wish to exclude homosexuals from marriage on the basis of there inability to reproduce, as the authors of the text do(show picture entitled (SPE)"this union is centred around and ordered to the generation and wellbeing of children"), you hold little ground to include infertile heterosexual couples, as the authors of the text do (SPE"this is true even when one or both spouses are infertile"). Although a response is unexpected, I am compelled to ask, on what basis can we include infertile heterosexual couples, but exclude homosexual couples? If a "truly" married couple is married; bodily and spiritual[ly] , sexual[ly] and reproductive[ly], permanent[ly] and exclusive[ly], Than it would be of note that homosexual couples meet 5 of the six criteria, the same five that are meet by an infertile heterosexual couple.
this union is centred around and ordered to the generation and wellbeing of children
this is true even when one or both spouses are infertile
Matters of law and mortality are to be understood in regards to the situation being assessed. Take the example of throwing a stone, it is considered bad as it increases the likelihood of someone being hit by a stone, which is detrimental to wellbeing. But could the situation be considered bad if the chance of such an occurrence was slim to none. Such as skipping stones in a lake. It is also true to say situations where people are highly likely to be injured by the throwing of a stone are immoral. Such as stoning a person to death. Note that pointing towards the wellbeing of the person who is stoned to death, is not an argument against skipping rocks. Likewise children do not come into the gay marriage debate. Homosexual adoptions are another debate altogether, and one that will be addressed later in this video
Furthermore, separate cases may or may not have other consequences that are independent of gay marriage, such as polygamous marriages (SPE"polygamy"). Cultures in which polygamy is common tend to have less right's, or quality of life, for women. Brutal and abusive treatment is common in these cultures. Some suggest that allowing polygamous marriages is government approving of these cultural norms. On the flip side, some suggest that polygamous relationships are better for the upbringing of children. If polygamy is beneficial or detrimental to society, the case has to be made independently of gay marriage.
The author noted 3 biblical quote's that are supposedly addressing gay marriage. We will asses the biblical passages and see how they apply to both the church and the secular state.
genisis 2:21-23 wrote:So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
We can assume the authors of the letter wish for the passage to be taken allegorically and not literally. However, the passage holds little weight argumentatively, as an allegory. In contrast "The Parable of the Good Samaritan" (luke 10:31-35) argues a point very well. For those unfamiliar, the parable depicts a man who is beat, robed and abandoned. Two members considered higher up in society, a priest and a Levite, pass by and leave the injured man. The Samaritan, who is considered lower in the culture, took the man to an inn and paid for his stay until he managed to recover. It should be noted that inn keepers where considered untrustworthy, similar to that of the Thenardiers in Les Miserable. The classes of the helpful persons in the second story is vital to the conclusion, that the "goodness" of a person, is a product of there actions, rather than there class, or theological knowledge. Note that the second story argues for its conclusion, whereas the first story reasserts a cultural norm, with divine authority.
In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus is being questioned on how he interoperates the "Law" (old testament text's) in regards to devoice concluding "Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
The language of the text is meant to empathise this conclusion, not the gender of the persons. The text is not addressing gay marriage, rather devoice. The use of the terms male and female are dew to cultural norms. It is still common today to used the same terms when communicating to people about relationships. The acknowledgement that heterosexual relationships are normal, which is to say they occur more often than the alternative(s), is not the same as speaking against homosexual relationships. Ephesians 5:31 runs into the same problems.
There are however verses that are explicitly against homosexuality. Leviticus 20:13 orders that homosexuals be stoned to death, and Paul repeats the sentiment in many of his letters. One wonders why these far more explicit verses where not brought up against gay marriage? Because the conclusion you would have to draw from these do not suit your competitively liberal conclusions? This however shows us that Christian or otherwise, the bible is not a particularly good book concerning moral standards of modern society.
The red herring of of mothers and fathers
Regarding the section of the letter entitled "The importance of mothers and fathers"
As explained previously, we do not believe parenting to be a necessary condition of marriage. This is also the only view in which marriage can be extended to heterosexual sterile couples. We were surprised to see "countless reliable studies" sited, considering the churches shaky history concerning science, and the list dose look impressive. However, upon closer inspection the term "reliable" was found to be misleading at best.
Whether or not the authors intended to do so, the quantity of the research falls within the, fallacy of floods, or a Gish Gallop. In which evidence is presented in large quantity in the hope that the evidence will be accepted as true without analysis. This was addressed by Albert Einstein when he said
If I were wrong, then one would have been enough!
in response to the publication entitled "100 Authors Against Einstein. However this does not dismisses the evidence, for the sake of time, not all the reports will receive attention in this letter.
The first thing to note is that the more impressive half of the studies, proves an off point. The burden to be proved is that the children of homosexual couples in specific biological, economic, and geographic situations, have lower wellbeing than children of heterosexual couples in similar biological, economic, and geographic situations. True or false it is an off topic point to prove that children of devoiced parents have lower wellbeing than children of wedded parents. Which excludes all the reports highlighted here (SPE"off topic"). It can be argued that the exclusion of one gender from the parenting body is detrimental to wellbeing of the child. However the it is false to apply the conclusions of these studies to Homosexual couples because of the aforementioned differences in biological relation, and economic security which are especially relevant regrading the case of devoice.
Not all of the studies cited where affirming the perspective of the letter, such as the 2010 report "Marriage and Child Well-Being: Research and Policy Perspectives" which states
(reference https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct= ... pcLA7-awMA)
Another understudied two parent family form is same-sex families. Mounting evidence indicates that children raised by lesbian parents fare as well as their counterparts raised by heterosexual married parents (for reviews, see Biblarz & Stacey, 2010; Stacey & Biblarz, 2001). Less is known about the outcomes of children raised by gay men.On several dimensions, lesbian couples are more effective parents than are opposite-sex couples, which reflects both selection factors and women’s tendency to be more adept at and invested in parenting (Biblarz & Stacey, 2010). The political debate about same-sex marriage faces a curious intersection with the marriage promotion debate: if parental marriage is good for children, then why not allow same-sex parents the right to marry (Amato, 2004)? Marriage offers enforceable trust, status, and institutional support that will arguably stabilize same-sex relationships (Amato, 2004; Kurdek, 2004).
The studie entitled "How Different Are the Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same-Sex Relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study" had many glaring issues perhaps the most obvious of which is definition. As Zinnia Jones explains (0:55-2:39) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLnCqAT_bcw
The study entitled "Emotional Problems among Children with Same-Sex Parents: Difference by Definition" showed a clear Christian bias. (SPE"Biased research")
It is of note that many of the studies were based in america, where the topic of same sex marriage, and parenting, is a far more contentious issue. The studies are therefore highly likely to report a bias.
on Religious Liberty
Regarding the section of the letter entitled "Consequences of redefining marriage"
The authors of the letter clearly use scare tactics to motivate an already convinced crowd. Note that at no point in this letter do we accuse the opposition with any of the claims suggested (SPE"biggots"). The issue of religious freedom is an entirely separate issue to that of Gay marriage, and we do not believe all of the listed items should be covered by religious freedom.
Many country's have anti-discrimination laws that apply directly to different individual groups; like sex, sexual preference, age, race, and religious believe. This has the effect that individuals in the position of minority's hold additional rights that should be equally applied to individuals of non-minority's. This includes rights for those who act, or refrain from acting, on religious grounds. Who hold rights over those who act, or refrain from acting, on non-religious grounds, such as ethical grounds. In some cases these laws may not be extended to protect those who hold spiritual beliefs without adopting a religious label, such as many new-ager's. It has perhaps become clear that the issue is not spastic to religion, but should be applied instead to sincerely held belief's. If you value the basic principle of equality, that of similar rights in similar cases, than it does not make sense to apply the right to act on sincerely held beliefs to minority groups, as non-minority's are equally capable of holding non normative beliefs.
In summery there seems to be two rights from this reasoning 1) the right to act according to sincerely held religious beliefs
, and 2) the right for one to express there sincerely held beliefs.
We will first explore the implications of the first right, "the right to act according to sincerely held religious beliefs"
As in many cases of moral concern, there are more rights to consider. Such as the right to sustain the economic security that comes from a business. In this case the two are fairly simple to weigh. In cases where failure to act are likely to be detrimental to the business, the business owners relevant rights should trump that of the employee's relevant rights. This is how many anti-discrimination laws work.
In effect this means that persons who object to an action, cannot be pressured into acting, fired, demote or refused a promotion as a result, if and only if, the business will be able to continue with little negative effect.
In regards to gay marriage this means, those able to issue marriage licences are able to refrain from doing so, if and only if, they are able to receive the marriage license from another authority without significant extra cost to them.
One could argue that, as in other cases where one can hold moral reasons to refuse services, this could be used to make it unreasonably difficult for gay couples to receive a marriage license. This is a legitimate concern, and has occurred regarding other controversial issues including abortion services in Australia, specifically in the Northern Territory. (SPE"abortion servises in the NT") (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-27/n ... ss/6048070
To avoid such consequences it is important to stress the idea of "without significant extra cost". In effect, one has the right to refrain from issuing a service, if and only if, the persons being refused service is able to receive it within reasonable constraints of extra; time, distance and monetary expenses. Assuming this ideal has the unfortunate effect that, in rear and scares circumstances a priest may be legally obligated to preform same sex weddings.
There are however other cases of refusal of service the authors we are responding to hold are fair cases of discrimination. These include weeding goods and services, such as cakes, and photography, and accommodation or education services. These cases differ from the previous example because they are not necessarily of equal quality. If the refusal of services reduces the options to far more expensive equivalent services, or far lower quality equivalent services, than the person does not retain the right to refuse services.
A baker has the right to refuse wedding cakes to homosexual couples, if and only if, they are able to receive a wedding cake of similar price and quality from another baker.
we argue that it is "gravely unjust" to categorise an on sale villain cake from Coles
with the high quality cake of a world class, accomplished baker.
Indeed we also argue that it is "gravely unjust" to categorise an accomplished photographer with ample years in the industry
along side your second cousin taking "happy snaps" with there mobile's camera.
Quality also exist in university's, and it is "gravely unjust" to count Charles Darwin University
as equals with the pristine humanities schools like University of Notre Dame,
considering studies of theology or philosophy, and the opposite is true considering the study of boganology. (http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/northern- ... 7508263215
It is also to be noted that the individual objects, not the business. The baker can refuse to bake, the photographer can refuse to photograph an event, and a cleaner can refuse to clean a room, but a business ought not
Other Things of Note
In response to a range of segments of the letter.
Many sections of the letter quoted or referred to older text's. The quotes which I am concerned with serve the purpose of devaluing homosexuals, or homosexual relationships.
Same-sex friendships are of a very different kind: to treat them as the same does a grave injustice to both kinds of friendship and ignores the particular values that real marriages serve[...] To say that other friendships are not marriages is not to demean those other friendships or the individuals concerned.
The only time anyone is willing to refer to a couple considering wedding as a mere friendship is in relation to gay marriage. The fact that you would chose such language is incredibly demeaning to both the individuals involved, and the relationships they are in.
A final point that would be irresponsible to leave unaddressed is the authors use of the appeal to tradition fallacy. We present to you the words of the Christian author Victor Hugo from the previously mentioned novel "Les Miserable".
As for us, we respect the past here and there, and we spare it, above all, provided that it consents to be dead. If it insists on being alive, we attack it, and we try to kill it.
Superstitions, bigotries, affected devotion, prejudices, those forms all forms as they are, are tenacious of life; they have teeth and nails in their smoke, and they must be clasped close, body to body, and war must be made on them, and that without truce; for it is one of the fatalities of humanity to be condemned to eternal combat with phantoms. It is difficult to seize darkness by the throat, and to hurl it to the earth.
In closing we call to all those who care, to not be silent. We call for you to be active and passionate with the goal of rational governance. There are countless issues LGBTQ still faces in Australia, and around the world today, that are not limited to gay marriage, and it is the burden of the people to make it known that these issues matter. Finally we call for everyone, regardless of your position in the debate, to not follow emotion where you best follow reason. Its become a cliché, but it remains true, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
If every one is happy with this I will start recording tonight.
vegan: to exclude—as far as is practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for any purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment.