Tuesday, May 14, 2013
RI Bishop on Gay Marriage: We’ve Entered ‘Post-Christian Era’
Bishop Thomas Tobin, head of the Catholic diocese of Providence, said the “gay marriage” bill signed into law in Rhode Island by its governor, Lincoln Chafee, constituted a “new challenge of the post-Christian era into which, clearly, we have now entered.”
Chafee, a liberal Independent who used to belong to the Republican Party, signed the bill making “gay marriage” legal in the Ocean State on Thursday, May. 2. That same day, Bishop Tobin, who represents 680,000 Catholics in 143 parishes, issued a pastoral letter to Catholics on the approval of “same-sex marriage.”
“In particular, I wish to invite members of the Catholic Church in Rhode Island to a moment of prayer and reflection as we respond to this new challenge of the post-Christian era into which, clearly, we have now entered,” said Bp. Tobin.
“First, like many others, I am profoundly disappointed that Rhode Island has approved legislation that seeks to legitimize ‘same-sex marriage,’” said the bishop. “The Catholic Church has fought very hard to oppose this immoral and unnecessary proposition, and we are most grateful to all those who have courageously joined us in this effort. When all is said and done, however, we know that God will be the final judge of our actions.”
He continued, “Our respect and pastoral care, however, does not mean that we are free to endorse or ignore immoral or destructive behavior, whenever or however it occurs. Indeed, as St. Paul urges us, we are required to ‘speak the truth in love.’ (Eph 4:15)”
“At this moment of cultural change, it is important to affirm the teaching of the Church, based on God’s word, that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2357) and always sinful,” said Bp. Tobin. “And because ‘same-sex marriages’ are clearly contrary to God’s plan for the human family, and therefore objectively sinful, Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies, realizing that to do so might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others.”
Currently, “gay marriage” is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia. Last May, Vice President Joe Biden, a Catholic, said he was “absolutely comfortable” with homosexual marriage: “… men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.”
Several days later, on May 9, 2012, President Obama, who previously had claimed he opposed “gay marriage,” said, “For me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
Referring to the Rhode Island legislation making “same-sex marriage” legal, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordelione, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, said it “is a serious injustice.”
“"The meaning of marriage cannot be redefined, because its meaning lies in our very nature,” said Arbp. Cordelione. “Therefore, regardless of what law is enacted, marriage remains the union of one man and one woman – by the very design of nature, it cannot be otherwise.”
At the Core of the “Gay Marriage” Debate
In Jeffrey Toobin’s recent article in The New Yorker, Wedding Bells, he resorted to name-calling to malign pro-marriage advocates, an all-too common tactic among the gay lobby.
In his article, Toobin wrote: “There are really only two reasons that gay marriage is still illegal in more than three-quarters of the country: that’s the way it has always been; and the very idea of same-sex marriage makes some people, well, uncomfortable.”
Then he went on to define that discomfort as “tradition and bigotry.” So much for returning the tolerance they preach and demand from others—others who actually have legitimate reasons for their beliefs.
The gay lobby—which I contend is the most powerful lobby in America today—has successfully infiltrated the minds of the less-grounded generation. And with that infiltration, they have dismissed the importance of what the Creator Himself demands of His creation.
They have succeeded in framing the argument, not from the creation point of view, but from one of justice and human rights. And who could oppose human rights? I, for one, applaud every effort to give the 100 million persecuted Christians around the world their human right to be left alone in peace.
But according to gay activists, human rights demand that gay couples be allowed to marry regardless of their gender. They are attracted to each other—why shouldn’t they marry?
That is a flawed argument, however. Marriage is a far more significant institution than trivializing it as between any two people who like each other.
In the Jewish and Christian understanding of creation, the Creator has ordained marriage for a far greater purpose than that short-sighted and shallow definition.
As the Anglican Book of Common Prayer declares: “Marriage is an honorable estate, instituted by God . . . and therefore not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, and soberly, and in the fear of God, duly considering the causes for which matrimony was ordained.”
Marriage is far from the concept of being just for two people who love each other—whether it be for a month, a year, or longer. Marriage is far from a hunger for sexual pleasure in whatever way one deems fit. Marriage is far from the idea that, if it feels good, then society must support you in doing it.
The Creator ordained marriage for three vital reasons: for the survival of humanity, for the procreation of children, and for lifelong companionship—specifically a lifelong companionship where one finds the only proper expression of sexual intimacy.
The Maker of humankind instituted that triune foundational bedrock, and one’s lack of religious beliefs cannot alter that elemental truth.
Many people argue that marriage cannot be looked upon with that triune purpose because so many marriages fail. The institution itself is damaged goods, they say. But that’s a false argument. Even if all marriages were to fail, that would not negate the purpose for which it was ordained.
Here’s the crux of the matter: loving someone, even if one intends for that love to be permanent, is not enough to constitute marriage. That trivializes marriage.
Although love is an essential ingredient for marriage, it is by no means the only ingredient—especially when that love is of the selfish nature so common today. Emotional love and good feelings will ebb and flow. But lifelong, deep commitment between a man and a woman, buttressed by children, is the Creator’s purpose for marriage.
Children need a father and mother. And the concept of a father and mother is based on a male/female relationship. There’s no getting around that. It is a foundational concept. But in bowing down to the powerful gay lobby, ten state legislatures have politicized and trivialized it.
I understand that some homosexual activists want recognition and feel that homosexual marriage is the only way for society to recognize them. But even if that happens, they won’t stop there. The next stage will be the demand that homosexual marriage be, not only protected and privileged, but preached as a virtue—even superior to natural marriage.
For deep down—too deep for some of them to admit or even recognize—they know they were created in the Creator’s image and are going against His ordained order. Thus their conflicted conscience will drive them to push society for more and more recognition. They will not be able to stop.
That is the proper understanding of the “gay marriage” debate. It is far more than just intimidating the people they falsely accuse of “bigotry.” It craves and demands respect, even from those who disagree with it.
I, for one, respect people with whom I disagree. That’s just general human courtesy. But no amount of name-calling will give those who reject the created order the respect they seek. That can only come from within, from a conscience that is aligned with God’s will for His world.
Britain's Health and Safety Executive debunks myths
A coffee chain told a customer that they could not serve half and half full fat and skimmed milk due to “health and safety”.
While a state of the art gym used the same excuse when it banned men from using the hairdryers on anything other than the hair on the head.
But now these have become the latest myths exposed by the Health and Safety Executive as they hit out at the spurious uses of the term which is abused to justify "ridiculous decisions”.
The watchdog is attempting to set the record straight as misuse is “trivialising” what protecting peoples health and safety really means, it said.
For the last year the HSE’s “myth busting panel” has been correcting statements, including that trapeze artists have to wear hard hats, that children should be banned from playing conkers, and that park benches need replacing as they are three inches too low.
HSE chair Judith Hackitt said: “We’ve uncovered and exposed abuses and misuses of health and safety right across Britain, and seen ‘health and safety’ trotted out to justify all sorts of ridiculous decisions… is it really too much to expect people to explain the reasons for their decision rather than just saying "elf’n’safety innit, guv"?”
The latest “staggering misuse” include Fitness First in Highbury, north London, who wrote "hairdryers can only be used for drying hair on the head".
The HSE concluded it was an “easy excuse” to deter “inappropriate” public use, adding: "The health club should give the real reason for their decision rather than hiding behind the catch all”.
Mark Doodes, 35, reported the "amusing" sign as he realised he could inadvertently be “abusing all sorts of regulations” without even realising it as companies make up their own rules on "health and safety" grounds.
A Costa coffee shop in Sheffield refused to mix milk for health and safety manager Melanie Ransom when she asked for semi skimmed and they did not supply it.
Mrs Ransom, who works in the construction industry, said abusing the excuse is dangerous as it trivialises a process which is essential to saving lives.
The HSE described Costa's excuse as a “clear case of poor customer service hiding behind the health and safety”.
Costa says it is a trading standards issue - as they legally cannot replace semi skimmed with a mixture of other milks because the mixture would not deliver the required fat content - and the employee got her wires crossed.
A spokesperson added: "We can however if the customer requests make the drink with a mix of whole milk and skimmed milk, but we would have to advise that it cannot officially be classed as semi-skimmed milk."
Britain's Feckless, Two-Faced Approach to Radical Islam
The UK government, simultaneous with its legal pursuit of extremists, has attempted to resolve the challenge through political accommodation with Islamist fanatics.
In an example of such conduct, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Pakistani-born minister for faith and communities in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition headed by Prime Minister David Cameron, spoke in March at a meeting of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS).
FOSIS has been criticized by Cameron's home secretary, Theresa May, for its failure to distance itself from extremist ideology; May has refused to meet with FOSIS leaders. The organization has been similarly censured by Liberal Democrat leader and current deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.
Guest speakers at past FOSIS annual conferences have included Al-Awlaki, as well as other prominent fundamentalists, such as Azzam Tamimi, a Palestinian-British academic aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Baroness Warsi, an advocate of "engagement" with radical Islam, was until last year, a co-chair of the Conservative Party. Nobody believes she supports terrorism, but her approach to the problem betrays, at least, a lack of coherence. One cannot oppose radical Islam by "dialogue" with its exponents. Such an approach reveals at worst, a failure of will and nerve on the part of British authorities. Radical Islam must be confronted openly and defeated categorically.
Conservative member of the British parliament Patrick Mercer stated at that time that 100 million British pounds – about $150 million – had been spent on an overall set of anti-terrorism programs known as "Prevent," in the period 2007-09. This amounted to about 90,000 UK pounds per day (then equivalent to $135,000) on schemes to abate radicalism by "soft" methods.
These included the "Radical Middle Way" project, in which fundamentalist Muslim preachers were hired to travel around Britain with the message that while radical ideology is acceptable in the marketplace of ideas, the violence that it has produced is not.
Nevertheless, the "Radical Middle Way" – which received 1.2 million British pounds [$1.8 million], including 54,000 [$80,000] for its website, up to 2009 – continues to function. Its main participants include Abdur Rahman Al-Helbawy, son and colleague of Kemal Helbawy, the long-time representative of the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain.
Other leading figures in the "Radical Middle Way" are highly-placed partners of the Egyptian-born, Qatar-based, Muslim Brotherhood-supporting hate preacher Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. These associates include the Muslim Brotherhood's star among Western-based intellectuals, Tariq Ramadan (grandson of Brotherhood founder Hasan Al-Banna).
As pointed out by the leading German scholar of Islam, Matthias Rohe, "with respect to the legal rules of shariah it was broadly accepted since the Middle Ages that they cannot be applied outside 'Islamic' territory and that Muslims are obliged to either respect the law of the land or to leave the country and to return to countries ruled by Muslims."
Rohe, in an article titled "Application of Shari'a Rules in Europe – Scope and Limits," in the Special Theme Issue – Shari'a in Europe, published by the authoritative journal Die Welt Des Islams, in 2004, cited this principle from Islamic legal works in Arabic published in Kuwait in 1990 and Lebanon in 1998. Every Muslim is taught that when the first Muslims fled from Mecca to Christian Abyssinia (today's Ethiopia) they were commanded by Muhammad to obey the Christian ruler or return to Muslim territory.
Mandates by ECFR include judgments that Muslim women may be ordered by their husbands not to visit female friends of the wife, if the husband suspects such relationships will harm the family or relations between the couple. Under ECFR rules, Muslim women must obtain permission from their "male guardian," that is, a family member, before marrying. Al-Qaradawi's effort to establish "parallel Shariah" in Europe legitimizes four wives for Muslim men living in non-Muslim Europe. ECFR reserves the right of husbands to initiate divorce from Muslim wives, unless a right to divorce by action of the wife is written into their marriage contract. It prohibits gender mixing between unrelated men and women, unless women are entirely covered except for their face and hands. It forbids Muslim women from leaving their homes unless accompanied by a "male guardian."
These concepts contradict European civil law, but ECFR does not represent Muslims living in Europe and integrated into Western society. It has excluded moderate French and German Muslim leaders, and nearly all of its members are immigrants from or residents in Arab or African countries. It is, however, affiliated with the Turkish Milli Gorus [National Vision] movement, an ultra-fundamentalist trend associated with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Milli Gorus has a significant, if low-key presence in Germany and the Netherlands.
Members of the "Radical Middle Way," such as Tariq Ramadan, Ibrahim Osi-Efa, Jamal Badawi, and Abdullah Bin Bayyah, are not moderate Muslims. They have demonstrated this by their commitment to the Muslim Brotherhood and the South Asian jihadi Deobandi movement, their defense of wife-beating, and their support for Wahhabism. Moderate Muslims have repudiated all these interpretations. These Islamist personalities are not appropriate partners for the British government in its effort to obstruct radicalization.
The planning of violent atrocities continues in Britain; the government has still failed to curb the spread of radical agitation, and actions like the visit of Baroness Warsi to FOSIS illustrate that a necessary, firm, and united opposition to radical Islam remains lacking at the official level. Nobody in the UK government should ask Muslims to abandon Islam as a religion, but a significant struggle against radicalism is justifiable and necessary.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.