Saturday, November 12, 2011

Quote of the Day

The claim that marriage was “universally” accepted as between one man and one woman is patently untrue. The Jewish patriarchs practised polygamy, as did American Mormons until the practice was prohibited by law. So do many modern Muslims and Africans (the polygamous marriages of current South African President, Jacob Zuma, have been widely reported).

It is not only the existence of polygamy that contradicts the claims of “universal” recognition only of marriages between one man and one woman. The word means “always and everywhere,” but there have been other forms of marriage which, while much rarer than polygamy, exist and invalidate the descriptor “universal.” Some societies practice or have practiced polyandry (one woman with several husbands), and some have and do recognized marriages between people of the same biological gender.

The example of the North American indigenous populations is well-known, with the acceptance of the two-spirited people (who sometimes married their own biological sex, and sometimes the opposite sex). Some Roman emperors very publicly married men: Heliogabalus, for example, and Nero (twice); in Crete (and possibly in Sparta, which largely imitated Cretan examples), it was customary for men to enter a form of marriage with younger male partners, and to remain in a publicly recognized relationship with them, before entering heterosexual marriage later, in order to raise children; elsewhere in the ancient world, the law appears to have provided for same-sex marriage in Canaan, and in Mesopotamia. and in China.

There is an important discussion that needs to be held about the sacramental nature of marriage that needs to be considered for sacramental church weddings, but [for Archbishop Timothy Dolan] to make ludicrous claims in an attack on civil marriage [such as that "marital union between one man and one woman was universally accepted by civil law as a constitutive element of human society"], simply muddies the waters, and makes it easier for secular opponents to make fun of the Church . . . and for many disillusioned Catholics, reading the misrepresentations, to believe them and give up on the Church entirely.

Fortunately, most Catholics have long since given up on the expectation of any sanity from the bishops on sexual matters, and proceed to live their sexual lives in accordance with their own consciences (that is, also in accordance with Catholic teaching, in its fullest context).

– Terence Weldon
"Catholic Bishops, Gay Marriage: 'The Outer Fringes of Crazy Town'"
The Open Tabernacle
November 12, 2011

Recommended Off-site Link:
History of Same-Sex Unions

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
John Corvino on the "Always and Everywhere" Argument Against Same-Sex Marriage
Evan Wolfson on the "Basic Biology" Argument
Nathanial Frank on the "Natural Law" Argument
Patrick Ryan on the "Defense of Traditional Marriage" Argument
The Bishops' Reaction to Marriage Equality: "Wrong-Headed and Counterproductive"
Mary Hunt's Response to Archbishop Dolan's "Truth Claims That Do Not Hold Water"
Responding to Bishop Tobin's Remarks on Gay Marriage
Joseph O'Leary Responds to Carson Holloway's Arguments Against Gay Marriage
Catholic Author Richard Rodriguez on Why Churches Fear Gay Marriage
Two Attorneys Discuss Same-Sex Marriage
A "Fruit" Reflects Upon "Fruitfulness"
Quote of the Day – October 7, 2011
Quote of the Day – July 31, 2011
Quote of the Day – June 29, 2011

Image 1: A same-sex Navajo couple in 1866.
Image 2: Two spirit Crow members in 1928.
Both images are from the article, Gay Marriage Has Been In America For Hundreds Of Years (June 15, 2011).

1 comment:

Terence Weldon said...

Thanks, Michael,