Thursday, April 24, 2014

Muddled thinking about sex and open societies

Our clandestine correspondent whom we keep on retainer in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep its secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, has been busy catching up with us after our Lenten hiatus. I share with you his ruminations about the public debate about same-sex issues, because the Church is deeply involved in the outcome of this debate and I think Mr. Noir gets a lot of things right here; or, at least, asks many of the right sorts of deeply perceptive questions. He writes:
Elizabeth Scalia has a long piece with which I agreed, until I got to the very, very end. She concludes with a link to which she appends, "Can I get a 'duh'?"

[The linked article is Cathy Young's "Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Dissent: Why We Must Have Both" (Real Clear Politics, April 22, 1014).]

My reaction is, "Can I get a 'Are You Kidding Me?'".

There is a disconnect somewhere, either in me or in these signatories. Perhaps I am wrong or don't get it: the list of brains is intimidating.

And yet, If this is where we indeed are, then I really don't see how any of these signers are saying anything different than: "Just give these folks (Christians) some time." But how does that work, since to be consistent with the thinking presented here, we would have to say the Civil Rights legislation was wrong and facist/totalitarian in its forcing of people to act no matter what they personally believed. And I don't imagine they would agree with that.

If "the best and most free society is one that allows the largest number to live true to their core beliefs and identities," then they gay rights lobby is essentially correct, and all the noise about civility IS bluster. I really do see why our opponents can be so convincing. Once we allow morality to become personal preference, there simply is no basis on which to build unity. If are core commitment is to enabling "the largest number to live true to their core beliefs and identities," then we have no basis on which to oppose gay marriage.

I fear the Church's desire to convince itself as well as others that its God and its Gospel are very much in sync with the modern ideas of what is attractive will box it into a conceptual hall of mirrors. One thinks of Cardinal George Pell dismissing the idea of Adam and Eve without at all realizing he could not but help also thus be applying poison to the root idea of original sin. Consistency in theology isn't just desirable. When you are facing off ideological assaults, it is also quite necessary. I wonder if the Bishops will clue in to this before they acquiesce. Here's hoping.