Sunday, August 03, 2003

OK, I’m back
Was going to join my friends from orthodoxchristianity.net for the weekend but had to deal with an emergency at home (if you're really curious, I was replacing a dying car) that kept me off this blog for a few days, all the same.

From the news
Ashcroft: al-Qaida could strike again
(Striking own cheek in disbelief as jaw drops.) Nooooooooo!

Well, just when almost all the American sheeple had been stirred up about Saddam Hussein again, thanks to the Two Minutes' Hate on 'Faux News', etc., he had to blow his cover and remind everybody that Osama bin Laden is still at large.

OK, brain-box, perhaps if you'd 1) told the American powers that be to stop propping up the Israelis and stay out of Palestine, and just send the US troops in the Mideast home, thus taking away Mr bin Laden's motive, 2) not wasted American lives and resources beating up a scapegoat country with a tinpot dictator that had nothing to do with Sept. 11 and 3) instead, done 1) and actually concentrated on catching the surviving people really responsible for the 2001 attacks on the US, you wouldn't have had to issue this warning...

... but then again, without perpetual war there'd be no excuse for gutting what's left of the American republic and Americans' liberty with things like the Patriot Act, yes?

On possibly OKing so-called ‘gay marriage’ in the US
I think Mr Bush’s words on this may be partly sincere (from his evangelical Protestant beliefs) and partly a sop to cultural conservatives including the Protestant religious right to bolster his chances in 2004.

Sometimes it feels like juggling pieces of Wedgewood china whilst walking a tightrope, but here is an attempt to balance a commitment to the faith with American libertarianism (the best American way of politics).

For the sake of being impartial and defending everybody's rights, including the rights of Christians, and including the right to be wrong, should/must American government give homosexual unions the same status as marriage?

For several reasons — the common good (actual families with children build up society), simply reflecting plain common sense (the natural order of things reflecting the divine law), as well as the pragmatic matter, as reported in a news story linked here recently that said male homosexual unions only last a year and a half on average anyway — the faith beats morally indifferent politics. The answer is no.

Here is the balancing act.

Does this mean the government should snoop around in people's bedrooms? No again.

Historically the Church Catholic has always recognized that the state ≠ the Church, though the two should be in sync (symphonia as the Byzantines put it). In fact if I recall correctly, confusing/equating the two is heresy! The world ultimately is not perfectible by our efforts (believing otherwise is again, I think, heresy) — people are always going to sin, and even Christian states pragmatically have allowed for that, hence a libertarian approach to prostitution, for example, while at the same time trying to promote what is moral both for its own sake and for the common good.

Such vices only become the government's business if they become a public health hazard.

If what Chad and Tyler do in their lovely restored Victorian house in San Francisco isn't such a hazard, as a citizen I can say live and let live. (And chances are they're going to do it anyway so why get the government involved at all?)

But as both a citizen and a churchman I won't say it's OK for the state to reject common sense and provoke the anger of God (yes!) by pretending it's the same as a natural and/or a sacramental marriage.

In the natural order people have a God-given revulsion to this stuff, which, given that this is a fallen natural order (enter sin), can manifest itself in ugly and cruel ways (Matthew Shepherd, for example). Wrong? Of course, just like any other sin. But understandable? Yes. (Before anybody sends me hate e-mail, understanding why something happens ≠ approving what happens.)

(I wonder if the paragraph above is going to get the troll started again — the one who'd been impersonating me online on message boards and e-mail lists. Since he's been 'outed' (ha ha) here and on my old site, let's hope not.)

So much of modernity's take on God's gift of sexuality — doing everything from pretending homosexual couples can conceive and bear children and having oneself surgically mutilated, then getting shots of the other sex's hormone the rest of one's life to maintain the illusion, to the far commoner practice of using potions and devices to prevent conception and the 'final solution' (jawohl), killing one's baby in the womb — is simply about dodging reality!

Speaking of such issues, it seems the Episcopal Church is about to go ahead with its first-ever consecration of an openly 'gay' bishop, the Revd Gene Robinson. (At its General Convention this was approved by the House of Deputies and it seems sure to be OK'd by the House of Bishops.) Whether there will be any sizeable conservative reaction that's taken seriously remains to be seen, but the attempted ordination of women didn't do it back in the 1970s, so my expectations aren't that great. However, considering that what's being approved is so outrageous even mainstream Episcopalians who are still Christians object to it, anything's possible.

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