Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sometimes these bishops should just shut the hell up

Charles J. Chaput
And that was the polite phrasing. Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia found himself addressing Brigham Young University today. Presumably the archbishop was seeking an audience that stands on some common ground. This is a small part of what he had to say:
… there’s something profoundly sad in watching a person mutilate his or her body in the hope of creating a new identity. The body has a purpose. Our sexuality is ordered to creating and raising new life, and to the mutual support of a man and woman in a covenant of love.

My point is this: Sexual confusion isn’t unique to our age, but the scope of it is. No society can sustain itself for long if marriage and the family fall apart on a mass scale. And that’s exactly what’s happening as we gather here today. The Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision approving same-sex marriage last June was a legal disaster. But it didn’t happen in a vacuum. It fits very comfortably with trends in our culture that go back many decades, even before the 1960s.…
I gather that, in the first paragraph, Chaput is referring to gender reassignment surgery. He we have a prelate – a theologian and catechist – arrogantly weighing in on medical science. He lacks the erudition to do so unless he obtained an MD in his ample spare time that I am not aware of. In doing so, he is smearing thousands of people by calling their medical procedure “mutilation.” It seems to me that the moral authority resides with those individuals and their doctors.

In the second paragraph he refers to “sexual confusion” which only further degrades transgender (and possibly gay) people. Then he professes that gay men and women are somehow going to be responsible for the destruction of marriage on a “mass scale” because of same-sex marriage. He calls the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges a “legal disaster. Using the formal form of address; His Excellency, The Most Reverend Charles Joseph Chaput doesn't provide any evidence.

His Excellency should know that the primary reason that Obergefell was decided as it was is the simple fact that no one – none of the countless lawyers, philosophers, academics and prelates – who briefed this matter could come up with a single tangible harm or consequence of same-sex marriage. About a dozen years ago they warned that Massachusetts would fall into the Atlantic Ocean. That never happened. Nobody has claimed that gays wrecked their traditional marriage. They have had plenty of time to improve their game. They have obsessed over this issue (that only directly affects a small minority group) for many years. Surely they can come up with something.

Isn't it time for His Excellency to stop maligning people who are gender non-conforming or who are married to someone of the same gender? Every time he defames an LGBT person he is disparaging an entire family. For what possible achievable purpose?

But there is more to this. The loss that His Excellency perceives in the Obergefell ruling is that his religion was unable to impose its teachings on public policy. Where do they get off trying to do that in the first place? The Mormons that he is speaking to have some interesting ideas about religion. One of those is that Joseph Smith restored what Catholics supposedly removed from the Bible. Shall be have a theological duel and then decide how the result should be imposed on everyone by force of law? Perhaps the public school history texts should include that the North American continent was originally settled by people from the Middle-East and Near-East which is what Mormons believe.

You folks fight it all out. When you are done perhaps Your Excellency can emulate Moses and hand down the law to the rest of us.

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