Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Real Marriage Problem

The recent Supreme Court decision United States v. Windsor struck down the Defense of Marriage Act using a rather inventive interpretation of the 5th Amendment.  This is arguably a bad thing for the rule of law and public morality, but it is only a tiny judicial footnote to the great cultural crisis in our nation.  The great problem is not Justice Kennedy's jurisprudence, but rather that the vast majority of Americans, gay and straight, Protestant and Catholic, do not understand marriage.

Marriage is both indissoluble and ordered toward procreation, but only a small subculture of Americans actually believe this.  The institution of marriage has not been killed by gays, but rather by straight couples, many of them churchgoing Christians, who have been contracepting and getting divorces for decades.  This does not mean that most marriages are worthless, but we must recognize that they are radically different from what marriage is supposed to be.  By making marriage an increasingly sterile and arbitrary arrangement, straight couples set the foundation for the gay "marriage" movement.  Assigning blame is not the most productive activity, but if we must blame some group for the destruction of our most central social institution, we should blame neither gays nor judges, but the great mass of straight Americans.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dolan and Muslims

I think that a post on A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics mischaracterizes a statement by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
tantumergo writes,
Cardinal Dolan is becoming a one man gaffe machine. Just this week, he encouraged muslims to remain muslims.
Certainly, the very last thing his very modern model of a modern major Cardinal is muslims becoming Catholic!
This is the allegedly problematic statement:
On a recent visit to a mosque, he told the Muslims there that their plight was similar to that of Catholic immigrants 150 years ago, and they face the same challenge of ”how to become loyal, responsible, patriotic Americans without losing their faith.”
Cardinal Dolan is certainly not above criticism, but I don't see a problem with what he said.  If modern Muslim immigrants lose their faith after moving to America, it is not because they are converting to Christianity, it is because they have become secular hedonists like everybody else.  There are certainly some bishops who would encourage Muslims to stay Muslims out of a false sense of ecumenicism, but I strongly doubt that Dolan among them.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Arming the Opposition

The President has recently decided to arm rebels in Syria, and we are assured that we will only arm "moderate" members of the resistance against Assad.  How exactly do we tell which bearded men with Kalashnikovs are moderate?  Do we ask them, "Are you a member of Al-Nasruh?  If you say no, we'll give you a howitzer?"  This situation is crazy.  Hezbollah, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and presumably the Russian Spetsnaz will be protecting pro-Assad Christians from Al-Qaeda affiliates armed by the CIA.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Surprising Quotations

Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself have founded great empires.  But our empires were founded on force.  Jesus alone founded His empire on love, and to this day millions would die for Him.  I think I understand something of human nature, and I tell you, all these were men, and I am a man.  Jesus Christ was more than man.
-Napoleon Bonaparte

In my opinion it is a grand book.... Morally and philosophically I find myself in agreement with virtually the whole of it.
- John Maynard Keynes on Hayek's The Road to Serfdom

Can’t you say "shit!" like everyone else?
- Blessed Pope John XXIII admonishing a worker who used the Lord's name in vain 

I regard him as a great economist and a great man.
- Paul Krugman on Milton Friedman

Secession is nothing but revolution.  The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will.  It was intended for “perpetual union,” so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution or the consent of all the people in convention assembled.
- Robert E. Lee January, 1861

There is hardly a pioneer's hut which does not contain a few odd volumes of Shakespeare.  I remember reading the feudal drama of Henry V for the first time in a log cabin.
-Alexander De Tocqueville, Democracy in America

It often happens that I wake up at night and begin to think about a serious problem and decide I must tell the Pope about it.  Then I wake up completely and remember that I am the Pope.
- Blessed Pope John XXIII

Reason must be left behind for it is the enemy of faith.
- Martin Luther