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Obama Supports Same-Sex Marriage, and If You Disagree You're a Bigot

Peter Wehner writes in his Commentary Magazine blog:

Senator Barack Obama has announced his opposition to a California ballot measure that would ban same-sex marriages–a decision that was forced on the citizens of California by the state’s Supreme Court. In a letter expressing his support for extending “fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law,” Obama wrote that he opposes “the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.”

Why is it that Obama, who promises to be “post-polarizing” figure, is using this issue to attack the motivations and integrity of those with whom he disagrees? This is the embodiment of the kind of politics we were told Obama stands against. If Obama believes same-sex unions are the right position, let him make his arguments. But to portray those who want to preserve the traditional meaning of marriage–particularly in response to an imperial court’s efforts to reshape our culture–as “divisive and discriminatory” is itself divisive and deeply unfair. It is an effort to sideline an important discussion of the issue by branding the advocates of traditional marriage as bigoted.

Will Jim Wallis and Doug Kmiec come to the defense of their fellow Evangelicals and Catholics whose intellectual and moral integrity Senator Obama has impuned? The Rev. Wallis and Professor Kmiec, both of whom support the senator's candidacy, claim to embrace Catholic Social Thought. But Senator Obama just claimed that an integral aspect of Catholic Social Thought is a deliverance of a bigoted mind. By inference, Senator Obama is claiming that Pope John Paul II was, and Pope Benedict XVI is, a bigot. For this is what Benedict XVI wrote (when he was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith) under the papacy of John Paul II:

If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favour of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications.

When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.

When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician, recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, “could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality”, on condition that his “absolute personal opposition” to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided. This does not mean that a more restrictive law in this area could be considered just or even acceptable; rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment. (note omitted)

Yesterday, Senator Obama said that he would not call into question anyone's patriotism in his campaign for the presidency. But, apparently, this spirit of charity does not extend to those who believe that it is their moral duty to support male-female marriage in their communities because it advances the common good. As Cardinal Ratzinger put it:

In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection. (emphases added)

Thus, according to Senator Obama, if you are a faithful Catholic who embraces her Christian duty to advance the common good in the state of California, you are a bigot. But if you run against him for the presidency, he won't challenge your patriotism. How magnanimous of him.

Comments (20)

One wonders whether, on the tortured constructions of subsidiarity prevalent elsewhere in the blogosphere, that fundamental element of Catholic social doctrine also entails the availability of same sex travesties/simulacra/parodies of marriage?

By definition when Mr. Obama disagrees he is enlightening others to the proper path in a unifying manner. When you disagree with him or his stances you are needlessly divisive and part of the politics of division.

His disagreement informs and ours harms. Why is that so hard for you to get Frank?

Hang in there, sooner or later we will get the tingling feeling in our leg and we will see the error of our ways. Then we can finally set aside such silly notions as the sanctity of human life or absolute right and wrong or even the primitive idea that marriage actaully means something beyond a legal recognition of your current "partner" for tax purposes. Then we can all faint and swoon and feel unified.

Or perhaps I will just vote for the other guy.

Tough call.

Yes, Obama is a bigot in reverse. Meanwhile, this - "if you are a faithful Catholic who embraces her Christian duty" - is a jarring use of the feminine possessive, being inconsistent with the preceding "you." What's the point? That even at W4 we can't escape pc inclusiveness?

I was, of course, referring to the lovely Lydia who, though not Catholic by communion, is Catholic by constitution. :-)

Nice save, Frank! :-)

Somewhere, on an old floppy disk, I have a copy of a paper I wrote long ago on revisionist language, long since published in the more or less pre-Internet age in a physical journal and hence buried in the stacks of libraries and possibly not even legal to post on the Web.

I'm agin' it--revisionist language, that is. (In case you were in any doubt.)

Well, in that case...

I may be missing something (tell me if I am), but it looks like Obama himself doesn't use the word "bigot" to describe his opponents here; that's a strong word (stronger than anything Obama himself is saying, so far as anything Wehner tells us) that's being put in his mouth by his critic, Wehner. So the title of this post seems pretty unfair.

I don't get Wehner's main complaint. Obama writes that he opposes "the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states," and, apparently based just on that, Wehner charges that Obama is attacking "the motivations and integrity of those with whom he disagrees"?? Wow. I don't go for Obama's (or Wener's) tired tactic of calling the positions of those with whom one disagrees "divisive," but, still, saying that an effort is "divisive and discriminatory" doesn't seem to be getting into people's "motivations and integrity." I mean, it seems pretty sensible to say something like, "Look, I don't mean to be questioning your motivations or integrity. I know you mean well. But this amendment you're pushing is in fact divisive and discriminatory."

I should have been clearer about the end of the above. I realize that Obama didn't say anything along the lines of "I know you mean well," etc. (& I wouldn't have wanted him to.) My reason for putting what he did say together with that nice stuff he didn't say was in an effort to show that what he did say doesn't itself impugn his opponents' motivations and itegrity: That what he said could be so comfortably conjoined with an explicit denial of bad motivations gives some good reason to think it isn't itself an assertion of bad motivations.

It seems to me that to claim that one's fellow citizens are offering a divisive and discriminatory amendment is to say that they have no rational basis for the amendment.In common parlance, that's the essence of bigotry.

This was an opportunity for Obama to offer an olive branch to social conservatives by saying he thinks they are wrong but that he respects their point of view and understands why they hold it. He can still come out against the amendment but do so with less incendiary language.


Substantively, however, Obama knows that the current regime in California will in fact punish his fellow Christians who do not tow the same-sex marriage line, as we have seen in the case of Catholic Charities in Massachusetts. But that divisiveness and discrimination is justified since those being punished are the bad and bigoted Christian conservatives.

I suspect what is going on is that Obama has given up on social conservatives in the deep-red states and thus is just shoring up his base, similar to Bush's strategy in 2004. Obama realizes that if the American Left realizes that this may be their only opportunity to get nearly everything they want with the presidency and Congress fully theirs, they will get out the vote big-time.

He can still come out against the amendment but do so with less incendiary language.

"Incendiary language"?? I'm not seeing it, Frank. Best I can figure is you're counting "divisive and discriminatory" as "incendiary"! A bit delicate for my tastes, but to each his own, I suppose. But what seems really weird to me is that you'd be delicate like that about "divisive and discriminatory" while you yourself continue to insist on needlessly inserting into the discussion, and hoisting needlessly on your opponent, what seems far more incendiary: "bigot," "bigoted." I don't know whether I'd count those as "incendiary," but they sure are a lot more so than anything I'm seeing actually coming out of Obama's mouth here. So you saddle him with the most incendiary (or nearest to incendiary) language in play, insist on continuing to do so, and then complain about his "incendiary language" ("divisive and discriminatory"!). I don't get it.

Obama has given up on social conservatives in the deep-red states and thus is just shoring up his base, similar to Bush's strategy in 2004.

That's not all Obama has in common with Bush. Consider:

Link to Wall Street Journal:
Bush's Third Term
July 2, 2008; Page A12

We're beginning to understand why Barack Obama keeps protesting so vigorously against the prospect of "George Bush's third term." Maybe he's worried that someone will notice that he's the candidate who's running for it.


Well - that does it for me . Obama has the nerve to call "divisive " people who cherish '
traditional
marriage, who have legitimate concerns about the harm gay marriage will do to that
marriage, and who would like to be able to vote on such a momentous and important
issue rather than have one judge decide it for them .

I call him " divisive " and all those people pushing for " gay marriage "
Here in California, gay couples had all the rights of married people, and of course
could always be married in a church - if they so desired . They're a minority,
but they want to push their agenda on the majority in a very arrogant and self centered
way .

Off subject, but hey Sheila, are you THE Sheila Walsh? If so, I saw you on the "War of Love" tour in Cleveland, in what, '83 or '84?

If this is not you, please ignore this idiot's ravings.

My apologies -- we now return to our regularly scheduled discussion.

to portray those who want to preserve the traditional meaning of marriage–particularly in response to an imperial court’s efforts to reshape our culture–as “divisive and discriminatory”

I suppose I'm picking a nit, but I find myself agreeing with Keith DeRose. Obama's language seems to be, at least in terms of the definitions of the words he's using, fairly accurate. "Divisive" is a descriptive term which could be applied to any proposed law which has both passionate support and passionate opposition, and "discriminatory"--well, most of the conservative intellectuals I know would argue that there is such a thing as good discrimination; but it seems incorrect to say the proposed amendment doesn't discriminate.

[...]to say that they have no rational basis for the amendment.In common parlance, that's the essence of bigotry.

It is? I guess I'm a bigot, because I often feel that people who support legislation that I find puzzling have no rational basis to support it. I frequently find that Supreme Court justices have no rational basis to support their conclusions--sometimes even when I agree with their decisions!

No one else finds their political opponents irrational? Heck, I find my parents irrational on a regular basis.

Keith seems right to suggest that it is possible that Obama's statement was not intended to impute bigotry, but not for the reasons you cite, Phil. When viewed in context, it is clear that Obama means that the "efforts" he opposes are *unjustifiably* "divisive and discriminatory" (in some normative sense), in opposition to his own position and that of the LGBT Democratic Club.

On the other hand, Obama's statements could plausibly be taken, it seems to me, to connote bigotry. Nevertheless, we should probably be cautious about attributing such a charge to him.

but it seems incorrect to say the proposed amendment doesn't discriminate.
Ah, but it doesn't discriminate. Under the amendment, for example, any man, straight, or gay, would be free to marry one woman.

Scott W. wrote:

Ah, but it doesn't discriminate. Under the amendment, for example, any man, straight, or gay, would be free to marry one woman.

Right. Just as anti-miscegenation laws left everyone free to get married, just not to someone of another race, likewise anti-gay marriage laws leave everyone free to get married, just not to someone of the same sex. Non-discrimination at its finest.

And anti-incest laws are just like anti-gay marriage laws since the leave everyone free to get married, just not someone from the same family.

Anti-miscegenation laws were wrong precisely because they denied men and women from wedding each other who were perfectly able to do so.

The question then is, "What is marriage?" If marriage is the sort of institution that can only be entered into by a man and a woman, then it is not unjust to deny two men to "marry" each other, since it is not something that they can actually do. Marriage seems to be the sort of thing that combines difference in order to bring into being something greater than the sum total of its parts, a place in which families merge, children are nurtured, and men and women contribute to the passing on of culture, tradition, and responsibility. It is a bullwark against the state, a place which one can call home. It is a place in which one can know what it means to honor one's mother and father, because one can learn what a mother is and a father is. In my case, I can trace my roots back to both England and Italy. Families and marriages, and the generations that tie them together, transcend states, governments, and political parties. So, when our fellow citizens request, indeed demand, that the state eradicate that understanding by equating the only family that nature knows with a state-constructed adoptive "family" of cobbled together little strangers placed in the hands of same-sex couples by government agencies, the state is saying that there are no real mothers and fathers and no children that actually belong to them. Whatever you have, the state gives you. Leviathian triumphs. Feel better now.

Every law of any sort 'discriminates' in the sense of making distinctions, and backing up those distinctions with government authority. If authoritative 'discrimination' as such and in a general value-neutral sense is unacceptable, then all government is unacceptable; which is why libertines tend toward anarchism.

[found this on the internet - Irv]

OBAMA SUPPORTS SAME-SEXERS
(and supports the "rights" of youngsters to view public depravity!)

Google "Americans for Truth," click on "Zombietime" [or go directly to: www.zombietime.com], then click on "Up Your Alley Fair"! After recovering from the uncensored photos, Yahoo "God to Same-Sexers: Hurry Up" on the "ucmpage" listing (even Jesus told Judas to hurry up - John 13:27). Also Yahoo "Dangerous Radicals of the Religious Right." See all of this before the predicted California earthquake happens a la Rev. 16:19 ("the cities of the nations fell") - and before hurricanes and other conscience-stirring disasters occur elsewhere! Irv

(Obama, Pelosi, and Newsom did NOT approve of this message.)

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