Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, July 7th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 62 Comments

Nobody, and I mean nobody, does pompous, arrogant self-righteousness better than liberal Protestants.  Via David “He Reads ‘On Faith’ So You Don’t Have To” Fischler comes this drivel from the Chicago Theological Seminary’s Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite criticizing a Catholic bishop for being…well…a Catholic bishop:

How can we expect other nations around the world to create and sustain pluralistic democracies when prominent religious leaders in the United Sates, such as Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of New York, fail to grasp the fundamentals of this concept?

Because it’s not the job of “prominent religious leaders” to help “create and sustain pluralistic democracies?”

Elected officials represent the many different people who elected them, not their particular religious organizations.

Really?  I thought all American political parties were public extensions of Christian churches.  Sumbitch.

The private religious doctrines of these legislators’ faith communities cannot dictate their political positions.

Sue, of course, wouldn’t have written anything at all if New York’s Catholic bishops had gone all squishy and Episcopalian, if you’ll pardon the redundancy, and come out as a body in support of this bill.  “Spiritual leadership” is when you agree with me.  “Political grandstanding” is when you don’t.

That would be to effectively “establish” their church’s view as the law of the land, something the Constitution forbids.

Or in DiMarzio’s case, they would be telling Roman Catholics what Roman Catholic doctrine is.  Twit.

But Bishop DiMarzio’s position goes even further over the line that should separate church and state when he advocates shunning all state officials for this vote on marriage equality. “I have asked my collaborators not to bestow or accept honors, nor to extend a platform of any kind to any state elected official, in all our parishes and churches for the foreseeable future.”

Sue, the term you’re looking for here is “moral courage.”  DiMarzio seems to be saying that legislators, Roman Catholic or otherwise, can violate Roman Catholic doctrine all they care to but if they do, one of the prices they should be prepared to pay is that they don’t get free spiritual cover anymore.  So who’s really crossing the church-state line here, hot shot?

One issue, then, will dictate that these churches should shun all elected officials, apparently on any issue and into the foreseeable future.

I wish the Catholics had done it with abortion back in the day but better late than never.

That’s not pluralism, that’s exclusivism. In effect, according to this bishop, “any state official” has to play by the rules of the Catholic Church. That’s not just crossing the line that should separate church and state, it’s drawing a line in the sand that elected officials are not supposed to cross.

Sue?  Is a Brooklyn Baptist obligated to obey the Roman Catholic Bishop of Brooklyn?  What about a Floral Park Presbyterian?  Or a Rockaway Beach Muslim?   Or a Montauk Jew?  Or a Binghamton whatever Matt Kennedy calls himself these days? 

Or a New Paltz Unitarian?  Or a Nyack Episcopalian? Or an Oyster Bay member of the Assemblies of God?  Or a Plattsburgh Lutheran?  Or a Poughkeepsie Methodist?  Or a Schaghticoke Ethical Culturist?  Or a Schenectady atheist?

Do you see me working, Sue?  Dear LORD, it should be illegal to be that stupid.

Drawing a “line in the sand” preventing marriage equality for LGBT Americans is not where the American people are going. In fact they are going the other way, favoring reducing barriers to marriage equality.

Last I checked, God doesn’t have a Congress.  Just sayin’.

It is also not where the Catholic rank and file is going in terms of marriage equality.

See above.

As of May, 2011, Gallup reports that the majority of Americans now favor allowing gay citizens to legally marry. Interestingly, in the breakdown, Gallup notes “support for legal same-sex marriage is higher…among Catholics than among Protestants.”

So what?  I suppose that if you were to poll them, more Catholics than Protestants(since there are more Catholics than Protestants) would be down with banging their best friend’s hot wife on a regular basis.  It’s called setting limits, declaring that some things are wrong regardless of how many people enjoy them, that kind of thing.

Americans Catholics now seem to know, as this bishop does not, that the sorry state of heterosexual marriage is not going to be fixed by continuing to deny marriage equality to lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people.

Which is not the issue and never was.

Therefore, not only is Bishop DiMarzio taking a stand that is “over the line” in terms of the proper relationship between church and state in a religiously pluralistic democracy, he’s also out of step, taking a drastic public position based on outmoded and discredited ideas that many Catholic laypeople (as well as other Americans) no longer believe.

Susie?  You have a connection to some sort of “theological seminary,” right?  So I assume that you’ve had some exposure to this:

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

It’s like I said before.  The Creator of the universe doesn’t have or need a Congress.

62 Comments to SMUG ALERT

FW Ken
July 7, 2011

You, Mr. Johnson, have set a new standard for the fine art of fisking. The Rev. Mr. Fischler did a fine job as well.

Both of you hit the nail on the head: this isn’t an establishment of religion, but an attempt to violate the free exercise thereof.

Stupidity and hypocrisy, as always, make a really foul brew.

FW Ken
July 7, 2011

And I just looked at the original column in the WaPo: comments are closed.

July 7, 2011

Sounds to me as if she’d jump like a trout at the artificial fly of a state church.

It just has to be the right state church: meaning a leftist church where anything goes – except the fundamental Big Bang of the Virgin Birth and Christ’s death, his resurrection and his threat to return and pound HIS opinions into those silly heads.

Speaking of silly, could we have a silly woman here, ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth?

Wow! Scripture fulfilled, right here in our pixel-interface!

July 7, 2011

Excellent fisk. This woman needs to adjust her brain so it works. A Roman Catholic bishop has every right to tell Roman Catholic parishes what to do. He’s not over any line anywhere. If New York “Catholic” legislators want to vote for the further deconstruction of marriage, they may do so at the statehouse, but the question at hand is whether they can continue to be fully recognized as members of their Church. As you say, Chris, the only problem I see is that this could be, and should be, done on the abortion issue as well.

Would a “liberal” Protestant church invite a pro-life politician to speak? Of course not.

Donald R. McClarey
July 7, 2011

Oh, and if you support the Paul Ryan budget you aren’t a Christian according to this nutcase:

She has been writing these types of diatribes for years in the Chicago Tribune. She is always ready to write out of Christianity those who do not share her far left views. Once again, this is merely another example of Liberalism as a substitute religion.

She has a history of lambasting the Catholic Church. I give her some leeway however. She is a ministeress in the United Church of Christ and it is tough being a rep of a dying organization:

“At the time of its formation, the UCC had over 2 million members in nearly 7,000 churches. The denomination has suffered a 44 percent loss in membership since the mid-1960s. By 1980, membership was at about 1.7 million and by the turn of the century had dropped to 1.3 million. In 2006, the UCC had roughly 1.2 million members in 5,452 churches. According to its 2008 annual report, the United Church of Christ has about 1.1 million members in about 5,300 local congregations.”

July 7, 2011

So, according to Thistlethwaite’s theopolitical theories, Pluralistic Democracies = Pluralistic Marriages. Interesting way of putting it.

She is actually saying that being LBGT(XYZ) makes one a member of a different democratic national entity within another democratic society (or a different folk as Rowan Williams likes to say)?

Actually, that makes a lot of sense.

Because, to the sexual alphabet crowd, their urges and inclinations trump law (which must be changed to accomodate those urges or to prevent anyone from disapproving) and order (they must be allowed to relieve those urges, even in public restrooms and parks as in Scotland) as well as faith (their urges trump Scripture) and conscience (there must be no exemptions for bigots and homophobes).

The Democratic Nation of LBGT(XYZ) has its own flag (rainbow, which has actually been flown at national buildings) and laws (my urges) and means of enforcement (threat, violence, name-calling).

Wonder how they salute their flag? Is Lady GaGa’s song their national anthem?

July 7, 2011

“the sorry state of heterosexual marriage is not going to be fixed by continuing to deny marriage equality to lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people.”

No, the sorry state of heterosexual marriage will only be fixed when men and women are born again into Christ and live as Christ commanded and when priests/preachers start teaching the Word again instead of liberal silliness and when people and clergy at all levels are accountable and transparent.

Having a bunch of LBGTs running the church and officiating at LBGT marriages isn’t going to fix heterosexual marriage either.

Dale Matson
July 7, 2011

“Sounds to me as if she’d jump like a trout at the artificial fly of a state church.” Kudos

July 7, 2011

How can someone that stupid get a job at a seminary . . . or anywhere?

July 7, 2011

Couple quick thoughts:

(1) If a politician of Aztec descent and/or cleaving to the pre-Conquistadore religion was told by his spiritual superiors that he could not support and should work to repeal all these laws banning human sacrifice since they conflicted with his duties to the gods and contradicted his status as a member in good standing of his faith, I would agree with Ms. Brooks Thistlethwaite that in this case, the religious leaders should keep their noses out of public affairs. Now, on the other hand, if the law was swinging back to permitting some kind of slavery by another name, and church leaders said that if politicians of Denomination X, Y, or Z supported this in defiance of the clear teaching of their own denomination, then I imagine that Ms. Brooks Thistlethwaite would be all for that kind of intereference.

(2) I’m not too sure about that “more Catholics than Protestants” thing. Depends what you mean by legalized same-sex marriage. Myself, I’d more or less agree to permit civil unions (on the grounds that heterosexuals have done plenty to undermine marriage all on their own, what with cohabitation, children outside of marriage, easy divorce, multiple remarriage and so forth, and I see no reason why Joe and Bill or Jane and Sally shouldn’t be allowed to have a ten-minute ceremony in a registry office before the acrimonous split and divorce lawyer enrichment, any less than Tom and Jill can have one) but I would very much be opposed to “marriage equality” because these things are not one and the same.

So it all depends on how the question was worded; if polls asked about civil unions, or domestic partnerships, or marriage.

Though yeah, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the majority of lay Catholics think it’s okay. I’m seeing the same thing over here in Ireland, and have bitten my tongue rather than get into unfruitful rows when hearing passing remarks about “Sure, nobody cares about that” or “It’s time the bishops got caught up with the rest of us” in general conversation.

July 7, 2011

I would love (though I admit, it’s more likely that Satan will be strapping on his skis) to see an Episcopalian or liberal Protestant do the whole “Personally opposed but…” bit, just to see what the reaction of Ms. Brooks Thistlethwaite would be.

In other words, I’d love to see such a one say that “Although I’m personally in favour of marriage equality, the majority of my constituents are not in favour of such a measure. Since I cannot impose the teachings of my church on those who do not share those beliefs, I must vote against/abstain from supporting this measure to introduce same-sex marriage.” After all, we don’t want the horrid spectre of clerical interference in the public square, do we?


July 7, 2011

“How can we expect other nations around the world to create and sustain pluralistic democracies when prominent religious leaders in the United Sates, such as Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of New York, fail to grasp the fundamentals of this concept?”

Okay, this irresistably brought to mind Chesterton’s fisk of a similar nature; when F.E. Smith spoke in Parliament about the proposed disestablishment of the Welsh Church, he called it “”A BILL WHICH HAS SHOCKED THE CONSCIENCE OF EVERY CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY IN EUROPE.”–Mr. F.E. Smith, ON THE WELSH DISESTABLISHMENT BILL.”

Naturally, Chesterton felt that this wasn’t quite the case:

Anti-Christ, or, The Reunion of Christendom: An Ode

Are they clinging to their crosses,
F. E. Smith,
Where the Breton boat-fleet tosses,
Are they, Smith?
Do they, fasting, trembling, bleeding,
Wait the news from this our city?
Groaning “That’s the Second Reading!”
Hissing “There is still Committee!”
If the voice of Cecil falters,
If McKenna’s point has pith,
Do they tremble for their altars?
Do they, Smith?

Russian peasants round their pope
Huddled, Smith,
Hear about it all, I hope,
Don’t they, Smith?
In the mountain hamlets clothing
Peaks beyond Caucasian pales,
Where Establishment means nothing
And they never heard of Wales,
Do they read it all in Hansard —
With a crib to read it with —
“Welsh Tithes: Dr. Clifford answered.”
Really, Smith?

In the lands where Christians were,
F. E. Smith,
In the little lands laid bare,
Smith, O Smith!
Where the Turkish bands are busy
And the Tory name is blessed
Since they hailed the Cross of Dizzy
On the banners from the West!
Men don’t think it half so hard if
Islam burns their kin and kith,
Since a curate lives in Cardiff
Saved by Smith.

It would greatly, I must own,
Soothe me, Smith!
If you left this theme alone,
Holy Smith!
For your legal cause or civil
You fight well and get your fee;
For your God or dream or devil
You will answer, not to me.
Talk about the pews and steeples
And the cash that goes therewith!
But the souls of Christian peoples…
Chuck it, Smith!

FW Ken
July 7, 2011

Fuinseoig –

Two quick reasons to not support civil unions:

The non-religious purpose of registering any type of unions is social stability, including among other things the raising of healthy children. When same-sex unions can be shown to contribute to social stability at the same rate as other sorts of unions, without consuming more social resources, I would see the point. In the meantime, those same-sex relationships that actually are long-term and stable have recourse to contract law to answer most of the complaints they make.

It won’t satisfy them; the real goal is social approbation of same-sex relationships and civil unions are only a step along the way. Until they have “marriage”, they aren’t “equal” and that’s the real complaint.

July 7, 2011

FW Ken – and they believe that once they have society approval through “marriage”, they will lose that awful feeling they have about what they’re doing. But they will sadly find that the Bible still says what it says, and they will still have that awful feeling – the God-shaped hole – deep down inside that still has not been filled.
As do we all when we persist in our sin of choice.

July 7, 2011

FW Ken writes: “Two quick reasons to not support civil unions: The non-religious purpose of registering any type of unions is social stability, including among other things the raising of healthy children.”

It’s been shown that SSM achieves neither healthy children nor social stability. Moreover, IVF (the primary way same-sex couples reproduce)children also suffer from increased risk of health conditions like hypotonia. It is likely they will also have increased mental health issues.

Paula Loughlin
July 7, 2011

One of your top best fisks ever, Chris.

I support civil partnerships provided they are not defined by the sexual relationship of the persons involved.

July 7, 2011

Bingo, Paula.

Therese Z
July 7, 2011

If you support civil partnerships undefined by sex, then you would support a brother and sister? A parent and child? Two widows who move in together?

I fail to see why any two people who wish to be financially yoked, medically responsible, legally responsible can’t just (1) make proper wills and (2) set up medical and legal powers of attorney. Why should they receive any benefits offered to a married couple, those benefits ideally suited to encouraging healthy family life?

N T Emmoc
July 7, 2011

This same Susan Thistlethwaite, I believe, at a Christian conference working on an edited volume, around 1997m stated that Republicans in general were unintelligent. A member of the working group — a lifelong Democrat — objected to this kind of comment, as partisan and divisive, and untrue. He stated or implied in passing that plenty of Republicans were intelligent.

Thistlethwaite, as I understand, replied derisively “Name two! Since the organizer of the congress was, in fact, the child of a prominent (retired) figure in the Republican party, and the other parent was a Republican also, this constituted a direct insult to the conference organizer. This remark was made in public; no apology was given, so far as I know.

This sheds light both on Thistlethwaite’s own introduction of specifically partisan politics in a religious and academic context, quite contrary to the normal rules of civil discourse and also of common politeness to another member, particularly one’s host.

Another error she makes is to assume that “separation of church and state” is a principle which is meant to restrict religious or church participation or input on political issues. It is not. It is supposed to keep the state from interfering with what religions and religious actors do. This is important, because the church and its clerics do not have coercive powers, and are relatively small (though important) actors, in comparison to the state (the government), which has and exercises legal and coercive powers, and is by very much the largest economic and political actor in a country. Smaller actors need protection against the powerful; the state does not need protection against religious witness on its policies.

This type of confusion, like the gratuitous introduction of absurd partisan slams in a context supposed to be one of collegiality and scholarship, displays the tendency of certain (not all) persons on the “religious left” to confuse their particular political views with right and justice and intelligence, absolute. Such confusion is disturbing, because it is just what tends to foster attempts at coercion over other people’s thinking and witness — which is the bulwark of deliberation and sound democracy — and thus to foster totalitarian tendencies.

Of course, it sometimes also displays their strong commitment not to the Bible, or to Christian tradition, as the canon of right conduct, but to their own predilections, and to the Spirit of the Age.

July 7, 2011

Therese Z, it’s about inheritance taxes, mostly, and about insurance coverage. A devoted daughter caring for an elderly parent or disable sibling cannot put that relative on her health insurance, nor can real estate be passed from one to the other without paying death taxes.

If we had no death taxes and a reasonably free market for health insurance policies, with provision for public support for the truly indigent, then we wouldn’t be having these discussions about civil unions or marriage at all.

James G
July 7, 2011

Therese Z,

If you support civil partnerships undefined by sex, then you would support a brother and sister? A parent and child? Two widows who move in together?

Yes. In fact, more explicitly for those than for people with matching parts.

I fail to see why any two people who wish to be financially yoked, medically responsible, legally responsible can’t just (1) make proper wills and (2) set up medical and legal powers of attorney.


Why should they receive any benefits offered to a married couple, those benefits ideally suited to encouraging healthy family life?

This is the sticky wicket. When benefits become involved then you always get the argument of, “If them than why not us?” If we removed all governmental benefits then there wouldn’t be an issue.

“Family life” is something requiring definition. If you mean Parents and Children then that’s one thing; if you mean the domestic situation of people then it gets complicated because John might be living with his elderly mother to help take care of her while Susie and Judy are college roommates sharing expenses and Janice and her 13 bastard children are living with her cousin John and his wife Nancy so the state doesn’t take them away. People live complicated lives and have different domestic situations. If the gov’t gives favors or benefits to one situation then those in a different situation are going to demand them as well.

Since our masters still insist on robbing us of our income (at least a portion there of) I would be in favor of a recognized contract I named “householding” in which two adults who share a household enter into for tax purposes. Criteria would be if expenses are shared and resources pooled and it would be easily entered into and terminated at will (like civil marriages are with “no fault” divorce). For tax purposes it would be the same as marriage and the joint party could claim dependents living in the household. It is neither marriage nor a civil union; that way everyone is upset which is the sign of a good compromise.

James G

Scott W.
July 7, 2011

Once again, we see culture-of-death liberals score a major victory and ARE STILL COMPLAINING.

Martial Artist
July 7, 2011

Mr. Johnson,

You write:

it should be illegal to be that stupid.

Had there been no Original Sin you would likely be correct. Alas, the blathering liberal eedjit* appears to be walking, talking and breathing proof that we humans are not free of the consequences of Original Sin. And, I would assume from her indicated professional position that she is probably rather well paid for demonstrating her egregious lack of logical thinking, even before considering what her skills would warrant in a competitive situation.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

*—A Scots word for any person of the intellectual incapacity demonstrated by Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, or any greater such incapacity.

Dave P.
July 7, 2011

Civil partnerships as discussed above (and which I favor) have been proposed and rejected, as they go against the gay agenda.

Paula Loughlin
July 7, 2011

Thanks James G.

July 7, 2011

James G. – I like your “householding contract” idea.

Martial Artist
July 7, 2011

@Paula, @Katherine and @James G,

Your thoughts about deconflating government benefits from “the sexual relationship of the persons involved” puts us in very good company, as just such was proposed by Prof. Robert P. George in an essay entitled Law and Moral Purpose in the January 2008 issue of the journal First Things. Toward the end of that essay he wrote:

If, however, a jurisdiction moves in the direction of creating a formalized system of domestic partnerships, it is morally crucial that the privileges, immunities, and other benefits and responsibilities contained in the package offered to nonmarried partners not be predicated on the existence or presumption of a sexual relationship between them. Benefits should be made available to, for example, a grandparent and adult grandchild who are living together and caring for each other. The needs that domestic-partnership schemes seek to address have nothing to do with whether the partners share a bed and what they do in it. The law should simply take no cognizance of the question of a sexual relationship. It should not, that is, treat a nonmarital sexual relationship as a public good.

That essay was a major influence on my adopting the same position that you expressed.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

July 7, 2011

[i]Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, an ordained minister of the UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST since 1974[/i]


[giggle] [wiping tear from eye] Whew!

Okay now, where were we? …

July 7, 2011

FW Ken, I would support civil unions begrudingly, and with the proviso that they were very definitely not the same in any way, shape, or form as marriage, but I cannot – as a matter of natural justice – see a purely secular reason why a sterile same-sex couple who are co-habiting and have taken out a mortgage together should be treated any differently to a sterile opposite-sex couple who are co-habiting and have taken out a mortgage together, and who decide to fill out the forms at the city hall for a purely state legal recognition in terms of benefits.

Therese Z, I think that domestic partnerships should be open to family members – it does happen that brother and sister live together, or grandparents and grandchild, or two widows (it used to be that elderly ladies who could afford it had a paid companion) – these were all households in the past, and the way society is going (with marriage at its most fragile), I imagine that they will be models of households again. I know of examples (from my work in local education) of a grandparent being the legal guardian of a child whose father left the home and went off to England and the mother took up with another man. Sorting out tangles of who to call when that child gets sick in school is a mess (the social worker? an uncle? the parent who isn’t raising that child?) and allowing people the benefits of some kind of legal status – rather than the ad hoc fudging up as circumstances develop – would be better.

But the main point is that such households are very definitely not marriages.

James G
July 7, 2011

Martial Artist,

Back when I used to think favorably toward civil unions I always maintained that they should be available to all with no requirement for sexual activity. I’ve since come to the conclusion that “civil unions” or “domestic partnerships” or whatever terminology was used was just a back-door (pun intended) to trying to get “gay marriage.” This is most clear from the fact that homosexual activists always balk at the idea of enlarging the scope of relationships covered and only talk about “recognition” for their “relationships.” It’s not about hospital visits or inheritance but about getting the government to approve of their bedroom activities and then forcing the rest of us to as well.

I once got into it with an advocate for “gay marriage” on one of the Anglican sites (T19, I think) back in the day who insisted that sexual relations was not an issue or criteria for marriage from a legal standpoint. I pointed out that such a position was blatantly false since sex is indeed a legal requirement since pretty much all states recognize non-consummation as grounds for a civil annulment. Hence my requirement that anyone arguing in favor of “gay marriage” must first prove that homosexual acts ≡ coitus and not just similar or equivalent; make them prove we’re talking apples to apples. That sex would also be a necessary condition for civil unions is clear from the fact that they want to restrict them to just homosexual relationships. As the quote you provided points out, and I am in agreement with it, the law should not “treat a nonmarital sexual relationship as a public good.”

The inner civil libertarian in my head wasn’t happy with just abandoning civil unions since I can recognize that in a pluralistic democracy-like thing there is an inherent disparity in the government privileging one type of relationship and not others when said relationships are not illegal. I thought that the most consistent thing would be to get the gov’t out of marriage altogether. I’ve since realized that the state will always have an interest in marriage since it is the fundamental (stable) union from which derives new citizens or subjects. Since we can’t get the government completely out of marriage we have to ensure that it has a proper understanding of it and thus must fight tooth and nail this cultural battle instead of just withdrawing into an insular faithful remnant.

How then to solve the gov’t benefit relationship disparity because since Lawrence v. Texas we can’t just ban sodomy and thus solve our problem that way? As Therese Z pointed out, lawyers, wills, joint title and powers of attorney can solve most of the disparity regarding the legal privileging of marriage. As Katherine pointed out, proper free markets for goods like insurance would eliminate most of the other benefits disparity. That pretty much just leaves taxes and that’s why I like my “householding” idea. So a proper combination of lawyers, free markets and novel tax classifications will allow one to consistently be both a civil libertarian as well as a believer in objective reality (since it is plainly obvious that a marriage and whatever it is that a homosexual relationship is are not the same thing).

James G

James G
July 7, 2011


When you say “a sterile opposite-sex couple” I assume you mean a contracepting DINK couple and not a couple that is sterile from some medical condition who would otherwise procreate. To solve that issue of justice I have a simple solution: properly define marriage so as to preclude the legal concubinage that many treat it is as today and ban contraception as the societal evil that it is (one could also give environmental, health/medical and ethical reasons for banning almost all forms of it as well).

For issues of the variety of household situations the only solution I have is to remove almost all present governmental functions and red-tape so that they wouldn’t be an issue. If the gov’t let common sense rule instead of the bureaucracy then people would know who to call without requiring a release form in triplicate from a gov’t commissar who quintuple-stamped it. If there was no income tax then there wouldn’t be any need to have legal status for the variety of households people set up. Is there anything that having less government can’t solve?

James G

(Just a side note – MSWord2007 wouldn’t let me add “contracepting” to my dictionary for the spell checker but would let me add every other word I tried subsequently. Left-wing conspiracy?)

Lone Star
July 7, 2011

My take: it boils down to Authority and Who has it.

Ms. Thistlewaite seems vastly unfamiliar with the concept. Her remarks show that no one besides an individual should have any say over what ANYone else believes or does. The concept of obedience to a Higher Power or God (if she even believes in God) or those whom He has appointed is anathema or unheard of in her limited universe. I hope she will be healed of herself.

July 8, 2011

Definition of Religion, if you are into that sort of thing: Go spend an hour at Church on Sunday if you must,but you must forget all about it for the rest of the week and be guided by the state and “what you will”.

Smurf Breath
July 8, 2011

The private religious doctrines of these legislators’ faith communities cannot dictate their political positions.

That would be to effectively “establish” their church’s view as the law of the land, something the Constitution forbids.

This kind of hypocritical nonsense needs to be refuted very strongly:

EVERYBODY, including the secularists, have their own notion of sexual ethics. They have one no less than conservative Christians.

The only difference is, Christians have one that conforms to their religion (and to most of the other religions that have ever existed), whereas the secularists have an ethics that derives from “what I feel like now. Whatever urges are in my head now.”

So a) this isn’t really a religious issue. No one is forcing anyone to worship a particular deity in a particular way. It’s an issue of ethics, of which everyone has their own system. Even secularists are not supporting incest, bestiality, necrophilia or consensual pedophilia/ephebophilia
b) The secularists have an irrational, society destroying foundation for their ethics (whatever urges I have now), whereas the Christians have a solid, time tested foundation for theirs.

So, a) there is no violation of the constitution, b) who is being more rational? Whose system do you think should be preferred?

Smurf Breath
July 8, 2011

Myself, I’d more or less agree to permit civil unions

Fuinseoig, why do you think that in a democratic society, people should support institutionalized immorality? This is not just about privacy. This will impact what parents are allowed to teach their children, and whether Christian businesses will be forced to participate in services that violate their conscience (think eharmony and the photographer from New Mexico).

You’ve bought into the lie. Can I please ask you to reconsider?

[…] at Midwest Conservative Journal is a great read and I just added him (and you) to my blogroll. His “fisking” of Thistlethwaite is absolutely fantastic but I have to admit that it is just plain depressing that the Washinton […]

July 8, 2011

all I’m sayin’ is…”I left liberal Protestantism to get away from people like that.” (OK, so there’s Call to Action….but c’mon, give me a break!)

FW Ken
July 8, 2011

Not just quoted, but declared “Defender of the Faith”.

Henry VIII, Christopher Johnson…


Christopher Johnson
July 8, 2011

What was it that Churchill once said about the C of E? Something to the effect that he’d be like a flying buttress, supporting it from the outside?


July 8, 2011

@ Katherine
July 7, 2011:

“If we had no death taxes and a reasonably free market for health insurance policies, with provision for public support for the truly indigent, then we wouldn’t be having these discussions about civil unions or marriage at all.”

In Australia we have no death taxes, free market for voluntary private health insurance(and private hosptals)and government funded Universal Public Health Care (in public hospitals) e.g. best of both worlds, the demand for gay marriage with the full support of the MSM is in full flight.

The gay agenda is “you must approve” of the highest from of culture and life style ever devised by humanity. If you don’t we will make you approve by law and we will ensure you will be permamently excluded from the Public Arena and deprived of your Human Rights.

I repeat: the state has no interst whatsoever in gay couplings. The interpersonal personal concerns of hay relationships can be addressed either by wills and contracts, and legal agreements agreements, or by some “gay specific” legislation.

As to the issue of children in a gay relationship which may attract state interest: the child belongs only to ONE of the parties in the relationship. If the child is conceived during the “relationship” ipso facto the relationship is no longer “exclusive” since a third party has to be brought in. Since “exclusivity” and “fidelity” are the essential features of a marriage, to draw the interest of the state (i.e. the well being and security for life of the child) the definition of marriage will have to be redefined out of existence. It would have to include polygamy and polyamory.

FW Ken
July 8, 2011

Ran across this linked on another blog; it’s an excellent review of why and how Judaism, and later, Christianity, rejected same-sex relationships.

provision for public support for the truly indigent

We have public hospitals in all the major cities. In my city, and I know in Dallas, these are supported by a system of clinics and specialty services. No one in this community is without health care, although some are without health insurance.

ann r
July 9, 2011

It seems to me that benefits were put in place to support families with children where the father was the only wage earner, which used to be the norm. Since that is not longer the norm, maybe benefits should be reserved only for families with at home children and stay at home moms. All other domestic arrangements can apply for individual health and retirement benefits. Can’t you just hear the alphabet crowd howling if that were suggested!!

July 9, 2011

I cannot – as a matter of natural justice – see a purely secular reason why a sterile same-sex couple who are co-habiting and have taken out a mortgage together should be treated any differently to a sterile opposite-sex couple who are co-habiting and have taken out a mortgage together,

the word of JESUS
the word of Yaweh
the word of Allah
the world of Joseph Smith
the world of Buddha
the word of Confucius
the word of Lao-Tzu
the word of the Dalai Lama
the word of the Panchen Lama
the word of Bahá’u’lláh
the word of Guru Nanak Dev Ji
the word of Hirata Atsutane
the word of Zarathustra
the practice of Brahmacharya
the word of Siyyid `Alí-Muhammad
the word of David Yonggi Cho
the word of Creflo Dollar

there are very few things every single major religion agrees upon.

this is about the only one of them.

HV Observer
July 9, 2011

Or a Nyack Episcopalian?

This user remembers the time he visited Grace Episcopal Church in Nyack for their production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe.

Nyack, in Rockland County, is in the Diocese of New York, so that pretty much tells you where things stand there.

David Fischler
July 9, 2011

Sinner: you forgot

the word of John Shelby Spong

Of course, his is not a major world religion–in fact, it exists primarily in his own head, and consists entirely of the worship of his ego–but he does have followers…

July 9, 2011

LaValette, of course you are right about the homosexual activists wanting affirmation. Nothing less satisfies them. I do expect to see fewer and fewer of them claim the marriage prize once they realize the full implications of no-fault divorce and community property. In fact, it’s a sad fact that these are having an impact on heterosexual marriage rates as well.

Richard M
July 9, 2011

““Spiritual leadership” is when you agree with me. “Political grandstanding” is when you don’t.”


It all depends on just whose ox is being gored.

Smurf Breath
July 9, 2011

Word of…? Who mentioned anything about words. The same rational anyone would use to condemn incest and bestiality condemns this behavior as well. So if you condemn… hmmm… You do condemn incest and bestiality don’t you?

If the gap between what we consider to be axiomatic is too wide, we might be talking past each other. Let’s be clear about where we’re coming from, eh? Honesty is the best policy. Wouldn’t want to try to con people into thinking they were being inconsistent when we have our own “issues” to deal with, would we?


July 9, 2011

Smurf Breath, since apparently children are already being taught in school, not to mention being indoctrinated by the surrounding culture, that marrying someone for True Love Alone is the only reason anyone should ever marry, that if you fall out of love with your spouse and find True Love Alone with a new person, this means it’s perfectly acceptable to abandon spouse and children for your new paramour, that although they should neither smoke, drink, nor eat unhealthy foods, it is physically impossible to refrain from sexual activity and so all they need to know is how to put on a condom (or go to a Planned Parenthood clinic should the condom or other contraceptive fail, without need to notify their parents), that children are a burden and not a gift of God and that therefore they may be aborted or designed to one’s specifications, and that the only laws governing matrimony are those of the State and that religious beliefs are a quaint survival from the Bronze Age, that cohabitation is normal, that a woman having children outside of wedlock, even several children by various partners is an everyday occurence – all this and more regarding heterosexuals –

– I really do fail to see how allowing a registry office civil union between Joe and Bob is any huge extra blow. Yes, every chipping away serves to topple the edifice, but heterosexuals have already sufficiently sapped the foundations that gay rights activists have little to contribute.

And you have (and we have as well over here in Ireland) mass inoculation of twelve year old girls with a vaccine against a virus that causes cervical cancer – a virus transmitted by sexual contact – and if you raise any objection to this, you are a bigot zealot who wants your child to die in agony of a preventable disease.

Now, I don’t believe that civil unions are the same or equivalent to marriage; I don’t believe that parents or anyone else should be forced to hide their beliefs, but I would argue that parents have the primary responsibility for teaching their children in the home. I would also turn the question back on you – how many kids, despite what they are taught at home, stand up in class and say that divorce is morally wrong? How many parents would encourage them to do so?

I think businesses should be permitted a conscience clause, but when was the last time any business checked that a man and a woman were married to each other if engaging in sexual intercourse before refusing their booking for a romantic dinner on Valentine’s Night, or a weekend away, or a photography session? That’s why I would very begrudgingly and as a last resort permit civil unions, and I don’t see why addressing some of the legal obstacles claimed to exist (e.g. denial of hospital visitation rights) shouldn’t be possible without needing to pass laws for gay marriage or whatever.

Allen Lewis
July 9, 2011

I see that someone else noticed what I noticed about Ms. Thistlethwaite’s screed: her main objection seemed to be that no one should be allowed to have authority when it comes to denominational practices.

What Liberals like Ms. T abhor about all is the idea that anyone – this especially includes God Almighty – has any right to dictate what is morally correct behavior for a member of a Christian denomination. This is not the case. Jesus felt perfectly free to discourse upon that subject, as did all the Apostles. See the letters of Peter and Paul for examples.

What she gets confused about primarily is the purport of the First Amendment. It is perfectly correct within the framework of that Amendment for a Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church to tell a politician that supporting same-sex marriage is in violation of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church and that violating them will have consequences.

Obviously this woman is bereft of an understanding of one of the fundamental rights given US citizens by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the US of A.

Smurf Breath
July 9, 2011

If civil unions would just be used to expedite certain things, like joint mortgages or hospital visitation, you’d be right, but like FW Ken, I don’t think they’ll stop there. What they really want is approbation.

how many kids, despite what they are taught at home, stand up in class and say that divorce is morally wrong?

Frivolous divorce/apathy about divorce was the camel’s nose under the tent, I’d agree. We approve the philosophy of “My urges trump my moral duties”,
and where does it end? The Catholics were right on that score.

I would argue that parents have the primary responsibility for teaching their children in the home.

Right – I just hope they will be allowed to continue in that role. Sometimes I feel like we’re headed for a sci-fi dystopia where state run facilities are in charge of raising children and most adults never ever even have to see one. The moral content of the children’s education can then be decided by a bunch of bureaucrats appointed by the oligarchy.

FW Ken
July 9, 2011

I would like to address this “natural justice” argument.

As a single person, I pay taxes in support of marital relationships: licensing of marriages, family courts, police intervention when needed, and schools (!). Justice, it seems to me, demands that I get something for my money, and that, it also seems to me, is social stability. The kids are in school during the day, theoretically getting socialized so that I can walk to the grocery store with a lessened risk of having my head bashed in. Stable family relationships are the primary care giving entities within which we live our lives, particularly our childhood and ending years. This is acutely apparent to me as my mother’s health declines: the family members have increased responsibilities.

Now I’ll admit that western society has, through no-fault divorce, re-defined marriage from a stable social institution to a fundamentally private arrangement based on “love” (i.e., mutual satisfaction). Still, other-sex relationships utitlize specific amounts of social services (e.g. police intervention) and remain stable at measurable rates. I’ve said it many times: I will support same-sex civil unions when I see the same level of stability in same-sex relationships evident in other-sex relationships. As I said above, I have certainly known long-term same-sex couples (though they weren’t monogamous), but they are few and far between.

I will admit I’m intrigued by the notion of civil unions divorced from sexual behavior, partly because I know a couple of women who call themselves “heterosexual life partners” and in most ways non-sexual live as a married couple. They are older, however, and both have their retirements earned separately. What is the track record of such relationships over the life span? What do the stability measures look like for brothers and sisters, parents and children, and heterosexual friends?

July 9, 2011

The link to WP article is gone…Probably nothing to do with content. I LIKE the idea of gay couples discovering community property laws. The fun is about to begin. Their “marriages” likely have a shelf life like cottage cheese or Anglican theology. The lawyers will ca$h in. Stand back, let them have what they *think* they want. They’ll drop it like a bad habit very soon.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
July 10, 2011

I am ever so exhausted by smarty-pants like her who strive to form a god that is in their own image.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
July 10, 2011

FW Ken in #2: Indeed, WaPo smartly closed off comments after 55. The discussion thread was as ridiculous as the original article.

FW Ken
July 10, 2011


I saw that after I’d posted and read a few of the comments. Newspaper comment columns are usually worthless.

July 10, 2011

@ bob:

“I LIKE the idea of gay couples discovering community property laws.”

But my dear fellow they will all have “prenuptial agreements”. There is nothing they want out of “marriage” which cannot be met by such agreements. The only demand for “marriage” is to force the approval of the state and and consequently force the state to recognise this as a “Human Right” they then will expect it to enforce this human right by law over everybody, includung the legal supression of any relgious belief to the contrary. This very article is a statment of that Gay Agenda.

Gay Marriage is not an END. It is a MEANS TO AN END.

Steve T.
July 11, 2011

@Confessor: “No, the sorry state of heterosexual marriage will only be fixed when men and women are born again into Christ and live as Christ commanded and when priests/preachers start teaching the Word again instead of liberal silliness and when people and clergy at all levels are accountable and transparent.

Bishop DiMarzio, whom I’m proud to acclaim as my bishop, is one such man of God who teaches the word of God. And this isn’t entirely toothless:

July 11, 2011

I just found this in the NYT about insurance coverage and same sex couples:

It sounds like some couples will be *required* to “marry” to stay covered! Delightful. So many of them never intended to. Of course LaVallette is right, but I don’t expect a lot of them will have such sense to think that far ahead about a pre-nuptual contract. Naturally the laws will simply be changed so marriage isn’t required of couples who want to shcak up and have coverage, and just as naturally anyone opposed to such a change will be described as a nazi. Almost every day I discover another way I’m a Brownshirt I never knew before.

Matt Kennedy
July 13, 2011

Just fyi next time Chris I am a Calvinist, Reformed, Anglican with High Church tendencies

Support The MCJ                        

Email the editor-in-chief                    
©2016 Christopher Johnson                                
                        Email about Website issues

Recent Comments