How Far Has the Apple Fallen?

Yesterday I was over at a fellow Voxer's blog debating passionately about the Gays, and we got on the topic of legalization of Same Sex Unions up here in good ol' Canaidia.  I said we Canadians by-and large don't really care about the issue now, that the debates have ended and we've discovered that it really isn't worth the bother to bring it up again.  He said that it's still an issue amongst groups like the Catholic Church.  

Now I've not gone to church in a while, it's not because I've denounced my faith or anything, I just work in a job that's not particularly conducive to regular sunday worship, and I've also been 'living in sin' with a girl who identifies more with a Baptist dogma but had very bad experiences at a Christian school she went to and now wants nothing to do with any Church.  For these two reasons I find it easier to simply acknowledge my values privately and sleep in on the occasional Sunday morning that I'm not working.  So being that I wasn't hip to the Catholic Church's current stance on the whole same-sex civil union thing I decided to e-mail my dad and ask him.
As a bit of background, my father while certainly having his faults is a very devout Roman Catholic.  As long as I've known him, he's held bible studies in his kitchen like other men would hold poker games.  He's never ever supported a Liberal government in his life, and only has a small amount of post secondary education.  He currently is a partner in a Building Code Consulting Firm that specializes in roofing.
These are the unedited e-mails we exchanged.  I felt some of you might find it interesting to compare my views with my fathers, and also to get a first-hand account of what a very devout right-wing Christian's opinions are in Canada.

From: Toe Knee
Sent: November 23, 2008 3:19 PM
To: Office Dads
Subject: Question about the Church and Gay Marriage Laws in Canada

Hey dad, since I'm not involved in Notre Dame much these days I had a question.  What's the RC Church's official current stance on civil unions in Canada?  Are they actively against it?  Passively against it ?  Or indifferent as they feel it doesn't concern the Catholic Church as a whole?  Any literature you might have or could point me to on things in that regard would be interesting.

T

On 23-Nov-08, at 2:30 PM, Office, Dad's wrote:

Toe Knee,
If you are talking about gay marriage, they are most actively against it, as they are in every jurisdiction around the world. If you are talking about civil marriage of husband and wife, by say a justice of the peace, they simply don't recognize that marriage as blessed by God or as a true marriage, in the "sacrament of matrimony" sense. As far as books to read etc., I would be in the same boat as you, let's "Google it". The stand of the Catholic Church gets really complex when it come's to divorce, especially of a Catholic and non-Catholic, where even I do not have real idea where they are – and our Bishop will tell you it is almost a matter of individual cases handled individually by the Bishop himself.

On 23 Nov-08, at 3:34 PM Toe Knee wrote;

So basically if the govt isn't forcing Rome to acknowledge state unions as Under God, the official stance is "We don't care."  ?

On 23-Nov-08, at 3:21 PM, Office, Dad's wrote:

Toe Knee,
If religion and politics could be boiled down to such a simple statement on this subject, you wouldn't have needed to ask the first question. First there is no government in the world that can force Rome to change, much less would they want to. Second, if there is one side that really doesn't care, it is the political half of the equation – for as long they don't lose votes on the stance they take, everything is fine, whatever you want! Thirdly, the state sanctioned form of marriage – the so-called "civil union" (no matter what the facial hair status of the co-joined) – has only been around  a little less than 100 years to my knowledge, whereas the religious form of matrimony has been around a little longer, by every religion, in every country. 
Hope this helps. Dad

On 23 Nov-08 at 4:35 PM, Toe Knee wrote;

So you're saying that the overall opinion on gays by the lay populace of the church is that they don't like it?  Do they feel it's relevant to their lives?  Do they believe god will smite them if a government gives gay people equal rights?  I know that the church views gay acts as a sin, so they'd be treated as unrepentant sinners if they chose to try and join a church, but this is mostly in regards to people in general.

I see it as a seperation of church and state issue, and a civil rights issue.  If the state deny's these people their rights to get divorced and lose half just like the rest of the country, then that's an infringement upon their rights based on the opinion of some of the religions in the country which they have only a moral and traditional stake in.  I won't get into the morality of gayness or that stuff because I feel it isn't relevant, but I believe that as long as gay acts are not a crime according to Canada's criminal code, then it should be against the law to discriminate against people who carry those acts out.

So do you know if the church is actively campaigning to overthrow the gay civil unions law in Canada?  Because I have a blogger correspondent who claims they are, but I've seen no evidence of this and am of the general opinion that most of us Canuk's have decided to let sleeping dog's lie because as long as they're happy then they're not holding rallies and marching around and getting in our face about it.  But I could be wrong about that.

On 23 Nov-08 at 5:01 PM, Office, Dad's wrote;

Tony, 
The answer to your first question is "correct" – "they don't like it" would be considered the answer given by the more placid of the bunch. All of us, you included, can make something irrelevant to our own life by ignoring the consequences that we can see coming down the road. When we apply some of the lessons learned from history, to the future, and the obvious similarities we can see, it is very difficult, if not downright irresponsible to not say something when we see a neighbor taking this path to a very slippery slope. If you want something historic to base the church's stand on, look in the book of Romans, Chapter 1 & 2, and understand that Paul's teaching on this matter was not from some theoretical ideology, but from seeing the results of these actions in the people around him.  

The Roman Empire, as we all know, did not fall victim to Barbarians attacking from outside, as much as it collapsed from corruption within. The church at the time was a small fledgling of an organization, so their opinion on the matter carried little weight. It is worth noting however, that the words of the Roman Emperors of the time, for all the power they wielded, are mostly lost to the mists of irrelevance with time; whereas the words of Paul: a passionate persecutor of the church that fell down on the road to Damascus, and then converted to Christianity, are still being studied around the world today, and are still relevant. I am not doomsday predictor, but what I see happening in the American economy today may well prove to be a dynamic turning point in the fortunes and future of the USA. Is it because of their corruption? Time will tell. You are observant enough of human nature. You know enough about corruption and it's effects on the individuals with and without the zone of influence. Think about it. Look at communism, from the standpoint of what absolute power can do to the morals and fibre of a country, and what the long term effects are even after the empire is in ruins. No one, no matter how they juggle the numbers, can defend democracy as an efficient form of government. It has proven to work the most effectively because it honors God's most sacred gift to all of us – our free will. Our God-given right to choose. Even Jesus when he walked the earth did not pass any edicts that took that free will away. The sexual orientation one feels he or she must follow is up to them, and quite frankly, it is only the misguided within the church who would say they can't. What they cannot choose- are the consequences to their choice. Those will come to them and the ones they love as surely as God made little green apples. Their sequence and their flavor will vary with individuals but they will still come. I am not well enough versed with this subject to list the consequences, but I am certain that someone who has walked the road could tell you what they are. I know there are consequences in this choice, because I know there are consequences with every choice. 

As to separation of church and state, how every politician, and preacher, in the land would like to make that a true reality. The fact is, both state and steeple deal with people, and in many cases they are the same people. To separate these into several separate facets, and think that one part of their life has no relevance on the other parts is to be as ignorant of reality as to say the earth is flat.  It has been my experience in today's democratic, media-obsessed, society, that any act of an individual is only as moral as the current flow of public opinion allows it to be. The only organization that has stood steadfast on what is absolutely immoral or moral, to my knowledge, is the Catholic church. The mere thought of having a child out of wedlock was worth a severe tongue lashing when I was a child. Today it is met with mere indifference. So much so that the children of the majority of these unwed mothers live a life of second-class citizens in respect to housing, education, and job level; all through no fault of their own. In many jurisdictions they have become the silent suffering in our society. It is fair to say that the church could see at least some the consequences when "the pill" became the method of choice among the young, but I sincerely doubt that even the pope at the time, Pope John the 23rd, could see the far reaching effects of the societal shift this human fertility blocker would have. The disrespect that the male population would subsequently have for females in their role as mother and wife, and the new perspective women would also have on these roles, has yet to be fully understood by the physiology gurus of our time. The stand of the Catholic church was and still is, quite firmly against the rampant use of this medication. The state can hardly ignore the results of the fallout from this societal shift, and neither can the church. The plight of the "poverty child population" in our country is a concern for both groups. I wonder now, is it a greater immoral failing for the church to gently try and change societies choice in these matters, and then try to help with the mess when the gentle method failed. Maybe it would be a less immoral act if they forced the state to outlaw the sin they see in society so as to avoid the greater suffering. Alas, but that will never happen. For our God is a God of forgiveness, and as such, He will not allow His people on earth to take away the free will of those who choose not to follow Him. 

Given the above, I highly doubt that the church itself is actively involved in an overthrow campaign. This does not mean that some hyperventilating group of misguided right wing extremists within the church are doing something of the kind. Unfortunately, the actions of this group will likely reflect on the church as a whole. The mindset of our media educated populace is generally one where someone has to be blamed, and the bigger the shoulders found, the better. As far as letting sleeping dog's lie, you are likely right in your personal perspective, but from my point of observation, it is more a matter of letting the gullible make their own goop to lie in. Free will.  

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Importing a Vox Blog.
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One Response to How Far Has the Apple Fallen?

  1. Lexann says:

    The fact is, both state and steeple deal with people, and in many cases they are the same people. To separate these into several separate facets, and think that one part of their life has no relevance on the other parts is to be as ignorant of reality as to say the earth is flat.
    So true.
    I agree with what your father says about free will, also. It is inherent in free will that to have it means you will deal with the consequences of your free will actions for better or worse. Otherwise, it is not free will. You cannot legislate morality.

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