Tag Archives: same-sex ‘marriage’

Faithful citizens

Catholic voters must consider many issues on election day, including 5 non-negotiables . . .

When Catholics go to the polls on Nov. 6, they bring the power of a massive block of voters. Nearly a quarter of registered U.S. voters self-identity as Catholic. They may be registered as Democrats or Republicans, but once inside the voting booth, it will be time for Catholics to set aside party politics in favor of their faith.

Conscience

Some Catholics have become confused in recent years in thinking that as long as they follow their “consciences,” they can vote as they please. Resources like the “Catholic Answers Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics,” however, make it clear that one’s conscience in itself does not determine right and wrong.

“For your conscience to work properly,” the guide says, “it must be properly informed — that is, you must inform yourself about what is right and what is wrong. Only then will your conscience be a trusted guide.”

A well-formed conscience, the guide says, will never contradict Church teaching. Catholics who are uncertain about what their consciences are saying concerning specific issues and candidates are advised to place their trust in the Church’s moral teachings as spelled out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

In “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops warns against “misguided appeals to ‘conscience’ to ignore fundamental moral claims, to reduce Catholic moral concerns to one or two matters, or to justify choices simply to advance partisan, ideological or personal interests.”

Non-negotiables

When choosing candidates and deciding issues, Catholics are bound to consider non-negotiable moral principles and, as much as possible, avoid voting for candidates and issues that promote intrinsically evil actions like abortion. Intrinsic evils are acts that are in conflict with moral law and thus can never be performed, endorsed, or promoted without sinful consequences.

The Catholic Answers guide states that five issues are non-negotiable when it comes to voting on a candidate or ballot question. Besides abortion, they include the intentional and direct killing of a developing human being, including assisted suicide and euthanasia (often miscast as “mercy killing”); embryonic stem-cell research, which destroys embryonic human beings; human cloning, which separates procreation from the marital union; and homosexual “marriage,” a distortion of true marriage, which can only take place between one man and one woman.

To the greatest extent possible, Catholics are to avoid voting for candidates who endorse or promote policies that provide for any of these acts and to vote instead for those who promote policies in keeping with moral law.

This year, Catholics will face some of these questions as specific ballot issues in states like Massachusetts, where a measure providing for “assisted suicide” will be put to a vote, and in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, where measures either allowing same-sex “marriage” or defining marriage are on the ballot.

Religious liberty

In addition, Catholics must examine the positions of individual candidates and party platforms on these important non-negotiables. For example, in the current presidential race, the Democratic candidate supports abortion on demand and same-sex “marriage,” as does his party platform.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., recently called attention to the Democratic Party platform, warning that it endorses intrinsic evils. “My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote,” he wrote in his Sept. 23 column in the Catholic Times, his diocesan newspaper. “But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues. I would be abdicating this duty if I remained silent out of fear of sounding ‘political’ and didn’t say anything about the morality of these issues.”

Bishop Paprocki went on to caution that voting for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil makes a voter “morally complicit” and even places his or her eternal salvation in jeopardy.

The bishop said the Republican Party platform contains nothing that supports or promotes intrinsic evil.

Another issue facing Catholics as they go to the polls this year will be the question of religious liberty in the wake of the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services mandate requiring all health insurance plans, even those of church-based organizations and institutions, to provide coverage for contraception, including abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization.

More than 100 plaintiffs — including Legatus and many of its members — have filed suit against the federal government over the HHS contraception mandate.

In “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” U.S. bishops express concern about efforts to force Catholic employers to either violate their consciences or stop serving those in need.

Despite requests for conscience-protection provisions, the government’s exemption has been limited to groups and institutions that employ and serve only people of their own faith.

Besides abortion, euthanasia and efforts to redefine marriage, the bishops also have cited as concerns the current economic crisis, increasing deficits, failure to repair a broken immigration system, and the problems of war, terror and violence.

However, they make clear that although some of the issues raise serious moral questions, not all involve intrinsic evil.

Judy Roberts is Legatus magazine’s staff— writer.

Five non-negotiables

These five current issues concern actions that are intrinsically evil and must never be promoted by the law.

1. Abortion
2. Euthanasia
3. Embryonic stem-cell research
4. Human cloning
5. Homosexual “marriage”

Resources

usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship

politicalresponsibility.com

catholicvote.org

What’s at stake on November 6

Alan Sears writes that the values Americans hold sacred are up for grabs this year . . .

Alan Sears

With Election Day right around the corner, Americans must decide not only who will serve in office, but how those “personnel choices” will affect crucial federal and state-level issues foundational to our nation’s heritage and to our continuance in the image envisioned by our Founders.

A quick look at recent headlines easily demonstrates that three of those issues — religious freedom, marriage, and the sanctity of life — are facing some of the most serious challenges we’ve seen in our nation’s history. (Click here for a related story.)

In probably the most prominent example, religious freedom has literally been under assault since ObamaCare’s introduction in 2009. The passage of that bill into law in March 2010 only upped the ante, and has since spawned an abortion pill mandate that literally forces business owners to forego their consciences and their faith in order to provide health insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraceptives for employees.

We witnessed a significant victory against the abortion pill mandate in August when Denver-based Hercules Industries won an injunction against the mandate. The company is led by Denver Chapter Legates William and Andrew Newland.

Alliance Defending Freedom represents Hercules in that case, and we were happy to see them secure relief from the coercion other businesses in America still face. Everyone needs to remember that votes cast at all levels on Nov. 6 will affect decision-makers who will have the power to repeal this mandate altogether.

Marriage, the most fundamental building block to the health and survival of the nation, is also endangered at the federal level and in many states across the country this November.

The Obama administration has not enforced the Defense of Marriage Act since officially announcing their opposition to the law on Feb. 23, 2011. This move emboldened individuals and special interest groups nationwide to push the redefinition of marriage. It opened the door for those seeking to impose a homosexual agenda on the military through repeal of the military’s so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in September 2011. It gave way to our President announcing his support for same-sex “marriage” in May 2012.

Not surprisingly, there are now efforts to secure same-sex “marriage” ceremonies for U.S. forces. The future of these ceremonies and, most importantly, the protection of religious freedom for chaplains who have biblical convictions against performing them, is in the hands of members of the House and Senate — many of whom Americans will have the opportunity to support or oppose in just a few days.

And at the state level, ballot initiatives in Maine, Minnesota, Maryland, and Washington will allow citizens of those states to decide whether they wish to protect and preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman. These ballot initiatives are crucial not only for those states themselves but also because other states are watching. For example, groups in California, Colorado, Florida, Nebraska, and Ohio are already collecting signatures for proposed initiatives that either legalize same-sex “marriage” or repeal an existing ban on it.

Life is also on the ballot this November — both directly and indirectly. As Legatus magazine featured last month, Massachusetts voters will decide whether doctor-prescribed death will become the law of the land as it is in three other states. The “Death with Dignity Act,” which is on the ballot in the Commonwealth, allows doctors to prescribe life-ending medications for patients who then take the drugs home and end their lives when they’re ready.

It’s a surreal proposal, reminiscent of the famous lines of “Invictus” by English poet William Ernest Henley: “I am the captain of my fate. I am the master of my soul.” And it begs the question: Do we take our lives into our own hands only for the purpose of throwing them away with a prescription? Suffering patients need understanding and sound medical treatment, not encouragement to kill themselves.

Voters this year, as in all years, must look at the policies surrounding life that each candidate is promoting, weigh the candidate’s position, and choose those who will stand against the culture of death by standing for a culture of life.

Dropping our guard is simply not an option this November. Religious freedom, marriage, and life face serious challenges that simply cannot be put off for consideration in some future election cycle. The time is now. Your vote may help carry the day.

Alan Sears is a former federal prosecutor who held various posts in the departments of Justice and Interior during the Reagan administration. He is president and CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom. He and his wife Paula are members of Legatus’ Phoenix Chapter.

Why marriage matters

The consequences of same-sex ‘marriage’ will be severe for employers and people of faith . . .

Brian S. Brown

Brian S. Brown

Should we permit the government to redefine marriage? Some politicians and judges are moving in that direction, but Catholic leaders are asking the faithful to speak up for the truth about marriage.

Just recently Minnesota’s Catholic bishops sent a DVD to every Catholic family in the state. Featuring a presentation about the importance of marriage by Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, the DVD clearly laid out why marriage, as the union of a man and a woman, should matter to every Catholic — and why marriage is at the core of the Catholic faith and all of society. Marriage deserves its unique status in law and society because marital unions are the only kind that can make new life and connect those children to the mother and father who made them.

Marriage is the very foundation of civil society. Intuitively, we realize it’s the natural way we bring together men and women to conceive and raise the next generation. The complementary nature of the sexes is not only at the heart of the human experience, it’s one we can see throughout nature — and one Christ speaks to us about in the Gospel.

Until quite recently, it was universally accepted by every society and every generation that ever lived that you need at least one man and one woman to make a marriage. Some political activists have recently succeeded in turning marriage into a political issue. That’s unfortunate because marriage as we have always known it has served society well. It’s the social norm that brings the two great halves of society together and unites them with any children that come from that union. Nurturing a thriving, natural marriage culture is critical for society.

Advocates of same-sex “marriage” would have you believe that gay “marriage” will simply exist alongside traditional marriage — that it’s a different expression of the same thing and that gay “marriages” will have no effect on anyone else. That’s a false premise. The heart of the gay “marriage” idea is this: There is no difference between same-sex and opposite sex couples — and if you see a difference, there’s something wrong with you. You’re like a bigot opposed to interracial marriage. When the government endorses this strange new idea, watch out!

Gay “marriage” has clear consequences, and there are many for people of faith, for religious organizations, for those who don’t accept this redefinition of marriage, and especially for children. What will happen to children growing up in a world where the law teaches them that moms and dads are interchangeable and that marriage has nothing intrinsically to do with the bearing and raising of children? This is exactly what a federal judge did in San Francisco when he found that Proposition 8 and traditional marriage violate the U.S. constitution. If his ruling is upheld, or if legislatures do what so many gay activists demand and redefine marriage, then children will be told exactly that — you don’t need a mother and a father. Any two will do.

In some states, children as young as First Grade are taught in public school that gay “marriage” and traditional marriage are the same. Teachers use books like King and King where two princes “marry” each other and go on to rule the Kingdom happily ever after.

Under this “new” approach to marriage, children will be taught that the “old” way of thinking about marriage no longer applies. In fact, this “old” way is actually discriminatory and bigoted — and those who cling to it are like the racists of history who opposed interracial marriage. This, too, is what Judge Vaughn Walker found in his Prop 8 decision.

Think about it from this perspective: When was the last time you could ignore a law simply because you don’t agree with it? If the government increases your taxes, you can’t refuse to pay because you don’t agree with it. You’ll be forced to pay.

The same is true if marriage is redefined. You may disagree because of religious, cultural, family or other considerations, but you will be forced to accept it whether you like it or not. If you tell your kids that your family believes marriage is between a man and a woman, their teachers will correct them in the schoolhouse.

If you’re a professional, such as an estate attorney or a marriage counselor, you won’t be able to refuse to perform a service such as preparing a will or providing counseling for a “married” gay couple. Under the law, your license will be at risk. If you run a religious school that wants to teach that marriage is only between a man and a woman, your accreditation will be at risk.

These are just a few of the dozens of examples of consequences that prominent legal scholars from some of the nation’s most prestigious universities have warned about in letters to legislatures across the country. Some of these experts actually support same-sex “marriage,” but they do so knowing that the consequences will be profound.

Lawmaking should be about pursuing the common good. And marriage, as the foundation of a civil society, is at the core of our common good.

Brian S. Brown is president of the National Organization for Marriage and a member of Legatus’ Northern Virginia Chapter.