Melanie Baker

Opposing same-sex ‘marriage’ in truth and charity

Melanie Baker
By Melanie Baker

June 4, 2012 (HLIAmerica.org) - Last month, President Barack Obama weighed in on the national debate over the redefinition of marriage: “I have to tell you that … at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” Why? ABC News reports:

The president stressed that this is a personal position, and that he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own. But he said he’s confident that more Americans will grow comfortable with gays and lesbians getting married, citing his own daughters’ comfort with the concept. “It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” the president continued. … You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.

President Barack Obama, meet Gilbert Keith Chesterton: “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”

It is quite true that our young people are being taught to be “open-minded” in our school system, both at the elementary and collegiate levels. Anything that in the least bit way smacks of intolerance or disapproval for a lifestyle that is non-traditional is tantamount to bigotry and racism.

To a certain extent, of course, there is some merit in this sort of perspective. There is the undeniable polar opposite: senseless and unjust persecution and mockery, which all violate personal dignity. But I would submit that the two extremes actually have the same root: the lack of contact with the truth.

In a country where same-sex couples already are afforded the same treatment as married couples, where virtually every organization states openly that it does not discriminate on the basis of one’s sexual orientation and where gays and lesbians are openly integrated members of society, why is there such a need for such same-sex couples to be specifically recognized as “married?” And why the insistence that failure to cede such recognition is tantamount to bigotry?

It would seem that the real agenda is not equality, not a legitimate fight for “rights,” but an unreasonable demand that society and the state both declare that the homosexual sexual act is fully equivalent to the heterosexual one. Quite simply, however, it is not.

Click “like” if you want to defend true marriage.

A man and a woman can naturally produce a child, a new person. Neither two men nor two women can do this. There is something wholly unique to the relationship between a man and a woman that begets new life, and faithfully nurtures this new life, that is found in no other relationship between two persons. This is one reason why two gays or two lesbians can never be said to be “married,” if the word is to mean anything at all. There is simply something essential lacking to their sexual union that precludes that union from qualifying as a marriage.

This is basic biology. Were I to demand that Congress pass a law stating that a square is also a circle, or that the color red is equally blue or that plastic is the same substance as aluminum, would I be able to, in justice, accuse anyone of bigotry or intolerance if they did not give in to my demands?

Nature and biology are independent of, and larger than, our personal choices and fancies; we are neither bigots nor racists for simply affirming their truth. In fact, barring any traumas or abusive experiences, which can severely distort one’s natural development, living according to the truth of nature is extraordinarily fulfilling. And this is not an accident; God is provident and wishes our happiness. There is divine wisdom and love inscribed in the laws of nature.

And this reality dovetails with the next point, that of the opposite extreme: rejecting others whose choices do not reflect my own. Those who will go to any length to eradicate anyone who is different also fail to abide by the truth, one that is certainly natural but harder to access because of original sin: the truth of the dignity of the person, made in God’s image and likeness. The Golden Rule, as well as the commandment to love one another as Christ has loved us, prohibits us from judging others and, worse, imposing our subjective standards on others as a norm of life. Rather, these two norms make clear that we are to live within the bounds set by love and truth: to respect the other and always do that which will help them flourish. Sometimes this will be uncontroversial – all the countless experiences we have of harmony and friendship with others. At other times it will be arduous – as when we need to firmly yet lovingly call one another to live in the truth, which, ultimately, will make us fulfilled. Charity and truth can never be separated. As Pope Benedict XVI tells us in Caritas in veritate, “Truth without charity is empty, and charity without truth is blind.”

To condone every choice as sacred just for the fact that it is a choice, without any thought to the objective norms which provide the substance, occasion and direction for our choices, is to implode as a human person. It is to attempt to live a blind, indiscriminate acceptance of every choice, irrespective of its tie or lack thereof to nature and reality. This blindness can hardly be called freedom. Freedom requires a platform from which to launch, and this platform is none other than the truth of our nature. A chef is not “free” to cook well without the different seasonings and foods found in nature; a mechanic is not “free” to truly fix anything without learning the parts and functions of the machine in question; a musician is not “free” to be a virtuoso without mastering the technique required to handle his instrument.

Just so, one cannot be free as a person without first acknowledging the truth of his nature. And this truth must be lived in its totality: it must include an acknowledgement of the other as an image of God, deserving of respect and love. Otherwise, this truth will be empty and be perceived as confining.

Our children, youth and young adults deserve to be given the truth in charity. Anything less, far from being “open-minded,” is a deterrent to their true flourishing as persons.

Melanie Baker is a Contributing Writer of HLI America, an educational initiative of Human Life International. She writes for the Truth and Charity Forum.


Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

African researchers warn early sexual activity increases risk of cancers

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A report on rising cancer rates in Africa delivered at a conference in Namibia last week warned that oral contraceptives and engaging in sexual activity from a young age lead to an increased risk of breast and reproductive system cancers.

Researchers presented the "2014 Integrated Africa Cancer Fact Sheet & Summary Score Card" during the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia from July 20 to 22, noted that cancer is a growing health problem in many developing countries and that breast and cervical cancer are the most common forms affecting African women.

The report said that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) play a major role in reproductive system cancers and that young girls who engage in sexual activity risk getting, among other STDs, the human papilloma virus (HPV), some strains of which are linked to cervical cancer.

The report said although HPV infections are common in healthy women, they are usually fought off by the body’s immune system, with no discernible symptoms or health consequences.

The Cancer Association of South Africa points out that of the scores of HPV types, 14 of the more than 40 sexually transmitted varieties are considered "high risk" for causing serious illness, while two, HPV-16 and HPV-18, are linked to cervical cancer.

“Long-term use of oral contraceptives is also associated with increased risk [of cancer], and women living with HIV-AIDS are at increased risk of cervical cancer,” the report said.

Dr. Thandeka Mazibuko, a South African oncologist, told the conference attendees that when an 18-year-old is diagnosed with cervical cancer, “this means sex is an important activity in her life and she indulged from a young age.”

Mazibuko said the standard treatment for cancer of the cervix is seven weeks of radiation therapy.

“After the treatment they cannot have sex with their husbands or partners. They cannot bear children because everything has been closed up. Some may still have the womb but radiation makes them infertile,” Mazibuko said, according to a report in The Namibian.

Statistics from the Cancer Association of Namibia show that cases of cervical cancer have risen from 129 in 2005 to 266 in 2012.

The SCCA Conference theme was, "Moving forward to end Cervical Cancer by 2030: Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention."

In his keynote address, host and Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba urged African countries to help each other to expand and modernize health care delivery in the continent.

"Within the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and sustainable development goals, the provision of adequate health care to African women and children must be re-emphasized," said the president, according to AllAfrica.

The Namibian leader urged mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months as a measure to prevent breast cancer.


Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Allow ‘lethal injection’ for poor to save on palliative care: Lithuanian health minister

Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary
By Hilary White

Euthanasia is a solution for terminally ill poor people who cannot afford palliative care and who do not want to “see their families agonize” over their suffering, Lithuania’s health minister said last week.

In an interview on national television, Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė added that the Belgian law on child euthanasia ought to be “taken into account” as well. 

Šalaševičiūtė told TV3 News that Lithuania, a country whose population is 77 percent Catholic, is not a welfare state and cannot guarantee quality palliative care for all those in need of it. The solution, therefore, would be “lethal injection.”

“It is time to think through euthanasia in these patients and allow them to make a decision: to live or die,” she said.

Direct euthanasia remains illegal in the Balkan state, but activists tried to bring it to the table in 2012. A motion to drop the planned bill was passed in the Parliament in March that year in a vote of 75 to 14. Since then the country has undergone a change in government in which the far-left Social Democrats have formed the largest voting bloc.

Šalaševičiūtė is a member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, the party originally established in the late 19th century – re-formed in the late 1980s – from Marxist principles and now affiliated with the international Party of European Socialists and Socialist International.

Fr. Andrius Narbekovas, a prominent priest, lecturer, physician, bioethicist, and member of the government’s bioethics committee, called the suggestion “satanic,” according to Delfi.lt. He issued a statement saying it is the purpose of the Ministry of Health to “protect the health and life, instead of looking for ways to take away life.”

“We understand that people who are sick are in need of funds. But a society that declares itself democratic, should very clearly understand that we have to take care of the sick, not kill them,” he said.


Advertisement
Featured Image
Islamists in Mosul mark Christian homes with an Arabic "N" for Nazarene.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

We must open wide our doors to Iraq’s Christians

Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones J.D.

On July 18, the largest Christian community in Iraq, the Chaldean Catholics of Mosul, were given a grotesque ultimatum: leave your ancestral home, convert to Islam, or die.

All but forgotten by the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world, these last Christians who still speak Jesus’ native tongue of Aramaic and live in the land of Abraham and Jonah are being wiped out before our very eyes.

As a way of issuing a thinly-veiled threat, reminiscent of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the Arabic letter “N” (for Nazarean) has been painted on the outside of the homes of all known Christians in Mosul.

These threats, issued by the fanatical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) known for its bloodthirsty rampage of executions, have been taken very seriously by the several hundred thousand Christians in Mosul who have left with little more than the clothes they were wearing. 

At least most of these Christians were able to flee and find temporary protection among the Kurds in their semi-autonomous region.  However the Kurds do not have the resources to defend or shelter the Chaldean Christians for much longer.

On Monday, during an interview on Fox News, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who recently joined with 54 other members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama asking him to act to protect these communities, stated that while Iraqi President Maliki had sent military flights to Mosul to evacuate Shiite Muslims, the US has done nothing to protect the Chaldean Christians.  Rep. Wolf also stated emphatically that President Obama has done “almost nothing” about the genocide taking place.

The silence from the White House is deafening.  But the lack of leadership from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America has been shocking as well.

Nevertheless, the plight of these Iraqi Christians is beginning to be taken seriously.   This is due in large part to the heroic efforts of local Iraqi religious leaders like Chaldean Patriarch Sako, who has gone on a whirlwind tour of the world to alert us all of the plight of these Iraqi Christians.  In a statement demonstrating his character, he told the Christians of Iraq last week, “We are your shepherds, and with our full responsibility towards you we will stay with you to the end, will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices.”

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was launched there were approximately 1.5 to 2 million Christians living in Iraq.  Today, there are believed to be less than 200,000.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Now that the world is beginning to be aware of the genocide in Northern Iraq, many of us ask ourselves: what can we do?  As citizens and as Christians blessed to live in nations with relative peace and security, what can we do?

The answer is quite simple and unexpected.  Demand that our government and church pull its head out of the sand and follow France. Yes, France.  

Yesterday, in a heroic gesture of Christian solidarity that would make Joan of Arc proud, the government of France opened wide its doors to the persecuted Iraqi Christians.  

”France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, said in a joint statement on Monday.

"The ultimatum given to these communities in Mosul by ISIS is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat that jihadist groups in Iraq, but also in Syria and elsewhere, pose to these populations that are historically an integral part of this region," they added. "We are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil.  We are in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them.”

The French statement drives home three crucial elements that every government, especially the United States, should communicate immediately:

  1. Recognize the genocide and name the perpetrators and victims.

  2. Officially condemn what is happening in the strongest terms.

  3. Offer a solution that includes cooperation with local authorities but which leads by making solid commitments such as offering asylum or other forms of protection.

With regard to the Church, we should look to the Chaldean Patriarch and the Iraqi bishops who shared their expectations explicitly in an open letter to “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world” to take “practical actions to assure our people, not merely expressions of condemnation.”  Noticeably, the last section of the letter from the Iraqi bishops, before a final prayer to God, is an expression of thanks to the Kurdish government, which has welcomed them not just with “expressions” of goodwill but, like France, with a sacrificial hospitality.

On Friday, July 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did issue a statement, but unfortunately it lacked much in terms of leadership or solutions.  We should encourage our bishops to do better than that, be bolder and stronger for our persecuted brothers and sisters, name names and offer concrete sacrificial aid. In a word, be more like the French.

In 1553, Rome welcomed the Chaldean church into the fold of the Catholic Church.  Nearly 500 years later, Catholic Americans must find ways to welcome these persecuted people into our country, into our churches, and into our own homes if need be.

I say, I am with you St. Joan of Arc.   I am with you, France.  I am with you, Chaldeans!

Gualberto Garcia Jones is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that seeks to advance the fundamental rights to life, the natural family, and religious liberty through international law and international relations. 


Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook