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.

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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