Sex, Marriage, and Video

The Iowa electorate deep-sixed three judges the other week. We’re one of the states, you know, where same-sex marriage is possible/approved/legal/getting done. An interesting conversation between one of our students and one of my campus ministry colleagues last week:

Student: I’m happy about the elections

CM: Why is that?

Student: There’s a good chance that health care reform will get rolled back.

CM: And this is a good thing?

Student: I don’t want people telling me what I have to buy.

CM: Sounds reasonable. Anything else?

Student: Well, they voted out those judges that approved same-sex marriage.

CM: So … it’s a good thing the government can’t tell you what to do, but it’s okay that they can tell gays and lesbians what not to do.

Student: … … … Well …

I wasn’t aware there was controversy about Archbishop Nienstedt and his pre-election video production.

Another curiosity about the opposition to same-sex marriage. First, sex between consenting adults is pretty much legal everywhere. And the Church considers it a grave moral sin.

Second, most of the legal benefits for marriage are included in the category of morally positive: shared ownership, shared responsibility of raising children, visiting the sick, caring for the elderly, even a lower carbon footprint.

So … my concern isn’t that the archbishop is “wasting” money he could direct to the poor. Why didn’t he make a video telling Catholics to oppose sex outside of marriage as a legal reality. Because that’s what the core sin is here, right? It’s mostly about the sex. Why are Minnesota and Iowa bishops concerned about marriage? Because the real threat, the real immorality, is the sex.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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2 Responses to Sex, Marriage, and Video

  1. Patti says:

    “oppose sex outside of marriage as a legal reality,” does that mean that we start fining/ jailing people who have sex outside of marriage?

    It’s a ridiculous double-bind for gays/ lesbians: you can’t have sex outside of marriage, but oops, you can’t marry. Well, there you go: you’re not wired quite right, so you need to be celibate because you make the rest of us uncomfortable. I’ve never found this to be a very compassionate position.

    I’ve long believed that only churches should be able to ‘marry’ couples and all civil ceremonies should be civil unions – no matter who is being joined. That might actually lower the bar for gays and lesbians to gain the same civil rights that the rest of the country enjoys and the churches could decide which unions they would bless. What those who oppose same-sex marriage seem to forget is that all marriages have stabilizing effects on the larger community. Families are the cornerstone of our society and marriages create families.

  2. Todd says:

    “… does that mean that we start fining/ jailing people who have sex outside of marriage?”

    It’s the only logical consequence of the bishops’ arguments. I just want to see one of them make it. They did such a good job promoting celibacy as either an honored way of religious life or a fallback position for people who weren’t born heterosexual.

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