Archives for posts with tag: Catholicism

I have a confession to make. Though I am a Catholic, I am also a Libertarian. This is a conflict with regards to the whole issue of gay marriage.

As Catholics go, I’m not very good at it. I don’t go to Mass or Reconciliation as often as I should. There are some viewpoints the Church holds with which I disagree. I don’t have a problem with the priesthood being for men only, I understand why that is so and I don’t feel that the role of women is diminished in any way because they can’t serve in persona Christi. I feel that the Church did not respond well to the sex abuse scandal but that they have come very far to right that wrong. I think that marriage in the eyes of God is that between a man and a woman.

I don’t agree that letting two men get married is going to destroy the institution of marriage.

What is a Libertarian, exactly? Here are a few good quotations that will help answer that.

“As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives, and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others. We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized. Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.” – from the Preamble to the Libertarian Party Platform
“Libertarians believe in individual liberty, personal responsibility and freedom from government – on all issues at all times… A libertarian is someone who thinks you should be free to live your life as you want to live it, not as [the President of the United States] thinks you should – who believes you should raise your children by your values, not those of some far-off bureaucrat who’s using your child as a pawn to create some brave new world – who thinks that, because you’re the one who gets up every day and goes to work, you should be free to keep every dollar you earn, to spend it, save it, give it away as you think best.”Harry Browne (1933-2006);1996 and 2000 Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate and author of Liberty A-Z: 872 Libertarian Soundbites You Can Use Right Now! 

So I have no issue if the government, insurance company or state wants to recognize that two people who both happen to be male (or female) want to enter into a contract where all their worldly goods are combined. That means they get taxed like a married couple, have to go through all the normal legal paperwork involved in being a couple and go through divorce proceedings like everyone else. The government’s role should be strictly limited, but I can see the value of a government having some record that these two women (or men) have both agreed to the deal and all that it entails. I don’t see why the tax system needs to differentiate, why not just all file individually at a flat rate?

Divorce lawyers are probably planning how to spend all those bonus fees, now another segment of the population can get married and then divorced. On a side note, I would be interested to see the divorce rate among homosexual couples vs heterosexual couples 5 years from now.
But this is a two way street, as I have said before. Gay couples can now live the way they choose so now they have to let others do the same. This means that people can object to the marriage and refuse to condone it by participating.

Yes, that means that bakers and wedding planners should be allowed to say no to a gay couple. Maybe people don’t realize it, but privately held businesses say no to customers all the time. Maybe it’s because they are asking for something that can’t be done or sometimes the business says no because the customer is being rude. I’ve worked in retail environments where I said no because I knew that the person’s request was impossible. I suggested alternatives, even going so far as to refer them to someone else. The bakers and wedding planners can do the same. “I’m sorry, but I don’t work with those kind of events, let me refer you to Baker #2 who will be happy to help you.”

Now, capitalism will rule here. People will either shun or flock to a business that posts this policy. But that is their choice again. I know people who never eat at Chik-Fil-A or shop at Hobby Lobby and I know people who go out of their way to patronize those places. I know people who go where the food is good and the prices are right and don’t give a damn about politics. So the baker or wedding planner my lose money but they should be subjected to a lawsuit. If the discrimination reaches the levels of the Jim Crow laws, government should step in. We don’t need to repeat that. But I don’t think we’re there. The hate isn’t institutionalized to the point where we have signs the say “Straights Only” on the water fountains.

Churches should not be forced to perform the ceremony if it violates their beliefs. Why would a gay couple want to be married in a church that does not reflect any of their values? Catholics get the bad rap on this one, but that is not the only church which is against performing same sex couple marriage ceremonies.

Freedom for everyone! Including the ones who don’t believe whatever the media says is right and wrong.

I fear that ruling is going to create a whole host of lawsuits from the minority militant group who want to “create some brave new world” (Harry Browne) where only one view is tolerated. Already people who disagree with this ruling are keeping silent rather than be seen as a bigot.

I think the world is improved anytime two people can find the person they love and get to live their lives with them. We don’t need to see more of people acting out of hate. But we achieve that by realizing that there are multiple viewpoints and sometimes you just need to agree to disagree.
It is wrong to deny housing, a job, equal opportunities for education, loans, or access to medical care to any person. All humans deserve to treated with dignity, but a baker can politely decline to do business without removing that dignity.


You could compare the format of this book to an interview with sound bites giving answers to some pretty heavy questions. But unlike the 30 seconds of answers, you get a concise and well thought out response.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope in 2013, this book was written and published in 2010. You can see in retrospect how these views have shaped his tenure as Pope. He is liberal in some of his views, but liberal in a Catholic sense. After reading about what he thinks on issues such as fundamentalism, divorce, same-sex marriage and politics, I can see a good future for the Church.
I was surprised by some answers in the book. When they were discussing faith and atheism, both men had respect for them, and neither took the stance that some fundamentalists do condemning them forever. Skorka even mentioned that believers have doubts and doubts about the existence of God are natural. Pope Francis has a very humble response to non-believers.
I learned a lot about the Jewish faith and where they stand on the same issues. While I am familiar with some aspects of Judaism from friends and studying it in Religious Education, I didn’t know where they stood on these issues. Abraham Skorka also mentions some differences within the spectrum of Jewish faith, from Orthodox to Reformed.
This is not a heavily theological book, though Doctors of the Church and other sources are mentioned and cited. I think that both men could have said volumes on each subject but they wanted to give a more direct answer. In some cases I wish that both of them had said more.
If you are curious about the new Pope or want to understand the relationship between Judaism and Catholicism, this is a good source. I enjoyed reading this and would recommend it to anyone in Catechism class..
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.