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05/04/2011

Maggie in '06: When admitting she's out to 'save Catholic marriage' was less politically risky

by Jeremy Hooper

From time to time, we criticize National Organization For Marriage Chair Maggie Gallagher for refusing to acknowledge that her (and her organization's) fundamental reason for opposing CIVIL equality lies not in constitutional reads but rather in canonical law. Because it's just so obvious:

But it turns out that back in 2006, before Prop 8 brought so much attention to those who deny basic fairness and shined heightened scrutiny on the Maggie-Gallagherjustifications these "culture warriors" use to carry out the ignoble civil rights mission, Maggie actually was being a little more honest about her motivations. And not just when it comes to marriage, but also to things like "the sin of contraception," as she lashed out against the overall "culture of death."

Here are some snips and a link to M.G.'s full piece:

If the Catholic Church’s teachings are based on natural law, available to rational people of good will, how is it that the Church finds it so difficult to defend its vision of marriage, not only in the public square, but even to church-going Catholics in free, democratic, developed nations? If marriage is natural, as the Catholic Church has always taught, why is it becoming so hard to defend marriage both in the pews and in the public square?
...
Most who work in the area of marriage are aware of how challenging it is to make the case that contraception is morally wrong, not only in the public square but to the majority of Catholics.
...
The leaders of the Catholic Church, lay and clerical, must resist the temptation to view these latest ideological assaults on marriage as just one more sad chapter in the very long, sorry history of sexual sin. There has always been a lot of sexual sin in the world, and, until the Second Coming, there will likely always be a lot of sexual sin...But to understand the current contemporary attack on marriage and family as merely a values issue—the inevitable failure of individuals to attain an ideal—is to underestimate its power. This latest iteration of a culture of death represents an institutional attack on the capacity of the Catholic Church to transmit faith into the future.
...
V. C
AN WE SAVE CATHOLIC MARRIAGE?
This daunting question can be translated along operational lines: can we do a better job of transmitting a Catholic marriage culture to Catholics and their children?
...
Persuading people of the sin of contraception may be important, but it is even more important to persuade them that babies, families, sex, love, and marriage are good.
IF MARRIAGE IS NATURAL, WHY IS DEFENDING IT SO HARD? TAKING UP THE CHALLENGE TO MARRIAGE IN THE PEWS AND THE PUBLIC SQUARE [Ave Maria Law Review]

Look, as we've said several times before: Maggie, Brian, Robert George, Jennifer Roback Morse, the Haas family, Opus Fidelis, and everyone else at NOM have every right to use their Catholic beliefs against whatever "evils" they perceive in the world. However: THEY NEED TO OWN THEIR MOTIVATIONS! At this point, NOM is essentially like a Catholic variation on the Southern Baptist Convention: Working alongside others for the common fight, but nevertheless working from the foundation of their chosen, personal faith. But unlike SBC, NOM tries with all of its organizational might to hide their religious basis, acting as if they exist for varied motivations that are only tangentially related to their pray. And that deceptive public positioning is unfair to this entire debate.

Without Catholic motivation, there would be no NOM. Period. If we can have the fortitude to acknowledge this fact, then they, the believers who signed up to stand with their faith, should be able to do so as well.

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