Purple Priestly Prose in the ProJo

I usually keep it clean on Kmareka, the standard being to write nothing that Kiersten would be embarrassed to have her kids read. I take it as a challenge to try to convey my dislike of some people by neither suggesting they do things to themselves that are physically impossible, or to accuse them of acts that I don’t seriously think they committed. When I want to be exposed to that kind of language I read Jesus General.

I’ve written many times that the claim of same-sex couples to legally marry is just, and comparable to the case for interracial marriage that was made by the Supreme Court decision, Loving v. Virginia in 1967. Having been in a long-term interracial marriage I have some sense of the fragility of our civil rights and the tyranny of the majority. I don’t appreciate Rev. John A. Kiley demanding in his letter in today’s ProJo that we be ‘outraged’ that same-sex marriage rights are compared to the rights of interracial couples.

Says Rev. Kiley:

“There is nothing disturbed, disordered or unnatural about a person from one race marrying a person of another race.”

Thanks, Rev. That’s real liberal of you. I feel really safe.

He continues,

“In an interracial marriage the male can certainly place his life-giving fluids into the female’s fruitful organs. The female can certainly accept the male’s fertilizing donation into her productive anatomy.”

Whew. I need to get a glass of water and pour it on my head.

“Same-sex unions frustrate, thwart and obstruct the procreative purpose of marriage.”

This brings up a few questions in my mind, such as what happens as the decades pass and the anatomy is no longer productive but you are still very fond of one another. Is placing the fluids a sin? Mortal or venial?

Some in my family have adopted children. Is this cheating?

This explicit description suggests that birth control is sinful. I heard that said at the State House, from the opponents of same-sex marriage. I wrote about it here in Marriage and Procreation.

Birth control being so unnatural, you’d think the Rev. would cast an eye on his own congregation, because I’ll bet there’s more than a few who stand in the way of nature, with some wimpy excuse about having all the children they can support, or whining about their health. Where’s their faith? And who better to advise them than a priest?

A priest who invokes nature, yet is committed to a life that requires him to deny nature and refrain from procreating. That’s his right. It’s a valid choice, because there is more to human relationships than coupling up. A celibate person can have profound love in their life, why not? There’s more than one way of loving. And more than one way of hating. ‘Unnatural’ is a slur, or meant to be, but it’s pretty meaningless. All of us are an uneasy mix of nature and socialization. Our nature doesn’t change, but society does.

Society has come to generally accept interracial marriage. This victory over prejudice was not achieved by moral leadership of a church, but by what would now be called ‘activist judges’ on a liberal Supreme Court. So it’s not okay for Rev. Kiley to demand outrage from those of us who are in an interracial marriage. His church has no special creds in that area.

One woman who does have moral authority spoke on behalf of same-sex couples.

Mildred Loving was widowed a few years after she and Richard won the right to have their marriage respected in all fifty states. Mildred had this to say in an interview.

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people civil rights.

I’m grateful for the courageous stand that she and Richard took for their right to marry. Standing by your life partner in the face of opposition is something that she, and I, and all who face and fight prejudice understand.

5 thoughts on “Purple Priestly Prose in the ProJo

  1. “In an interracial marriage the male can certainly place his life-giving fluids into the female’s fruitful organs.”

    Excuse me? I almost choked on my morning coffee while reading this. Wow.

    Great post, Nancy!

  2. Is it, then, a sin if a man marries a woman who is past monopause, or has had her ovaries surgically removed?
    I know a man who lost one testicle to cancer, and the other to a car accident. He then got married. He takes testosterone and he and his wife adopted their children. Is that marriage a sin?

  3. “The female can certainly accept the male’s fertilizing donation into her productive anatomy.”
    Whew. I haven’t heard this kind of language since 6th grade health class.
    And does this mean the reverend is endorsing artificial insemination?

  4. A couple of things.

    People like the Rev Kiley are opposed to birth control. Bascially, they oppose the whole concept that anyone can have sex w/o the possibility of procreation. Their essential purpose is to prohibit sexuality.

    “Better to marry, than to burn with lust.” Good ol’ St Paul. Such a jolly fellow.

    And, I’ve said this before. Marriage is a legal issue, not a religious one. The minister says ‘by the power vested in me by the state of….’ rather than the power vested by God.

    Marriage is concerned about property. Don’t beleive that? Try getting divorced. The acrimony is all about who gets what. Our notion of marriage derived from agricultural conditions, and became necessary to determine who got the land. It predates the Christian church by millenia.

    As such, how marriage is defined is a purely secular issue. If religions want to add a layer of sanctity, fine. But religion cannot define the legal framework, any more than the General Assembly can legislate Catholic doctrine.

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