Posted by: readerjohn | July 22, 2014

Emperor Barry’s Religious Establishment

  1. Unitarian Theocrats Enthroned Monday
  2. BFOQ’s two-word defense
  3. Are black people really white?

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Posted by: readerjohn | July 22, 2014

Tuesday, 7/22/14

  1. Salt of the Earth
  2. Those Poor Middle East Christians
  3. Enough already!
  4. Every silver lining has a cloud
  5. A bad bet we keep making
  6. Love ain’t love
  7. The Wisdom of Bodies
  8. 1 for 806

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Posted by: readerjohn | July 21, 2014

Monday, 7/21/14

  1. God can’t be bracketed
  2. Large and startling figures
  3. “Contraceptives”: What do manufacturers and FDA say?
  4. Positive Rights
  5. The Church ain’t no club, idiot
  6. Slaves of a violent god

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Posted by: readerjohn | July 18, 2014

Friday, 7/18/14

  1. Writing versus other callings
  2. Equality gone wild
  3. Siriusly Stultifying
  4. Proof of God

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Posted by: readerjohn | July 12, 2014

What is Marriage?

My apologies to Robert P. George, Ryan Anderson and Sherif Girgis for the caption. They’re almost completely innocent of what follows.

During a period of wakefulness in the night, in the dark and quiet, I was trying to figure out what marriage is if it isn’t what mankind had always thought it was. I came up with this this working definition: “Marriage is that institution of which it is irrational to think that it requires opposite sexes.”

Call me a curmudgeon, but that seems to be a bit thin. But this item was a couple of days in the making, and it unfolds.

Wikipedia says marriage “is a socially or ritually recognized union or legal contract between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between them, between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws.” I can already see some reason in that definition for thinking that marriage does require opposite sexes. I trust you can, too.

It took me a few days (from first draft of this) to get around to reading the decision that struck down my state’s marriage law, but here seems to be the judge’s tacit conception of marriage:

[A] public commitment to form an exclusive relationship and create a family with a partner with whom the person shares an intimate and sustaining emotional bond.

I think the judge just described a wedding, not a marriage,but never mind.

But I can’t “never mind” that this tacit judicial definition follows hard on the heels of the Judge’s insistence (based on SCOTUS precedent) that the law cannot be based on morality. So we can strike the “exclusive” from “exclusive relationship” without even dredging up the usual talking points about gay male promiscuity.

And the judge knows that same-sex couples can’t procreate together, so I’m a little fuzzy on what “create a family” means. Sorry if that sounds disrespectful, but I’m at least equal opportunity tactless: I don’t consider childless opposite-sex couples a “family,” either, but just a “couple.”

And there’s nothing on the marriage license interrogating couples about the intimacy or sustaining value of their emotional bond. I think the judge just made that up.

So we’re left, I think, with “a public commitment to form a relationship with a partner.” Kinda like a partnership agreement. A domestic partnership agreement. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

I could go on about the expansiveness of the decision, but, heck: the judge says “the history of our Constitution . . . is the story of the extension of constitutional rights and protections to people once ignored or excluded,” and that’s pretty clearly meant to be open-ended. I assume he’s smart enough to know that his expansiveness is vague enough to be cited, in due course, to justify extending “the right to make a public commitment to form an exclusive relationship and create a family with some folks with whom the person shares an intimate and sustaining emotional bond.”

I’m really not being facetious. I don’t think the new judicial concept of marriage satisfies the standards upon which he judge in the same opinion struck down my state’s concept.

Quite apart from speculation about slippery slopes, it’s just plain disorienting to have a federal judge say that one characteristic of marriage is irrational, then proffer a disingenuous new definition which includes the same fatal defects of occult morality, sloppy tailoring, and both over- and under-inclusiveness when questioned by loving threesomes, foursomes and so forth.

I hope you can understand my resultant inclination to remain irrational and risk the scorn of my black-robed masters.

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

Posted by: readerjohn | July 11, 2014

Friday, 7/11/14

  1. How will history rhyme next time?
  2. Flash! NPR Story that makes people stupider!
  3. Ignorance so baffling it defies a headline writer
  4. Siri, the 6-year-old’s oracle

Read More…

Posted by: readerjohn | July 10, 2014

Thursday, 7/10/14

  1. Won the battle. Will we lose the war?
  2. And now for something completely counter-hegemonic
  3. Designing better than they know
  4. [Mumble] Amazon retreat [Grumble]
  5. How does a “Moral Matrix” form?

Read More…

Posted by: readerjohn | July 8, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

  1. Myth, Truth, Inklings
  2. God’s “selfie”
  3. Bound to conceal the truth
  4. American Exceptionalism at its worst?
  5. Abba Sisoes
  6. How was your University closed?
  7. Hegemeny in drag

Read More…

Posted by: readerjohn | July 6, 2014

Sunday, 7/6/14

  1. Why he wrote
  2. Must we go along to get along?
  3. Honey instead of vinegar
  4. Introducing The Ratchet
  5. Butt out (but give me my license first)
  6. A new tack on accommodation

Read More…

Posted by: readerjohn | July 5, 2014

Cat’s out of the bag!

Cat’s out of the bag:

One pro­pos­al the White House is study­ing would put com­pa­nies’ in­sur­ers or health plan ad­min­is­tra­tors on the spot for con­tra­cep­tive cov­er­age, with de­tails of re­im­burse­ment to be worked out lat­er.

Another would give the administration itself a larger role in offering cost-free coverage to women who cannot get it through their employers, although the option for a new government entitlement appears unrealistic for financial and political reasons.

(New York Times, Obama Weighs Steps to Cover Contraception)

What’s with this “on the spot” and “reimbursement”? I thought the Administration’s Regime’s line was that the objecting employer wasn’t really paying for it because their insurers would cheerfully provide it without reimbursement, because contraception was so much less expensive than childbirth and pediatrician bills. Surely that wasn’t all a shell game!

* * * * *

By the way: press coverage of the Wheaton College relief from SCOTUS has been, I think, a little “off,” saying or implying that Wheaton objects to providing contraceptive coverage to its employees. From Alt.Newsy type sources, I understand that’s not true (and it would not be true of my experience of Wheaton).

Rather, Wheaton objects to providing contraceptives in its student health plans since its students are probably 98% unmarried and the College covenant includes abstention until marriage. It reportedly is fine with providing contraceptive coverage to married employees, and maybe to married students if the details can be worked out.

I suspect that Wheaton also would have Hobby Lobby-type objections to “contraceptives” that may truly be, or on a non-trivial number of occasions function as, abortifacients. The New York Times story seemed to indicate that, too.

* * * * *

Also by the way: I have been reminded again within the past few days of the need of some women for birth control pills not for contraceptive purposes, but to manage debilitating menstrual cycles.

The pills that do that are, I believe, among those that Wheaton and Hobby Lobby don’t object to even for contraceptive purposes as they’re fairly clearly not abortifacient.

Mercifully, I don’t have to sort out how those pills for this salutary side-effect should be dealt with by Catholic moral theology or in Catholic health plans.

I suspect it’s no problem in moral theology – e.g., that a Catholic woman who takes pills for that purpose would not be considered even by rigorist Priests to be committing a sin by doing so. I don’t doubt that a few Priests, if they stumbled onto it, would snidely dismiss menstrual regulation as a pretext, but how are they to stumble on it if it’s not a matter to be confessed in the first place? Moral theology has pondered, I know, unintended secondary effects, and the Roman Catholic objection to contraception is not to ingesting this or that thing, but to the intentional frustration of procreation by such ingestion (or other artificial means).

How to carve out an exception in health plans for a substance that has salutary side effects without creating a giant loophole seems a much tougher nut to crack. I’ll leave it at that for now at least.

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

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