Saturday, July 24, 2004

A Letter

Below is the body of a letter that I wrote in response to an email, which I received recently from a group calling itself the Christian Family Coalition. I'm not entirely certain how I found my way onto their mailing list. In fact, this could be one those scams like the Nigerian dealio for all I know. But as I have determined to speak truth to power, I thought I should get started. Next, I will write a letter to the Holy Father regarding his position on the book of Revelation and the current of apocalypticism in America. I post that here, too, when it's written. At some point I will put up a website for my teaching this fall, and I'll post CFC's original email there, for completeness' sake, I guess. There you go.


I received your organization’s email entitled “You can help Protect Marriage!” As I am a Christian, your message was suitably placed, and I do understand the fervency that you bring to this issue. I do not intend to address the actual question of Same-sex Marriage herein, and I hope, if you have read this far, you will do me the honor of proceeding to the end. I wish to bring to your attention certain flaws in your exhortation. I will try to be brief.

In explaining that America may not survive the introduction of legal same-sex marriage, you write, “Young boys and girls will be taught how to perform ‘safe sodomy’ on each other in sex education classes.” First of all, to my knowledge, most sex education classes advise abstinence first and, failing that, the use of condoms to prevent disease transmission and pregnancy. Notably, condom use is prescribed for any and all sexual contacts which involve an exchange of bodily fluid. Clearly, this advice already treats the circumstances of homosexual sex, so it is not reasonable to expect any significant change in sex education curriculum due to legalization of Same-sex marriage. Moreover, safe-sex, or as you prefer “safe sodomy,” practices are surely not necessary in the context of a monogamous relationship, especially, as there is no possibility of conception (barring those cases wherein one partner, and not the other, carries a disease). Again, you can see there would be no need to alter sex education guidelines. Your claim, in my opinion, is essentially inflammatory, and it does no good service for your cause.

You also write, “YOUR CHURCH will have to abandon Scripture and ‘marry’ homosexuals or lose their tax exempt status or worse yet - BE SHUT DOWN if they refuse to marry two men or two women.” I believe this statement is false. Churches are not enjoined to share sacraments with people who do not share their beliefs. For example, in the Roman Catholic Church, which places Marriage among the sacraments of Baptism, Communion, Holy Orders and others, a priest is not required by law to share the Eucharist with non-believers, even with Christians who are not Catholic. As Marriage is a sacrament, the priest is not enjoined to marry same-sex couples. If I am in error, I ask you to correct me. However, I believe that if I am correct, you would do well to retract this claim or modify it.

Finally, I would ask you, please, to clarify your meaning in the statements, “the SURVIVAL OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE” and “AMERICA WILL NOT SURVIVE...” Do you mean to say that the United States will be extinguished as a sovereign state? If not, what do you believe will be the state of American society a generation after the proposed legalization of Same-sex marriage? Please provide specific examples, if you would.