Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gilbert Keith Chesterton on Suicide

"Not only is suicide a sin, it is the sin. It is the ultimate and absolute evil, the refusal to take an interest in existence; the refusal to take the oath of loyalty to life. The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men; as far as he is concerned he wipes out the world. His act is worse (symbolically considered) than any rape or dynamite outrage. For it destroys all buildings: it insults all women. The thief is satisfied with diamonds; but the suicide is not: that is his crime. He cannot be bribed, even by the blazing stones of the Celestial City. The thief compliments the things he steals, if not the owner of them. But the suicide insults everything on earth by not stealing it. He defiles every flower by refusing to live for its sake. There is not a tiny creature in the cosmos at whom his death is not a sneer. When a man hangs himself on a tree, the leaves might fall off in anger and the birds fly away in fury: for each has received a personal affront. Of course there may be pathetic emotional excuses for the act. There often are for rape, and there almost always are for dynamite. But if it comes to clear ideas and the intelligent meaning of things, then there is much more rational and philosophic truth in the burial at the cross-roads and the stake driven through the body, than in Mr. Archer's suicidal automatic machines. There is a meaning in burying the suicide apart. The man's crime is different from other crimes -- for it makes even crimes impossible."

                                                  --Orthodoxy, Chapter 5

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bigotry 101

For those keeping score, these are all the things that will make you as evil and/or bigoted as any racist or Nazi:

Thinking that marriage is the union of a man and woman.
Thinking that a child has at least a presumptive right to a mother and a father.
Thinking that mothers matter.
Thinking that fathers matter.
Assigning a sex to a newborn based on whether you see a penis or a vagina.
Reading a four-year-old a fairy tale in which a prince marries a princess.

Antigone, re-written for our times

The surrogate mother of Antigone raises a rebellion against Creon for the restoration of her parental rights. The rebellion is crushed mercilessly, and Creon orders that the corpse of Antigone's mother be left out in the hot sun as food for maggots and vultures. Antigone longs to give her mother a proper burial, but her two fathers tell her that she must respect the laws of the state and that those laws have decreed that she owes filial devotion only to them. The two fathers forbid her to leave the house, but Antigone sneaks out a window, finds the battlefield, and starts burying her mother. She is caught by the Theban SWAT team and hauled before Creon himself, who tells Antigone that he did what he did to make it clear to her and the whole of Thebes that motherhood is not necessary for a family and also to make Antigone understand the integrity and closeness of her own family and its concord with other families in her community and in her daily life. Creon then orders that Antigone be summarily executed.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My correspondence with the Reverend


Dear Ms. Russel,

the following might be of some cursory interest:

In the most recent marriage case, the one in Virginia, the dissenting Judge Niemeyer wrote: "Loving simply held that race, which is completely unrelated to the institution of marriage, could not be the basis of marital restrictions. To stretch Loving’s holding to say that the right to marry is not limited by gender and sexual orientation is to ignore the inextricable, biological link between marriage and procreation that the Supreme Court has always recognized."

Of course, the proponents of "marriage equality" claim that sex is completely unrelated to the institution of marriage as well, thereby implying necessarily that a person's sex should be as irrelevant to his or her humanity as the accident of skin color. How this doesn't pre-suppose an asexual anthropology, an anthropology that understands the human being essentially as an amoeba (albeit a pretty darn smart amoeba) has never been explained to me. Never.

It seems to me as clear as the noon sun on a cloudless day that the entire argument for what is demagogically known as "marriage equality" is premised upon an anthropology that holds the human being to be an amoeba at "its" core. And this is why I shall always oppose the legal recognition of same-sex "marriage"; the human being is NOT an amoeba.


The Rev.

It's actually Reverend Russell ... with two Ls ... [I am truly sorry for having misspelt her name] and, with all due respect, limiting the spiritual and relational goods of sacramental and civil marriage to biological procreation is an inherently flawed premise.

One need not deny sex [she is obviously equivocating on the popular meaning of 'sex' to mean any orgasmic activity] as a component of marriage in order to support the goods and values of marriage that transcend the gender of the married couple.

And what seems clear to me is that basing one's argument to deny equal protection to some marriages based on that narrow biological premise is grasping at straws to make discrimination against LGBT families defensible.

It is not.

Thanks for taking time to write. God bless!

The Reverend Canon Susan Russell
All Saints Church, Pasadena


Equal protection implies an equality between opposite-sex and same-sex relationships, and that is what I deny. And let me be precise, when I wrote that the last two court rulings declared sex to be as irrelevant as race, I meant “sexual difference”. If sexual difference is as insignificant to being human as the accidental color of one’s skin, then I fail to see how that is not an asexual anthropology.


The Rev:
Deny away. Lots of folks still deny racial equality but the arc of history bends toward justice.

Take care and God bless.


So, you do not deny that the arguments for what you call “marriage equality” do indeed entail an asexual anthropology. You simply say that anyone who would take offense at this asexual anthropology must be as bigoted as a White Supremacist. How very strange. I’m sorry, but I refuse to believe that sexual difference is as trivial as skin color and that the human being is essentially an amoeba.

The Rev:

Regrettably, I do not have the time to engage in point-counterpoint dialogues with all correspondents. For further amplification please feel free to follow me on the Huffington Post.


You have time to call me a bigot but have no time to tell me why I should believe that sexual difference is as trivial to being human as skin color? Okay.


I then sent her this:

The courts rule that because marriage has nothing to do with procreation, presumption of parenthood no longer attaches to civil marriage. If a woman gets pregnant by her husband, she has the legal status of a surrogate until she makes it known that she wants to take over joint parenting responsibilities. And, in the same way, the husband has the legal status of a sperm donor until he makes it known that he wants to be a co-parent as well. Of course, both the husband and the wife will have to file for a parenting license and pass the required tests before they can adopt the child. Otherwise, the baby will go to the highest bidders who are also judged the most competent parents.

Such an arrangement would have the distinct advantage of being in conformity with the dictates of justice, fairness, and equality. It would finally put a very bright legal line between marriage and procreation and, thereby, achieve full legal equality between straight and gays. Of course, it falls short of full equality because opposite-sex couples still have the advantage of being their own surrogates and sperm donors and they are allowed first dibs (legally contingent dibs, yes, but first dibs all the same) on whatever sweet little commodities they produce. But the only way to achieve full equality between gays and straights is compulsory mass sterilization, and that unfortunately is politically unfeasible now.

And this was my response:
[Return to Sender: Address Blocked]