The Real Cause of the Court’s DOMA Disaster

Within a few hours of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act on June 26, I received an emailed fund appeal relating this to the abortion issue.  After all, if you think nothing of killing babies, why would you think that sodomy is sinful?  That’s not exactly the wording that was used, but it serves for brevity.   I replied as follows, slightly modified:

I appreciate your thoughts, but you are omitting the elephant in the living room–the societal acceptance of marital contraception.  Secular humanist Walter Lippmann called this the greatest revolution in the history of morals.  In the 1920s the self-styled progressives had decided that marital contraception opened the door to sexual liberty.  They advocated companionate marriage which involved the revolutionary idea of accepting as progressive a cycle of marriage, contraception, divorce and then remarriage, etc etc.  It hasn’t been the sodomites who are killing marriage; it’s been the contraceptionists.  The Church of England gave its formal acceptance to marital contraception in 1930 and the Catholic Church responded by reaffirming the Tradition on December 31 of that same year.  The conservative Anglican bishops predicted that the acceptance of marital contraception would lead to the acceptance of sodomy, and they were so horribly correct that now the Church of England accepts sodomy by their bishops as morally permissible.

The legal framework for the acceptance of abortion was developed in US Supreme Court cases in 1965 and 1972 that outlawed state laws against the sale of contraceptives to married couples and then to the unmarried as well.

In 1973 the liberal justices applied the logic of their 1965 and 1972 cases to abortion.  And let us not forget that since 1968 the Catholic Church as measured by its priests and laity was deeply divided and numerically in favor of contraception including the Pill with its abortifacient properties.

I hope that your organization can help students to realize that killing innocent babies is a horrible thing to do, but I think that the only real way to stop the abortion juggernaut is for there to be a societal re-acceptance of the idea that sexual union is strictly and exclusively a marriage act and that within marriage it should be a renewal of the marriage covenant, for better and for worse including the imagined worse of possible pregnancy.  So I hope your people are  living chastely and preaching both marital and pre-marital chastity as well.

I will continue to make periodic contributions but not with any hopes that your organization or any of the anti-abortion organizations are going to have much impact.

In His service,

John F. Kippley

Obama vs. Catholic and Protestant schools

We didn’t learn about President Obama’s attack on Catholic and Protestant schools in Ireland from our local tabloid in Cincinnati, but it has resonated on the internet.  Giving a talk to students on June 17 in Belfast, our President advised them that they would be better off if they did not have separate schools.  He said that having separate school systems “encourages division” and “discourages cooperation.”  I have no idea how a non-religious school would treat the “troubles” of Ireland and how it would deal with private and public morality, but we do have ample experience in these United States.

Tax support was first given to public schools so that they would teach morality—right from wrong—in the hopes that students would make upright law-abiding citizens.  The text in many of these schools was the Bible, but the interpretation was anti-Catholic.  Thus the Catholic Church was forced to build its own school system as an alternative to having Catholic children regularly subjected to both anti-Catholic prejudice as well as teaching.  This was buttressed by a series of anti-Catholic court decisions that forbade any sort of support for the citizen-students who attended the non-public schools.

Thus for too many years Catholics have experienced in this country something similar to the fate of Catholics and other non-Muslims who live in countries with legal systems built on the Islamic Sharia.  They have to pay a special punitive tax that provides no benefit to them as taxpayers.  The same is true of Catholics in the United States who want their children to be educated in Catholic schools.  While the country as a whole benefits from such education, its support falls on Catholics as a special expense in addition to the taxes they already pay for the public schools.  The same is true of Protestants who have seen their once-Protestant public schools completely secularized and now devoid of moral education and thus establish their own schools.

The theme of this blogsite is the quotation from President George Washington’s Farewell Address.  If he could return, he would be aghast at the abandonment of the teaching of religion and morality in our tax-supported schools.  What is needed for the improvement of education in these United States is for all tax-supported funds to follow the students regardless of the schools they attend.  This would result in a healthy competition between the various schools that would benefit everybody.

But that will not start to happen during this administration.  While he can offer his advice on reducing division and encouraging cooperation in Ireland, here in these United States President Obama is insisting that Catholic schools be just as secular as the public schools.  In fact, if they do not accept his Birth Control Mandate, they will have to pay a punitive Sharia-like fine that will force them to close.

Kroger Bets on Sodomy

Mr. David B. Dillon, Chairman and CEO, The Kroger Company

June 7, 2013

Dear Mr. Dillon

When I learned that the Kroger Company is sponsoring the Homosexual Activists Sex Parade in Cincinnati this coming June 19, I was dismayed.  When I went to the Kroger website, I became even more concerned when I read the first two sentences.  “The Kroger Company values honesty, integrity, safety, diversity, inclusion and respect.  We look for those qualities in the associates we hire.”

Obviously there is no problem with four of those six criteria, but your support of the gay parade raises questions about what Kroger means by diversity and inclusion since those words are sometimes used to advance the gay agenda.  You are giving your shareholders’ money to those who are trying to persuade or force the country to accept sodomy as a legitimate form of marriage.  Will you be trying to find out what your employees and vendors believe about these matters?  Would you deny employment to someone who is not afraid to say he or she believes that the biblical teaching of exclusively heterosexual marriage is correct?

The issue has nothing to do with respect for all individuals.  No one is asking you to not employ or to disemploy men and women based on their sexual orientation.  What the issue is all about is whether certain activists can persuade this country to call sodomy a form of marriage.  What the issue is ultimately all about is whether God has a plan for love, marriage and sexuality, whether God has created man and woman to be complementary and to marry with the anticipation that their sexual union will yield babies, and whether God has created marriage as exclusively a male-female relationship.

No culture on earth has ever called sodomy “marriage.”  The biblical account tells us that there were many men practicing sodomy in the city from which it gets its name, but no one was calling it marriage.  It is very strange that a publicly owned corporation is using its resources and good name to intervene in this battle, and it is especially strange for it to back the side that wants to destroy the traditional concept of exclusively heterosexual marriage.

My request: please disengage immediately from your current stand.  Return to a state of neutrality in the moral and religious war about same-sex marriage.

I need to hear that you have returned to a state of neutrality regarding same-sex marriage and thus are not funding efforts such as the gay parade.

Cordially,

John F. Kippley

Fifth Third Bank Bets on Sodom

The following is an open letter to Kevin T. Kabat, Vice-Chairman and CEO of Fifth Third Bank, a leading regional bank  in Cincinnati.

June 6, 2013, the 69th anniversary of D-Day

Dear Mr. Kabat,

When I read that Fifth Third Bank is sponsoring the Homosexual Activists Sex Parade in Cincinnati this coming June 19, I emailed the appropriate contact on June 2.  Even though it was a Sunday, I received a computer-generated reply very shortly.  The form letter had this:  “Respect for all individuals is a core value of Fifth Third Bank. Fifth Third Bank respects all individuals, regardless of race, age, gender, religion or sexual orientation.  We are dedicated to demonstrating our commitment to diversity, including to its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees and customers.”

A respected financial advisor has written:  “A question I have is why are they financing a parade whose central theme revolves around what kind of sex people enjoy.”  And why aren’t these funds being used instead to increase dividends so that shareholders can support whatever they want?

The issue has nothing to do with respect for all individuals.  No one is asking you to not employ or to disemploy men and women based on their sexual orientation.  What the issue is all about is whether certain activists can persuade this country to call sodomy a form of marriage.  What the issue is ultimately all about is whether God has a plan for love, marriage and sexuality, whether God has created man and woman to be complementary and to marry with the anticipation that their sexual union will yield babies, and whether God has created marriage as exclusively a male-female relationship.

No culture on earth has ever called sodomy “marriage.”  The biblical account tells us that there were many men practicing sodomy in the city from which it gets its name, but no one was calling it marriage.  It is very strange that a financial institution is using its resources and good name to intervene in this debate, and it is especially strange for it to back the side that wants to destroy the traditional concept of exclusively heterosexual marriage.

My request: please disengage immediately from your current stand.  Return to a state of neutrality in the culture wars.

I realize that I can close out my accounts at Fifth Third bank, but that is a lot of bother especially when some accounts have automatic connections for receipts and disbursements.  Thus I hope you will tell me that you agree that a publicly owned bank should not be using shareholders’ funds in this way and have returned to a state of neutrality regarding same-sex marriage.

Cordially,

John F. Kippley

If you would like to send a similar letter, here’s the postal address:

Mr. Kevin T. Kabat, Vice Chairman and CEO, Fifth Third Bank, 38 Fountain Square Plaza, Cincinnati OH 45263

Melinda Gates on birth control and saving babies

Billionaires get attention especially when they do something they claim is for the good of the little people.  Thus Melinda Gates got a one-third page story in the first section of the Wall Street Journal for May 11-12, 2013 (Travels Changed Gates’s view on Global Birth Control).  According to the story, Mrs. Gates heard complaints from women in sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia that because of a short supply they were frequently not able to get the Depo-Provera “shot” they had previously received.  So last summer the Gates Foundation co-hosted a conference that raised pledges of $2.6 billion “to bring voluntary family planning services to 120 million more women in the world’s poorest countries by 2020.”  What a horrible and counter-productive waste of money!

To reach their goal, the Gates Foundation and several public and private partners have cut a deal with Bayer and Merck to reduce the price of their long-lasting implants by roughly one-half to $8.50 per unit.  “Janelle” is the successor to Norplant and can be used for 3 to 5 years, and Merck’s Implanon can be used for 3 to 4 years.  The list of side effects is long, but third-world women who use these hormonal birth control agents will most likely not have a local doctor who can help them, and how much it will cost to remove the implants is unknown.  The Big Pharma houses will most likely not have to deal with class-action lawsuits from third-world women who believe they were inadequately warned about possible side effects—as they have in the States.

Mrs. Gates is also interested in reducing child infant mortality, and she recommends “Kangaroo” mother care.  This involves holding the infant closely with lots of skin-to-skin contact to maintain the infant’s body heat, and that’s all very well and good.  But, as my wife has pointed out in her letter to the WSJ, the primary benefit of kangaroo care is that it promotes ecological breastfeeding if the mothers and their coaches allow it.  Allow???  Yes–allow!  Although we might think that in third-world and supposedly nature-oriented cultures mothers would automatically breastfeed as soon as the baby is born, that is unfortunately far from being the case.  Here’s a quotation from Sheila’s letter:

“While the baby-warming effects of kangaroo care are important, the most important thing that can be done to save babies is immediate and prolonged breastfeeding.  A study by Save the Children (2013) shows that 830,000 babies’ lives would be saved if breastfed within the first hour and that such first-hour breastfed babies were about three times more likely to survive than babies breastfed just one day later.”

Just imagine for a few moments how much the health and lives of babies and their mothers would be improved if every third-world baby were blessed with ecological breastfeeding.  Not only would there be a natural spacing of babies about two and sometimes three years apart without any contraception or even systematic NFP, but they would also be saved from the bad effects of the hormonal contraceptives.

So, pray for the conversion of Melinda and Bill Gates, and please pray for our NFP apostolate whose advocacy of ecological breastfeeding is unique in the field of natural family planning.

John F. Kippley, President, NFP International, www.NFPandmore.org

Is Jason Collins a Good Man?

That question was the headline on Paul Daugherty’s article in the Sports section of the Cincinnati Enquirer Monday, May 6.  Normally Daugherty illustrates the Irish gift of gab, but usually he does not venture into moral theology.  In this case, he was in way over his head.

First, Daugherty’s question invites the reader to judge Mr. Collins, the basketball player who recently declared that he is “gay.”  There two different judgments.  The first has to do with behaviors, and those who believe in the God of Revelation are called to believe that God has already passed judgment on certain behaviors.  Those judgments are found in the Ten Commandments, in other parts of Sacred Scripture, and in the teaching Tradition of the Catholic Church.  The common understanding is that “gay” means more than having a same-sex attraction.  If “gay” means that a person is doing sodomy, the revealed biblical judgment is clear: the behavior is thoroughly condemned by God.

The second judgment has to do with the personal guilt or merit of the person doing any particular act.  Here we have the admonition of Jesus, “Judge not lest you be judged (Mt 7:1).”  That applies to people doing objectively good works and also to those who are doing objectively evil works.  One person might be doing good works strictly for show; another person doing evil works might be so consumed by an evil culture that he or she is almost incapable of knowing what is objectively right and wrong.  Only God can judge the guilt or merit of any particular person.

Collins says, “Maybe they’ll talk about my character and what kind of person I am.”  It’s hard to imagine someone saying that unless they think others will think he is a “good person.”  Sorry, but that sounds too much like the accounts of criminals who tell the judge, “I’m really a good person.”

Daugherty comforts himself and Collins by finding satisfaction in the declining sexual morality of our day.  Regarding sodomy, “It’s becoming less a moral issue and more one of civil rights.  That’s good, because civil rights can be legislated.  Morality bends.  Hopefully, we all recognize goodness when we see it.”

That’s precisely what the same-sex marriage battle is all about.  According to Scripture and Tradition, sodomy is a moral evil.  According to some unbelievers, we should regard it as good.  The goodness I see in this battle is the moral effort being made by those who have a same-sex attraction but recognize it as a disorder and are being chaste.  I see goodness in the effort of the Courage Movement to help these men.  I see goodness in the efforts of all those who are working to maintain the biblical and previously universal human standard that marriage can occur only between heterosexual men and women.

I feel sorry for Jason Collins and sympathize with his situation, but he is not helped by those who tell him that sodomy is now okay.  They should instead help him to find the help he needs.

It needs to be said that this battle was implicitly predicted more than 80 years ago when Anglican bishops were debating marital contraception.  The conservatives warned that the acceptance of marital contraception would lead to the acceptance of sodomy, but the majority nevertheless proceeded to accept marital contraception.   The rest is history.  For more on this see John F. Kippley,  “Sexual Revolution: Part One.”

Moral Degeneracy and National Survival

“Democracy May Have Had Its Day” was the headline article on the Wall Street Journal “Opinion” page for April 27-28.  The half-page article reported that 80-year-old Professor Donald Kagan will give his farewell lecture at Yale, Thursday, May 2.  The expectation is that he will be throwing his final darts from that podium at modern education that he thinks is failing to educate students in history, philosophy and the grounding of Western civilization.  When he views the threats coming from Asia and Iran and sees no leadership willing to be serious in addressing them, he says, “When you allow yourself to think of it, you don’t know whether you are going to laugh or cry.”  I would suggest that the sexual immorality that is just taken for granted at Yale might be an even greater threat to the survival of the Western civilization that this classics scholar seeks to defend.

The top story on CBS news Monday evening, April 29, was that an NBA veteran has come out as openly gay.  In his article posted Monday at the Sports Illustrated website, Jason Collins wrote: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center.  I’m black.  And I’m gay.”  Not surprisingly, he drew support from President Obama, former President Clinton, the NBA, and other athletes such as Billie Jean King who was outed in the 1980s.

Is the United States of America in decline?  Many think so.  Is it probable that if things continue the way they have been going for the last 100 years, the social and political landscape of this country will be catastrophically different?  And if so, what will happen to our great-grandchildren and their successors?  Most of us have been told that the Roman Empire that controlled the then-known world decayed from within and was thus destroyed, but few of us have read Roman authors about the extent of the moral decay.

Anne Barbeau Gardiner, writing in the April issue of the New Oxford Review, offers some insights on ancient Rome.  The poet Juvenal, writing at the start of the second century A.D., inveighs against the moral corruption of his day and “exposed the rampant lust of Roman women and showed that this vice was undermining the native culture and aborting a large part of the next generation of Romans.”  Ms. Gardiner continues: “He starts off (in Satire VI) by saying that, long ago, when human beings lived in caves, there was ‘that thing called chastity on earth.’  The world was fresh and young and women, ‘rough as their savage lords who ranged the wood,’ nursed their robust children at their breasts.”  Even recently, Roman women were “poor and therefore chaste.”  But then they became wealthy, and lust became the new normal.

Ms. Gardiner summarizes her review:  “In sum, ‘Satire VI’ shows that where lust is widespread, especially among women, it leads to cultural insanity, the loss of future generations, and the end of a civilization…[The pagan Juvenal’s] satire plainly reveals the vices that were already causing Rome’s decline at the start of the second century.  Does it offer a lesson for us in the here and now?”  My thanks to Ms. Gardiner and the staff at New Oxford Review.  This is not the sort of thing you will read in the daily papers, even those with national readerships.

When Jesus was questioned about divorce and remarriage, He replied that from the beginning “God made them male and female…”  (Mark 10:6)  What appears at first to be simply an obvious statement is actually more profound than I had ever realized, for it responds also to the most basic question about same-sex relationships.  In God’s plan, man and woman are called to marry each other, have children, and stay married until death separates them.  The simple and yet profound reply to those who approve of sodomy in itself and also sodomy under the label of marriage is that God has a plan for love, marriage and sexuality, and same-sex practices contradict that plan and are therefore wrong.  We don’t need reams of sociological data to prove the evil effects of the social acceptance of sodomy although that will be forthcoming in the future.  It is enough to know that Jesus has already provided the answer.

I feel sorry for those with same-sex attractions and I admire those who also remain chaste despite loneliness.  According to those who work with these folks, their loneliness is worse than that of heterosexuals because it’s not something they can talk about with just anybody.  Sympathy, however, does not mean saying that sodomy is now okay.  What it does mean is that these people need Christian help.  The “Courage” movement started by Fr. John Harvey in New York some years ago is precisely what’s needed—a chastity-supporting environment in which men with same-sex attractions can talk about their problems in a non-threatening and spiritually supporting environment.  May the Courage movement continue to grow and help these men.