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Not Quite The Question

February 27, 2015

Every once in a while we Americans set aside our differences and unite.  There are times when, no matter what side of the political/religious/cultural fence we are on, we can agree on something.  ISIS has given us such an opportunity.  There are, quite rightly, no serious voices saying anything other than that those evil people must be stopped, even eliminated.  To be sure, just how we ought to go about that task is still up for debate.  We are also still debating whose fault ISIS is.

(As an aside, I am thinking of writing a book to sell to conservatives called “Everything Bad That Ever Happened Is Obama’s Fault.”  This must be a true statement because my conservative friends assure me it is so.  I’d be writing it primarily for the money though.  I am still kicking myself for missing the boat on my previous book idea to sell to liberals, “Everything Bad That Ever Happened Is Bush’s Fault.”)

Be that as it may, the united front we Americans, and almost the entire world, have is great.  It gives me hope that at some point in time we will be able to defeat ISIS.  Our track record of coming together to defeat evil is actually pretty good.  Of course, our track record for what happens after we defeat evil is not so great.  We are now pretty much looking back at the time when tyrants like Gaddafi, Hussain and Assad ruled with iron fists as the good old days.

Whether we defeat ISIS, as important as that may be, is not quite the question.  The real question is what are we to do next?  If, as happened, the defeat of Hussain opened a door for ISIS, what would the defeat of ISIS open the door to?

I was thinking about this “not quite the question” syndrome the other day when I read this article by the group Evangelicals and Catholics Together outlining in detail why they feel that traditional marriage is so important.  Whether you agree or disagree with their conclusion, and you will have no problem finding a lot of people who do one or the other, the article is a pretty comprehensive statement of their views.  The nature of the group makes this a somewhat ecumenical statement too.  It is a good answer to the question – why do they oppose same sex marriage?

Unfortunately, that is not quite the question.  As comprehensive as they try to be in stating their case they do not answer the core question.  Here is a question posed by a gay friend of mine a few years ago:

“How are we hurting you?  We love each other.  We own a house together.  We pay our taxes.  We want a family.  We are good and productive citizens.  We know you think the way we live is wrong, even sinful.  But how are we hurting you, or anyone else?  Why is denying us civil privileges that are freely available to you so important?”

The article, as clearly as it makes it case for what the authors believe, doesn’t answer this question; doesn’t explain why they are so sure that my friend and her partner are harmful to the rest of us.  I’ve seen all sorts of papers on “the benefits of traditional marriage” and, frankly, they duck her question too.  They cite statistics that show the benefit of stable two-parent homes but these mostly focus on these benefits as opposed to single parent homes.

So, to the group Evangelicals and Catholics Together I say congratulations on stating your beliefs.  Now would you please answer my friend’s question?


From → Christianity

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