Wednesday, December 16, 2009


As you may know, a Synod is a gathering of church leaders, convened under hierarchical authority, to discuss matters of the Faith: a strategy meeting of the church brass, you might call it.

The Synod of Capua was convened awhile ago, in the year 392, as a matter of fact. Among other items on the agenda, the Synod condemned the teachings of an ex-monk named Jovinian.

Now why are we bothering with an obscure synod and a heretical ex-monk, especially during the Christmas season?

As we shall see, the Synod of Capua and the Jovinian heresy are intimately connected to what exactly happened on that first Christmas when Christ left His mother's womb, or more precisely, HOW He left His mother's womb.

All Christians accept that Jesus was miraculously conceived when the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary as we read in Luke 1:35.

But what about the actual birth of Christ? Did he actually pass through the birth canal like all other humans or did he miraculously just pop out? This is actually a very serious question with a very serious answer...and our ex-monk, Jovinian, got it wrong; and many modern theologians still do!

One of the 4 Marian Dogmas is the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. In Catholic practice, a dogma is a doctrine that has been solemnly defined and must be believed if one is to be fully Catholic.

The Church defines Mary's Perpetual Virginity not just in terms of the miraculous conception of Jesus, not just in terms of her not having had any relations with a man and therefore no other children, but also in terms of the integrity of Mary's body during childbirth. In other words, Mary remained physically a virgin before, during, and after childbirth. The Synod of Capua says it like this:

"...the miracle of the Virgin Birth consisted concretely in the absence of physical lesion, viz., maintenance of the integrity or incorruptibility of the body of the Mother of God.

And lest we think that this is just some ancient dusty old doctrine, we should note that in 1992, Pope John Paul II assisted in the celebration of the 1,600th anniversary of the Synod of Capua and commended its teaching on the integrity of Mary's Body during child-birth as the perennial belief of the Church, a teaching he also reaffirmed in his 1987 Encyclical  Redemtoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer).

This is a topic that most of us haven't spent much time considering. But a couple of years ago the movie THE NATIVITY STORY forced the issue into public discussion. The movie portrayed Mary in the throes of labor as she gives birth to Jesus.

In this scene, two Marian dogmas are challenged if not outright denied: Mary's Perpetual Virginity and the Immaculate Conception. As noted, the Church has solemnly declared the miraculous nature of the birth of Christ, not just His conception.

But the Immaculate Conception, Mary's own conception in her mother's womb without the stain of original sin, is also challenged, for as you know the penalty for Original Sin that was given to Eve, and thus to all women, was the pain of childbirth: " pain shalt thou bring forth children" (Genesis 3:16). However, Catholic Dogma asserts that Mary was preserved from Original Sin and thus also from its penalty.

For the Protestant makers of the film, the portrayal of Mary in labor posed no problem since the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, bodily integrity or otherwise, is not a dogma most non-Catholics subscribe to.

It was interesting to note, though, that the makers of the film were in fact aware of the Catholic dogma they were violating as they expressed concern over a possible Catholic backlash in an interview released prior to the movie's debut. But as it turned out they had little to worry about. Most of the Catholic press gave the film rave reviews, and almost all the major Catholic apologists brushed off the labor pains issue.

Given the gravity of the offense to two Marian dogmas, plus the novel portrayal of Mary as a rebellious teenager (hardly becoming of the Immaculate Conception), devout Catholics can rightly be appalled.

This is one of the reasons why we (Catholics) must never solely take the word of even the most respected theologians, apologists, or authors when it comes to matters of the Faith. We certainly can listen and learn, but we must always verify by seeking out the authentic magisterial teaching of the Church. And the authentic magisterial teaching of the Church on the issue of the "virgin birth" is "incorrutibiter genuit" which means: "whom Mary virginally conceived, she bore or begot incorruptibly."

Several Popes since the Synod of Capua have pronounced on this doctrine: Pope Leo the Great in 449, Pope Hormisdas in 521, and Pope Pelagius in 527. And at the Lateran Synod in 649, Pope St. Martin I, solemnly defined "incorrutibiter genuit" and asserted that anyone who denied this truth is "anethema" (condemned).

More recently, Blessed Pope John XXIII forbade any further public discussion of the issue. In other words, the bodily integrity of the Virgin Mother is a NON-NEGOTIABLE.

Sadly, and in defiance of magisterial teaching, some Catholic theologians continue to bat the topic around with the skeptics among them claiming that Mary’s Perpetual Virginity was not actual but symbolic.

However, authentic Catholic doctrine proclaims that Mary is the: “unopened door of the Temple” through which only the Lord enters and exits without opening it, either at His conception or at His birth.

So in the words of Pope St. Martin I "virgo concepit, virgo peperit, virgo post partum remansit".

Mary "remained a virgin at conception, birth, and after the birth"…of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. God came to us through Mary. God continually comes to us through Mary. God set it up that way. Blessed be God forever and blessed be his handmaid, Mary, every virgin.

Friday, November 13, 2009

No matter what they're called...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Yes, Virginia. There is a Purgatory.

Catholics have great jokes. And we should. Heck we’ve been around 2000 years, so we’ve had lots of time to come up with them. Jokes about confession are probably the most numerous, but purgatory ranks right up there.

Here’s one for you:

A recently departed soul reaches Heaven’s gate and is advised that he’ll be needing to spend a little time in Purgatory before he can get into the Big House. An Archangel escorts the man to Purgatory where they enter a long hall with three doors. The angel explains that there are three ways to spend one’s time in Purgatory and each soul gets to choose his own form of discomfort.

The angel opens the first door and the man sees many poor souls up to their necks in mud. Not particularly excited about spending his time in such a manner he asks the angel to show him what’s behind the 2nd door. The angel opens door #2 and the man sees the poor souls clanking about in chains and carrying rocks.

The man then requests to see behind door #3. The man sees all sorts of folks walking about with cocktails, chatting, and carrying on. The only down side was that they were knee deep in sewage. “Well”, thought the man. “This can’t be all that bad.” So he informs the angel that he’ll take door #3.

“No problem” says the angel and he leads him into the room, introduces him to the rest of the folks, hands him a martini, and the man joins the party. About 10 minutes later the angel claps his hands and says “Okay, folks. break's over - everybody back on your heads.”

Purgatory, like confession, and other uniquely Catholic practices and beliefs, provide fodder for many such stories, probably because such things are mysterious and often little understood.

So let’s take a quick stab at Purgatory, especially since its existence is rejected by most non-Catholic Christians and little understood even by most Catholics. As a matter of fact, many Catholics are under the impression that Vatican II “did away” with Purgatory. I’m afraid that’s not the case.

If you want to read exactly what the Catechism says about Purgatory you can go here and begin reading at paragraph 1030. But essentially the Church teaches 3 things about Purgatory:

1. That there is such a "place" or state.
2. That most of us will need to spend some time there.
3. That there is suffering in Purgatory though we do not the nature of it.

Most non-Catholic Christians will be too scandalized by now to read further, so we'll just continue with the Catholics...or at least some of them. Let's work backward on our 3 points.

Not much more to say about #3. The word Purgatory implies "purgation", cleaning, purging, etc. So you know something's going on there that probably isn't too pleasant. We do find some references to a purgatorial type of suffering in Scripture:

1 Cor 3:15 speaks of being saved "but only as through fire": "But if someone's work is burned up, that person will suffer loss, the person will be saved, but only as through fire."

Luke 12:58 tells us a prison that we may have to endure until we "pay the last penny": "If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."

Luke 16:19-31 gives us the story of the poor man, Lazarus, and Dives, the rich man, who calls out from a place of torment after his death and asks Lazarus to warn his brothers. We know that Dives cannot be in Hell, because in Hell one is no longer capable of doing or desiring good, which Dives tries to do (warn his brothers). This is an interesting story because it comes from the lips of Jesus himself. The story also refutes the so-called "soul sleep" that some believe. Dives is very much alive in this parable.

As for #2 and why we'll need to spend some time there, Church teaching is based on 5 words in Revelation 21:27: "nothing unclean will enter it". The "it" is Heaven and the "unclean" is most of us, since most of us will not die in a state of complete perfection except for genuine martyrs which the Church defines as those who have shed their blood for the Faith. However, only God can judge the heart so we know not who else God may have allowed to reach a state of perfection while still in this life.

Many of our non-Catholic Christian brethren believe that regardless of the woeful state of our soul at death, Christ's blood will cover us, and so long as we believe in Jesus, we'll skip right into Heaven. While they are welcome to believe that, believing it doesn't necessarily make it so. Discussing that here would take us into a separate discussion into what constitutes "salvation". So for now we'll need to suffice it to say that while Catholics also believe that we are covered with the Blood of Christ, we believe that we are also called to take up our cross and may indeed to have to shed a little blood of our own.

Now to the first point: there is such a place or state. Yes, we know the word Purgatory is not in the Bible and we're not going to get into a discussion here about "solo scriptura", but let's take a look at Revelations 20:13-14:

"The sea gave up its dead; then Death and Hades gave up their dead. All the dead were judged according to their deeds. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the pool of fire."

What is "Hades"? Most will say it is "Hell", or more precisely, Gehenna, the place of eternal torment. But it's not, for we see that Hades itself is "thrown into the pool of fire" (lake of fire in some translations). Can't throw Hell into Hell, so Hades has to be something other than Hell. It's obviously a THIRD place.

What's more is that there are people in it since it says that "Death and Hades gave up their dead". We are well aware of the existence of a third place called "the bosom of Abraham" where the righteous went to await the coming of the Lord. But there was no need for the "bosom of Abraham" after Christ opened the gates of Heaven.

So here we have a "third place" with people (souls) in it at the end of time (at the time of the Final Judgment). So what could it be and why are there souls in it? They're obviously not in Heaven, and as we explained, Hades isn't Gehenna.

So, maybe the Bible doesn't call it Purgatory, but there is certainly a "Third Place" in Scripture, and we can only imagine that since these souls are not yet with the Lord after their death that there must certainly also be suffering...if only the suffering of waiting.


1. Scripture shows us a place that is not Heaven and is not Hell.
2. Souls are in this place.
3. The souls are not damned or they'd be in Gehenna and the "Hades" that they are in is not Gehenna.
4. This New Testament "Hades" is not the "bosom of Abraham" of the Old Testament.
5. The existence of this place of waiting is consistent with the Scripture references to "paying the last penny", "being saved as through fire", "this place of torment", etc., but especially with Revelation 21:27 which reminds us that "nothing unclean shall enter it."

Because most of us will die in a state of imperfection but still desirous of union with God, God's Mercy demands that we be allowed a state of final purgation so that we CAN "enter it". This is not the second chance that some think Purgatory is, just a final state of purgation for those who have already sought God's Mercy.

But even if you dont' accept the need for a Purgatory, Scripture clearly shows that there is one. Guess we'll find out for sure some day. I already am sure.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Died, December 11. 2004, Age 75

Every boy needs a hero or two. And after my dad I’d have to say it was Uncle Paul. There was something magical about those two words…Uncle…and Paul.

Visions of beautiful farmland, horses, old wagons, tractors, cows, milk cans. Lying in my bed in the house of a smoggy big city I dreamt of “going to Uncle Paul’s”.

And he had been a cowboy, a real one, in Oklahoma. Being a real cowboy, he had a white horse. And being a real cowboy, that white horse was his first love.

Lady was her name. She was already old when I first saw her as a boy. Already out to pasture. But I remember how she stood out amongst all the other horses, how you could easily spot her out in the field, still proud, still a cowboy’s horse.

Uncle Paul made me proud to be a Rohr. I had an uncle who had been a cowboy. I would come back to the dirty streets of Los Angeles after a beautiful Ohio summer believing that to be a Rohr, to have a Dad who was the strongest man in the world, to have 10 incredible uncles and aunts, to be one of 61 grandchildren, and to have an uncle who was a cowboy, was…well what else could a boy ask for.

This was the best life, the best fortune that anyone could ever dream of. I was a Rohr. I am a Rohr. And so are you cousins. You got royalty in your blood cause you too had an uncle who was a cowboy.

So Uncle Paul, saddle up your white Lady once more, and ride her into heaven. And when you get there, say hi to Uncle Ernie, Uncle Frankie, and Uncle Elmer, and of course Grandpa and Grandma. Tell ‘em we won’t be long. Tell ‘em that with their prayers we’ll all make it to that one last Rohr reunion, to that one big “cattle call” in the sky. And, oh yah, when I get there can I have a ride on Lady?

Good-bye, Unc. Thanks for the opportunity to grow up in the shadow of your woods, in the wide-open spaces of your fields, and atop those great machines they called John Deere. And lastly, thanks for those encouraging words that made me famous back when I only knew 3 chords: “C’mon, Tim, play Dead Skunk one more time for us, will ya?” You got it, Unc. You got it.

- By his nephew, Timothy J. Rohr and read at his memorial service, December 18, 2004 by my sister, Michelle Rohr Gerber

Saturday, October 17, 2009

God's Battalions - After centuries of apologies for Christian perfidy, perhaps it is time to rethink the Crusades.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Problem in New Jersey

Catholic bishops in New Jersey have launched a campaign to stop expected legislation this coming November legalizing same-sex marriage.

Their efforts, though admirable, are too late and will most likely fail.


The bishops' Achilles heel is in their statement. In their efforts to defend marriage they make the mistake of distinguishing between same-sex "unions" and same-sex marriage.

In their statement they acknowledge that all the rights of marriage are already available to same-sex couples under the state's current law allowing same-sex civil unions.

They state this without any opposition or challenge to the law which recognizes same-sex couples as "married" in all but the word itself.

Thus, "marriage" is reduced to nothing more than a term. There is no legal distinction and thus it is an easy step to simply co-opt and apply the term since the actual legal effects of marriage have already been co-opted and applied.

Apparently the bishops had no problem with civil unions...."just so long as they don't call it marriage".

This is just one of the traps that same-sex proponents set for the opposition, and sadly in this case, the NJ bishops were easy prey.

By not challenging the legal status of same-sex unions in their statement in defense of marriage, and even granting it official sanction by referencing it in a positive light, the bishops have no grounds for their defense, at least in the public square, and perhaps in the religious realm also.

The document released by the Congregation of the Faith in 2003 addressing the legalization of same-sex unions, is adamant that all Catholics "must oppose" the legalization of same-sex unions regardless of what they are called.

By distinguishing between marriage and "unions", the NJ bishops have officially ignored the CDF directive and opened the door wide to the final destruction of that which they wish to defend.

We on Guam have already made the same mistake as evidenced by a recent poll. While the majority of people on Guam would oppose same-sex marriage, the majority would also support legal recognition of same-sex unions.

As per the law, THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. We Catholics MUST OPPOSE the legalization of same-sex unions, not just because we are obliged by our Church to do so, but because if we don't, we will be defending nothing more than a definition and not the institution itself.

There is still time...but not much.

Friday, October 02, 2009

As you may know by now, House Representative Alan Grayson...,

...a freshman Democrat senator from Florida, has called the Republicans "foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals who know nothing but ‘no'" for their opposition to current health care bills. He remarked on the House floor that the Republican health plan (there is no Republican health plan) is: “If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly.

(Watch the CNN interview with Grayson here. (As you know CNN is no friend of conservatives but they do an admirable job of holding Grayson accountable.)

While a small debate wages over whether Grayson should apologize in the wake of the forced Joe Wilson apology, the issue once again highlights the desperation of the Democrats.

As we all know, Democrats completely control the House and do not need one single Republican vote to pass whatever bill they want. So why the rhetoric from Grayson and other Democrats?

They must keep the public focus on the Republicans and off the fact that the Democratic leadership, despite their unprecedented power (they control both houses and the White House), simply can't lead.

And why can't they?

Because conscientious Democrats within their ranks (and there are a few) have grown increasingly uncomfortable with the lies their leadership is perpetrating on the American people.

And what sort of lies?

One big lie is that current health care legislation will not directly fund abortions.

Conscientious Democrats know this is a lie which is why they (183 in all, or 42% of the House), led by Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak, along with some Republicans issued a letter to Speaker Pelosi on September 28 demanding that the direct funding of abortions be strictly and expressedly forbidden.

President Obama publicly promised that this would be the case. It would seem an easy task for the Democratic leadership to simply include the language in the bill that would effect the President's stated claim: there will be no funding of abortions in "my" health care plan.

(Of course Obama doesn't have a health care plan. That's the problem. He can make all the claims he wants about HIS health care plan because he has committed nothing to paper. Incidentally, Obama's claim set off a fire storm of protests amongst his pro-choice base, a base he made a promise to in front of Planned Parenthood in July of 2007.)

The Democratic leadership is caught in a lie. Obama has made the claim. Conscientious representatives are now asking their leadership to back up the claim in writing and the leadership is looking for a way out and there is none...other than to resort to bashing Republicans.

But it's like beating a horse with a broken leg. No matter how hard you beat it, the horse is not going to get up and go. Republicans simply do not have the votes. This is the very BIG dirty not so little secret that folks like Grayson know is their undoing if the public ever catches on.

Of course the only person who has publicly implied that anyone should be denied health care and just die is Obama himself when he recommended that some people who are terminally ill or very old should just "take the pain pill" and go home. You can watch Obama actually say that here.

Too bad CNN didn't hold Obama as accountable as they seem to be holding Grayson.

The real interesting fact here is that while the Obama and the Democratic leadership claim that the health care bill will not fund abortions, a full 42%, almost half of the House of Representatives, do not believe Obama or their leadership, or they would not have had issued the letter.

We, out here in the public, do not have to debate whether the current health care legislation will directly fund abortions or not; 42% of the people who are directly related to the legislation have expressedly said that it does. Obama could change all that in an instant by simply telling the Democratic leadership to include the language that would back up his claims.

This is not about pro-life or pro-choice. This is simply about pro-truth. If Obama intends to fund abortions as promised to his base before the elections, and as evidenced by the fact that he has already released millions to international groups that promote and perform abortions, then let him stand up and say so. But he has said otherwise. Now let's see what he does.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Health Care and Your Right to The Pill

The National Women's Law Center, in commenting on a ruling in North Carolina that would force Belmont Abbey College which is run by Benedictine monks, to provide contraceptive drug coverage to female employees, said that pregnancy prevention "is central to good health care for women".

The statement provides an opportunity for an easy but rarely mentioned observation.

Health care, preventative or otherwise, is aimed at warding off disease or some other malady foreign to the body.

A woman's body is designed for child bearing. In that sense it can be said that pregnancy is a natural condition. It's what a woman's body is "supposed" to do. And when it doesn't do that, when a woman doesn't conceive naturally, then something is usually considered medically wrong.

Health care is about stopping or preventing something that is wrong or could go wrong with the body. Contraception is about stopping or preventing something that is right with the body.

Only the intellectual dishonest can deny this. We don't even have to get into the moral discussion.

There is always the exception where pregnancy can be life threatening, but it's the exception. And in today's medically advanced society, it is a very rare exception.

The problem here is that the exception has been elevated to the status of the norm. Whenever that happens, there are consequences.

I'm not going to quote studies that show the link between female cancers and contraceptives. Supporters of contraceptives could quote just as many studies back to me to support their perspective.

I would ask you though to consider the possibility of an ill effect on a woman's body after prolonged, sometimes decades long, ingestion of a chemical, designed to force her body to do the very opposite of what it is naturally designed to do.

This isn't like taking an aspirin for a headache. All drugs, except for contraceptive drugs, are designed to counteract something that is wrong with the body. Contraceptive drugs are designed to counteract something that is right with the body.

All drugs have side effects, negative consequences of one kind or another. One may take an aspirin for pain, but to ingest them regularly could be dangerous. What of the woman who ingests a synthetic hormone (The Pill) in doses high enough to trick her body into making it "think" that it's pregnant, year after year?

Think about it. How many women do you know who have died in their 40's from female related cancers (breast, uterine)? It's a disturbingly high number.

This little entry makes no attempt to judge those individuals since I would have no way of knowing whether they used contraceptive drugs or not. But given general contraceptive use, the odds are that they did.

There's a saying that says: "God forgives, others can forgive, I can forgive...but nature never forgives."

While there is a moral component to the argument, the only point I want to make here is the biological one, an appeal to examine nature's design...and hopefully, to intellectual honesty.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

To his credit, President Obama...

...when asked on Letterman if he thought that opposition to his policies was based on racism, Obama replied: "Well, Dave, I was Black before the election...". He went on to explain that while racism exists America still elected him president.

I was glad to hear him say that for base charges of racism do not allow us to engage policies at face value. That is not to say racism isn't a problem. It will always be a problem. But I like what Oprah said: "The best answer to discrimination is excellence."

The fact that Obama's poll numbers are declining is not the result of racism or right wing radio diatribe. Those who are racist now were racist before the election. And the so-called "right wing" talk show guys are not saying anything different now than they were saying before the election.

Nothing has changed on that front.

Actually Obama's "personal" poll numbers have not declined that much. He is still extremely popular, once again evincing the fact that opposition to his policies is not about racism.

The poll's are showing falling support for his policies, especially on health care reform. Why? Is Obama any less of an effective communicator now than he was before the election? No. Are more people racist now than 8 months ago? Not likely. Are right wing radio talk show hosts any more vocal now than before the election? Nope.

Most of the criticism of the opposition to health care reform is aimed at the so-called lies and deceptions allegedly perpetrated by the right wing and the insurance companies. But these so-called lies and deceptions are far less inflammatory than the allegations leveled personally at Obama before the election over his ties to anti-American characters such as his pastor and Bill Ayers, his very obvious lack of experience (only 148 days in the senate), and his militant support of abortion.

The rhetoric was far more inflammatory before the election. Then added to that he was being attacked by the Clintons, arguably one of the most formidable political machines in the history of the country.

Obama faced far more opposition before the election, and to his credit, overcame it. He won fair and square, although I would add that he was rather weakly opposed (McCain didn't offer much of an alternative.)

In effect, as regards race or personal opposition, nothing has changed. And of course now the Clintons are now defending him instead of attacking him. The only thing that is new is the implementation of his agenda. I don't use "agenda" in a negative way. He has an agenda that he thinks is best for the country, as every President does, and he is attempting to implement it. The fact is that more and more people do not like what they see, just like they didn't like what they saw with the Bush administration - which inevitably paved the way to Obama's election.

We also must note that the Republicans CANNOT be blamed for anything. They do not have enough votes to stop anything. The Democrats have full control of both houses of Congress AND the White House. Obama could have his health care reform today if he wanted to.

There is no need to go around the country doing television interviews to convince the American people that his plan is good. The American people will not vote on the plan, Congress will. And Congress is able to pass any of the plans right now.

If the plan is as good as its proponents say it is then there is no need to fight with the opposition. Just pass the plan and let the people see and experience the plan itself. There's no need to go on Letterman. But apparently Obama thinks there is.

The truth is that the real fight is among the Democrats. Let me restate: THE REPUBLICANS CANNOT STOP ANYTHING. So what are the Democrats fighting about? Why can't they just move forward?

That's a question they do not want us to ask which is why their defenders keep trying to stir up dust with talk of racism, talk show hosts, and Republican opposition. But as just shown, none of those things are a factor.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Socio-Political impact of same-sex legislation

Symposium, September 7, 2009

1. Understanding the political landscape and the issue of civil rights

2. The consequences of the legalization of same-sex unions

3. Why and how we must speak out.

I. Political landscape and the issue of civil rights

On August 24, the PDN published the results of a survey that showed that while the majority of people on Guam would not support same-sex marriage, they would support the legal recognition of same-sex unions.

How did we get here? There is no doubt about what our Church teaches on the matter:

“…all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions…” (-CDF)

And probably no other community in the United States is as predominantly Catholic as ours. Yet we have majority support for something our Church tells us we MUST oppose.

Have we simply cast off our Catholic Faith on this matter?

How we got here is a complex question. For years we have quietly embraced, or at least tolerated, contraception, cohabitation, and yes, even abortion. As you may know, Guam is the easiest place in the United States to procure two things: an abortion and a divorce. And from a quick search on the internet, it appears as though the gay lifestyle also enjoys the Hafa Adai spirit.

Indeed, the Legislative Findings and Intent of Bill 138, the same-sex civil unions bill, so much as said so, appealing as it did to "kindness" and "compassion" of the people of Guam as one of the bases for the legalization of same-sex unions.

While this is not the main point of my talk, I believe we may need to re-evaluate this so-called kindness and compassion. The acceptance of contraception has led to a multitude of ills including abortion. Cohabitation has led to one of the highest rates in the nation of unwed mothers. And the health risks of gay sex are staggeringly high.

But aside from the complex part of the question of "how we got here", there is also a very simple answer. A quick study of the route taken by gay activists in other states where same-sex unions now receive legal recognition will show a simple 2 part strategy:

1. cloak the agenda in the language of civil rights

2. keep away, at least initially, from the word "marriage"

If you've been following the stories of the two same-sex bills from the beginning, you can easily see that the same-sex advocates on Guam have done their homework and have stuck with the successful game plan of same-sex lobbies in other states. However, on Guam, a 3rd tactic has been added.

The same-sex advocates here anticipated opposition from the Catholic Church. So from the beginning they have tried to make it look like they were attempting to appease the Church knowing that the media, unwilling, or too lazy, to look at the deeper issues, would fan the flames of a war between the Church and the gay advocacy.

In so doing, the advocates have been able to isolate all opposition to their cause as only religious opposition which then makes it easy for them to discard that opposition by appeals to a false understanding of “separation of church and state” (e.g. “Who are you to impose your religion on us?”).

If you have been following the town halls, hearings, and commentary in the media, you will have seen that this is precisely what they have been doing, and as you have seen from the PDN poll, it's working.

I want to quickly discredit each of these 3 tactics in the hopes that we can force this issue into the clear light of an honest discussion. Since we do live in a democracy, we, the people, have a right to choose the kind of society we want to leave for our children, but we also have a right to the truth, without which there is no democracy.

A. Is same-sex marriage a civil right?

First, let us quickly review the difference between a natural right and a civil right. Natural rights are those “endowed by our Creator”. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are natural rights. A civil right is a right granted by civil authority by reason of citizenship. (e.g. A non-citizen has a right to life,a natural right, but does not have a right to vote, which is a civil right.)

Next, we must note that civil rights apply to persons, not corporate entities. A corporate entity in the eyes of the state is any legally recognized arrangement between two or more people, be it a business, a church, or a marriage.

While the civil rights of the individuals involved in a corporate entity are still applicable, the entity itself is not accorded civil rights since a legal entity is not a person.

Society subjects corporate entities to certain restrictions and obligations not required of individuals and at the same time grants them certain benefits and protections.

For instance, a business can deduct expenses that an individual cannot. A church can file for a tax-exempt status whereas an individual cannot. A marriage too is granted certain protections and benefits that are not available to individual persons. But why?

Simply put, the state grants certain benefits and protections to corporate entities based on the relationship of that entity to the larger community and its contribution to the public good.

A business is granted tax exemptions because it contributes to the economy and employs people. A church is granted tax-exempt status because the state sees that it performs a social function of helping people, a function that would otherwise fall to the state and cost more money than what it costs the state to allow the tax-exemption.

The state does not grant these favors arbitrarily. It's to the states economic advantage to do so.

In the case of marriage, the state has come to see that the one man - one woman family unit is simply the most cost effective way of producing, socializing, and educating the next generation, upon which the survival of the state depends.

The state is motivated to protect and incentivize the family unit because it understands that if the family breaks down, the burden of raising the necessary next generation would fall to the state and would simply cost more money than the cost of protecting and incentivizing the traditional family unit in the first place.

But isn't marriage a civil right?

No. Marriage itself is not a civil right. What is a civil right is the right for a man and a woman to contract marriage in the eyes of the state. Again, civil rights apply to individuals, not entities.

Well, what’s to keep two people of the same sex from contracting marriage? Isn't it their civil right?

At issue here is the fact that nowhere in history do we have any precedent for this demand. Homosexuality has been a part of the human condition since the beginning, but it has always been seen by every culture and in every time as a condition that is not normative. Thus there has never been a culture that has embraced the practice since doing so would have meant an end to that particular society due simply to the sterility of the relationship.

Because there is no precedent, the same-sex lobby, in its search for validation has latched on to the issue of civil rights, much to the consternation of many Black people for whom the civil rights movement is historically and uniquely theirs.

The case most trumpeted by the same-sex lobby is the 1967 case of Loving vs. the State of Virginia in which laws against inter-racial marriage were declared unconstitutional. Same-sex proponents see this case as legal precedent for their case for same-sex marriage. Proponents like to quote the following from the Court’s opinion:

“The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man',..."

However, the second sentence does not end there. Notice the comma. The rest of the sentence reads:

“ …fundamental to our very existence and survival.”

Also, notice the quotations marks bracketing the words “basic civil rights of man”. The quotation marks are there because the Court in the Loving case is quoting another case, the 1942 case of Skinner vs. the State of Oklahoma.

The full sentence in Skinner is worth noting. It reads:

“We are dealing here with legislation which involves one of the basic civil rights of man. Marriage and procreation are fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race.”

In quoting Skinner, the Loving Court acknowledges, underscores, recalls and ratifies that in the eyes of the law, Marriage and procreation are inexorably linked.

B. Keep away, at least initially from the word “marriage”

We must not be swayed by the same-sex proponents’ use of the words “civil unions” or “domestic partnerships” and their claims that by not requiring a religious ceremony, traditional marriage is not compromised.

This is a deception for two reasons:

1. A religious ceremony is not required to get legally married.

2. Both bills, but especially Bill 185 aggressively annexes all the language applicable to marriage in the Guam Code to domestic partnerships.

Section 16109 states:

Notwithstanding any provision of law, every reference in the Guam Code Annotated to "marriage," or any aspect there of, shall apply equally to "domestic partnerships," including:

(1) Every reference to "married" shall apply equally to the status of partners in a domestic partnership; and

(2) Every reference to "husband," "wife," or "spouse" shall apply equally to a partner in a domestic partnership; and

(3) Every reference to marital status, including without limitation provisions pertaining to parties and procedures for annulment, divorce, separation, or dissolution, shall apply equally and as necessary to domestic partnerships and to partners in a domestic partnership.

The use of the designations “civil unions” and “domestic partnerships” is a tactic knowingly employed by the same-sex proponents to slip the legislation past the general public.

My opponent in the debate before the Rotary Club of Guam in fact admitted that the designation “domestic partnership” would be “a little easier for the public to swallow”.

And as you have seen from the PDN poll, the strategy is working.

To summarize: Because same-sex couples, while they may be capable of loving relationships, cannot of themselves produce children which is the fundamental purpose of Marriage as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court in the aforementioned cases, there is no legal precedent or civil right to same-sex marriage.

C. Isolate all opposition as religious opposition….then appeal to the so called separation of church and state in order to discard the opposition.

In this, the proponents are taking advantage of the ignorance of most people about this so-called separation. In fact there is simply no such thing. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

As you can see there is no separation of Church and state as our history as a country has plainly shown. Not only was the Black civil rights movement peopled by Black Christians and led by Black religious leaders, but the abolition movement against slavery was peopled by White Christians and led by White religious leaders. To say that religion has no place in public discourse we would first have to discount such things as the abolition of slavery and the Black civil rights movement.

As a matter of fact not only are religious perspectives allowed in public discourse, they are in fact protected by the clause “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”.

II. The consequences of the legally recognizing same-sex unions.

"Gay Marriage is not simply some sort of private, self-regarding kind of thing. Legalized Gay Marriage is about forcing other people to recognize these relationships as valid, legitimate, and equal, and can potentially involve serious legal consequences to those who disagree, especially churches and schools."

Here are some examples:

  • Activism in schools both public and private
    • In 2008, a booklet titled, "Just the Facts about Sexual Orientation and Youth," was distributed to all 16,000 school districts in the country.
      • Under the guise of promoting tolerance and equality, the publication:
        • Advises schools against sexual re-orientation therapy
        • Warns educators that on-campus gay and lesbian clubs must be accepted
        • Cautions against presenting heterosexuality as normative
        • Tells students that “homosexuality is a normal expression of human sexuality

    • In Montgomery County, Maryland, public schools are currently required to teach that homosexuality is innate and anal sex is an alternative method of sexual expression. A recent challenge by concerned parents was refused a hearing by public school officials and will now go to court.

    • In October of 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar signed into law SB 777 which requires LBGT education for K-5 and will use public funding to influence school children against the Judeo-Christian understanding of human sexuality, marriage, and the family.

Religious freedom compromised and religious people persecuted

    • In Massachusetts in 2004: Justices of the peace who refused to preside over same-sex unions due to moral or religious objections were summarily fired.

    • In 2006, Boston Catholic Charities, which ran an adoption agency, was ordered by the state of Massachusetts to allow gays and lesbians to adopt children. In order not to be complicit in an act contrary to the Catholic Faith, the Archbishop was forced to close the agency.

    • In 2008, a Christian photographer was fined $6000 by the state of New Mexico Human Rights Commission for refusing to photograph a lesbian wedding.

    • In 2007 a Methodist Church in NJ had its tax-exempt status revoked for refusing to rent out a pavilion for a lesbian wedding.
  • Traditional community organizations (Boy Scouts) targeted
  • Polygamy and Pedophilia a natural consequence
  • Traditional marriage destroyed

III. Why we must speak out and how.

Understanding the commandment “to love”

It has been common to hear or read signs held by gay advocates during the recent town halls and public demonstrations that said “love thy neighbor” or at least appealed to the commandment to love.

We must not forget that the commandment to love thy neighbor (as thyself) is only the second commandment to love found in Mt. 22.

The first is "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

Jesus goes on to say that “This is the greatest and the first commandment.” And then he adds: “The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

As we know, loving God means doing what he commands us to do and NOT to do.

Biblical directions on how to speak out

“If your brother should commit some wrong against you, go and point out his fault but keep it between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. If he does not listen, summon another, so that every case may stand on the word of two or three witnesses. If he ignores them, refer it to the Church.” - Mt. 18, 15-17

Gospel consequences of not speaking out

“Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father”. – Mt. 10: 32

Recommendations for speaking out in the public squareEducate yourself

  • Educate yourself
  • Write a letter to the editor
  • Write a letter to lawmakers
  • Testify at public hearings
  • Call in to radio talk shows and voice your opinion


[Slide 26: recommended resources]

· >Issues

· Facebook Causes: Esperansa

· Homosexuality and the Catholic Church: Clear Answers to Difficult Questions by Fr. John F. Harvey

The insanity of same-sex parenting

-marriage is primarily a license to form a family, not merely a license for sexual relations.

-As atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote in Marriage and Morals(1929): "It is through children alone that sexual relations become of importance to society, and worthy to be taken cognizance of by a legal institution."

-Homosexual acts cannot create children; therefore the State has no interest in regulating homosexual relationships.

As David Blankenhorn wrote in The Future of Marriage (2007): "Marriage is fundamentally about the needs of children… Redefining marriage to include gay and lesbian couples would eliminate entirely in law, and weaken still further in culture, the basic idea of a mother and a father for every child."

Nothing less is at stake than that an innocent child, first opening her eyes in this world, should see the faces of those two people, her own mother and father, who together gave her life, not the faces of two men who will be her technologically-contrived, State-decreed "parents".

Time is running out to restrain the social vandals who write laws in our land. As Blankenhorn warned: "Once this proposed reform (of gay marriage) became law, even to say the words out loud in public -- ‘Every child needs a father and a mother’ -- would probably be viewed as explicitly divisive and discriminatory, possibly even as hate speech."

For the sake of all children yet to be born we must despise threats of "hate speech" and say out loud that every child needs the love of a father and a mother.

Friday, September 11, 2009

On the President's Health Care Speech

Just an observation for those who are following this: As for now, all observations, pro or con about Obama's speech on health care reform are correct. The reason is that Obama was referring to "his plan" which is not out yet.

The only thing we have currently on the table are the House and Senate plans, of which there are many, though HR3200 is the one most people are familiar with. HR3200 definitely does have language in it that would allow for federal funding of abortions, end of life "counselors", and a hole for caring for illegal aliens (which I am not personally opposed to by the way). But word is that Obama was not talking about HR3200.

Consider the following report from the Catholic News Agency:

CNA asked Richard Doerflinger, the Associate Director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat of Pro-life Activities, if President Obama was saying last night that the bishops' assessment of the bill's funding is wrong.
"We have said the current bills such as HR 3200 will fund and mandate abortion coverage. Last night the President did not comment on that issue, but said the new bill he is preparing to introduce will not fund abortions," Doerflinger replied to CNA in an email.
"We have to wait and see what is actually in the bill before judging whether we agree. We are willing to work with him and Congress to help make sure this commitment is reflected in the actual bill," Doerflinger added.

Any new legislation on health care reform is unlikely to be introduced as an entirely new bill but would most likely be introduced in a "manager's amendment," a package of amendments agreed to by both sides before its introduction.

Why the President himself did not make this clear is curious...

But back to my original position in this conversation. The Catholic Church (and all Christians) should not be sitting around waiting for the government to do what it should be doing. Caring for the sick is one of the required Seven Corporal Works of Mercy.

In the past, as I have pointed out previously, it was the Christians who saw to the needs of their suffering fellow men and women. The problem as I see it is that we feel that we are now fulfilling our Christian obligations by simply supporting legislation instead of doing what Christ showed us.

Christians everywhere need to begin uniting and working towards creating a system of health care that is not beholden to any government. Then there would be no need to worry about abortion funding or conscience clauses.

I believe it can be done simply because I believe that with God all things are possible. I have some specific ideas but will have to get to those later.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Bucking the Bishops Over Health Care

I must say that I was truly sickened by the USCCB letter to Congress on the so-called "health care reform" legislation that is currently being entertained. Read the letter here.

While the letter makes the appropriate nods to the "sanctity of life", the authors are obviously completely ignorant of the damage giving THE GOVERNMENT universal control over anything, especially matters of life and death, will bring.

But that's not why I'm sickened. What sickens me is that the USCCB, in this letter, is abdicating the Church's Gospel appointment to care for the sick to the government.

In the letter, the author, reminds Congress that the "Health Care is a critical component of the Catholic Church's ministry."

Well then, get on with it. Stop trying to make nice with the Romans and just do what the Church has always done (until lately). Health care has always been the business of the Church, not the State.

Thomas E. Woods, Jr., in his book, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization reminds us in quoting medical historian Fielding Garrison, that "before the birth of Christ 'the spirit toward sickness and misfortune was not one of compassion, and the credit of ministering to human suffering on an extended scale belongs to Christianity.'"

The first large scale public hospital was started in Rome by a Christian woman named Fabiola as an act of penance. By the end of the 4th Century, care for the sick was institutionalized by the Church in almost every major city. In the Middle Ages the sick began to find assistance at Franciscan monasteries. Etc.

The very word "hospital" has come to us through the works of the Knights of Saint John, otherwise known as the "Hospitallers", and later known as the Knights of Malta. The "Hospitallers" were so called because of their establishment of a "hospice" in Jerusalem around 1080. The hospice was established to provide a refuge for the poor and safety for pilgrims. Around 1120, under Raymond du Puy, the hospice began to emphasize its service to the sick.

In any event, the good Raymond and others like him, did not spend time petitioning the government to provide health care. It was simply a Gospel imperative, and they did it. The state, recognizing the contribution of the Church over time, began to see the wisdom of supporting the Church in this work.

However, now, the Church, at least in the U.S., has become just one more snout in the government trough. Most Catholic health care and aid institutions are simply middle agencies for the distribution of federal dollars. Our moral high ground is reduced to letters to Congress begging to be heard.

The only remedy is the application of the Gospel not only in spite of, but in direct opposition to THE GOVERNMENT, the new Rome, where euthanasia, infanticide, and abortion were everyday realities (see link).

Screw the 501c3 crap. If we gave half as much attention to the advancement of the Gospel as we do to preserving our "tax-exempt" status, we might have turned this country around long ago.

There will be hell to pay.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gay Rights = Smoker's Rights

I'm not a smoker, but I think it's time for someone to stand up for smoker's rights. For several years now smokers have had many of their civil rights denied them. Here's a short list:

1. The right to peaceably assemble.
Local and state laws have increasingly barred smokers from assembling with other smokers in the gamut of public places.

2. Right to Privacy.
A high court in Florida has decided that a smoker can have "no legitimate expectation" of the right to privacy.

3. The right to work.
Hiring bans on smokers are legal in many states.

4. Right to housing.
Some states have banned smoking in private apartments and public housing.

5. Right to pursue happiness on private property.
In Rolling Hills, CA, local homeowners lost the right to have a smoke in their own yards.

The list goes on. Here on Guam smoking is banned in restaurants which I believe is an infringement on private property rights. Proprietors should be free to run their businesses as they see fit. No one is forcing non-smokers to visit their restaurant.

In the name of health the government is expanding its coercive powers on all fronts. Since most of us do not smoke, we didn't pay much attention when here on Guam they went after the restaurants. But as we can easily see from the example of other states, it will not stop there, as Bill 150 clearly shows.

Senator B.J. Cruz introduced Bill 150 which would raise the tax on tobacco products an extra 50%. I find it a bit amusing that the champion of civil rights for one particular group is leading the charge against the civil rights of another group.

As you know, Senator Cruz backed Bill 138 and introduced Bill 185 in the interest of securing civil rights for people with same-sex attraction. Since the introduction of Bill 138 in June, we have heard at length from proponents about how homosexuality is something that can't be helped, that gays and lesbians are just "born that way" and because of this helpless predilection society must recognize and grant them the right to marry whomever they choose.

Okay, let's say that it's true, that there is in fact a "gay gene", that homosexual behavior is something hard-wired into one's system and that same-sex attraction is as genetic as being Black or Mexican. Fine. But smoker's can make the same claim.

In an article published in the American Psychological Association's journal of Health Psychology in January of 1999, entitled ''Evidence Suggesting the Role of Specific Genetic Factors in Cigarette Smoking,'' psychologist Caryn Lerman, Ph.D., of the Georgetown University Medical Center and her co-authors demonstrated that a link exists between smoking behavior and the dopamine transporter gene (SLC6A3-9). In their study of 289 smokers and 233 nonsmokers, they found that individuals with an SLC6A3-9 genotype were less likely to be smokers than individuals without that gene.

And in their article, ''A Genetic Association for Cigarette Smoking Behavior,'' Dean H. Hamer, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute and colleagues found from examining 1,107 nonsmokers, current smokers and former smokers that the SLC6A3-9 gene was associated with certain personality characteristics that influenced a person's susceptibility of being able to start and stop smoking.

According to these studies, smokers are every bit as helpless as gays say they are. So why is Senator Cruz, the recognized champion of gay civil rights, bent on not only depriving these helpless people of their civil rights, but punishing them with a tax on top of it?

The primary rational for the war against smokers is the burden smoking places on health resources. In the Marianas Variety on 8/15/09, Senator Cruz stated “Considering the overwhelming scientific data showing numerous health-related problems associated with tobacco use, an increased tax on tobacco is definitely necessary to prevent people from smoking.”

I wasn't going to bring this up, but since Senator Cruz has taken to employing "scientific data", perhaps smokers should require scientific data of their own. At the public hearing for Bill 185 - the domestic partnership bill - I resisted inserting data from a report entitled The Health Risks of Gay Sex by Dr. John Diggs, Jr., M.D.

The medical data is detailed, graphic, scientific, and staggering. But as to the present topic, the study notes that while smokers lose an average of 13.5 years of their life, the average years of life lost for practicing homosexuals is 20.

I didn't bring up the study because for every study there is always another study. But since the proponents of Bill 150 want to bring up studies, then out of fairness, smokers should demand that similar studies be presented on the health risks of homosexual behavior and its potential impact on health care resources.

It could all be very scientific. The question is which puts more of a burden on health care, smoking or gay sex? You don't have to look far for the answer. According to National Institute of Health 2002, while 11 million people in America are directly affected by cancer compared to three-quarters of a million with AIDS, seven times more money is spent per patient on AIDS research than Cancer research.

If taxing tobacco products will reduce smoking as Senator Cruz claims, then taxing gay sex should do the same, don't you think? Of course such a proposition is ridiculous and I'm for leaving both groups legislatively alone.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Coaltion to Oppose Bill 138 Position Statement

July 14, 2009

We believe that Bill 138, especially in its new form, is bad for the people of Guam. Bill 138, if passed into law, will demand the people of Guam to legally recognize an alternative form of marriage that would not require sexual complementarity, permanence, mutual fidelity, or openness to life - the primary service of marriage to the common good - which is the production, socialization, and education of the next generation.

Bill 138 will reduce the solemn public vow of marriage to a matter of licensing and private agreement that will make such unions even easier to get into and out of. Because Bill 138 would open the door for opposite sex couples to have all the benefits and protections of marriage without the public commitment of marriage, we can expect that there will be even more displaced children, discarded women, and increased financial burden on the people of Guam.

The sponsor of Bill 138 has repeatedly publicly stated that his bill will respect marriage. The evidence speaks otherwise. Section 16109 of the revised bill would require the people of Guam to recognize "every reference in the Guam Code Annotated to marriage, or any aspect thereof," to be applied "equally to domestic partnerships”, including every reference to husband, wife, or spouse, and any reference to marital status.

Essentially there is absolutely no difference between marriage and the domestic partnership that Bill 138 asks us to legislatively enshrine, EXCEPT that domestic partnerships will not require a public act. The sponsor refers to the public act as a "ceremony" and infers the word "wedding". However, according to the law, the "ceremony" is not the wedding, but "solemnization", which is essentially the swearing of one person to another in front of a public official and two witnesses. It can take all of 30 seconds.

Solemnization is essentially the act of publicly enshrining the new union. The reason it is public is because marriage is essentially an entity that does not exist simply for the benefit of the couple but also for the benefit of the society in which it exists. Society assumes and expects the new union to do its part in creating the next generation necessary for that society to endure and flourish (sterile unions notwithstanding). Bill 138, by eliminating the public act, is essentially stating that a domestic partnership is a private agreement and is not subject to public expectations.

We say, fine. But then domestic partnerships are then not privy to the same protections and incentives that society grants to solemn public covenants. The protections and incentives that domestic partnerships seek are not granted to married couples because they care for each other, but because they have made a public commitment to produce, socialize, and educate the next generation (again, sterile unions notwithstanding). Society has historically recognized the fragility, complexity, and burden of such a commitment and has chosen to support and protect it, especially given the particular vulnerability of women and children. Whether we will continue to support and protect it is the question before us.

We know that we live in a democratic society and we respect the will of the people. But let it truly be the will of the people. In this regard we recommend that the legislature follow the laws of Guam as well as its own standing rules. Our concerns regarding the law are as follows:

1. Senator Cruz has authored a substitute version of Bill 138, which, according to all news reports, was to be heard on July 15. However, the rules do not allow a substitute bill to be heard before the original. Knowing this, Senator Aguon, who chairs the committee that would hear the bill, advised that the original bill would be heard on July 15, but that public comment would be accepted on the substitute bill. (K57, July 13) However, "public comment" at a public hearing is essentially a "hearing". And the law requires public notice of five working days before a hearing can be lawfully conducted. The first public notice that the substitute version of the bill would be heard on July 15 was in the PDN on Friday, July 10. This would allow for less than four full working days before the hearing – a violation of the Open Government law. Additionally, the substitute version was not made available for the public to review. What we have is a classic strategy of “bait and switch”- simply an insult to the intelligence of the people of Guam.

2. The reason that the substitute version was not made available was because that it could not be. According to the Legislative Standing Rules Section 5.04, a substitute bill can only be introduced by the oversight Committee, the Author, or the Committee on Rules. Senator Cruz is none of these and thus not authorized to submit a substitute bill.

3. Section 5.04 also states that "amendments to any bill referred to it which are germane to, and not inconsistent with, the subject as expressed in the title, or may recommend a germane substitute bill." The fact that the new Bill 138 is radically different from the original in that it 1) incorporates opposite sex couples, 2) requires legal recognition of same-sex marriage contracted in foreign jurisdictions (16108), and 3) forces the people of Guam to apply all aspects of references to marriage to be applied to domestic partnerships (16109), brings into question the issue of "germaneness" required by the standing rules. Clearly, the new bill is neither "germane" nor consistent with the original bill, despite the author's repeated claims.

4. Realizing this, Senator Aguon was right to withdraw the bill from the hearing scheduled for July 15. (In defense of Senator Aguon, and due to his only recently having arrived back on island, he had not yet seen the revised bill and was not aware of the issues it presented.) HOWEVER, a public hearing on the revised bill still cannot go forward unless the revised bill is duly substituted under the standing rules, or it is introduced apart from the original bill.

5. We also find it extremely disingenuous for Senator Cruz to continue to claim that he has "scaled back" the original bill to appease the Catholic community. The new bill is many times more aggressive than the original. By withholding the new bill from the public and keeping us from seeing just how offensive to marriage his new bill is, we believe that Senator Cruz is allowing animosity to accrue against the Church for the purposes of influencing public opinion in his favor.

6. The new bill also eliminates the possibility of assisting near relatives to care for each other as Senator Cruz said was his intent (Dededo Town Hall). Section 16103 would declare void a domestic partnership between “parents and children, ancestors and descendants of every degree, and between brothers and sister of the half as well as the whole blood, and between uncles and nieces or aunts and nephews.” One has to sincerely wonder, why Senator Cruz would publicly state such a noble intent and then forbid it in his legislation. If Senator Cruz is sincere about providing the protections and benefits he seeks, we already have the model of the Hawaii Reciprocal Benefits Act which would do precisely what Senator Cruz says that he wants to do.

7. Because the revised bill now incorporates opposite sex couples we urge Senator Aguon’s Committee to hear both Bill 158 and Bill 138 (or whatever number it turns out to be) at the same time, as, essentially, both bills are now at the same table. We now must decide as a society whether to preserve marriage or abandon it.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Some help for Senator Cruz

In his July 8, 2009 interview with Ray Gibson on K57, Senator B.J. Cruz gave us an overview of some of the particulars of what the substitute bill for Bill 138 would look like.

Here are some of the main points:

1. The words "marriage" and "union" will not be a part of the bill.
2. The bill will request for the "benefits and protections" currently applicable to legally married couples.
3. The bill will not specify gender.

Senator Cruz mentioned that he had been approached by members of the homosexual community who were concerned that the substitute bill would not recognize "the spiritual relationship" between same-sex couples and, in effect, be a step back for homosexuals.

Senator Cruz's reply was that the intention of the substitute bill would be to first pursue the "end goal" of Bill 138 and wait for a more favorable environment to put forth more progressive legislation.

(He is hoping that Obama will overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of same-sex marriage. Just a note: Obama cannot overturn the DOMA. Congress will have to. But given the folks running things now, there might be a pretty good chance.)

According to Senator Cruz, the "end goal" of Bill 138 is the annexation of the same "benefits and protections" legally accorded to heterosexual married couples. Senator Cruz knows that this is not the "end goal" of Bill 138, or he should know after four weeks of town hall meetings.

The commentary, questions, and discussion which accompanied the presentation of the bill at each meeting rarely, if ever, dealt specifically with "benefits and protections", but with the true "end goal" of the bill which is the legislative authentication of homosexual behavior. Talk of "benefits and protections" was but a pretext for what in effect turned out to be little more than 4 weeks of gay pride rallies, despite the much exaggerated opposition. (For the record, I have no personal issue with gay pride rallies, but let's not call them Town Halls.)

There are two giant issues that Senator Cruz and the proponents of whatever bill he comes up with will have to address:

1) The legal, social, and moral (not religious) foundation for the requisition of the rights and benefits they seek.
2) Adherence to and adoption of all the laws currently applicable to marriage since, as of now, the new bill will simply appropriate the current marriage laws, and in effect, setup what amounts to a parallel marriage.

The legal, social, and moral (not religious) foundation for the requisition of the same rights and benefits accorded to legally married heterosexual couples to be also granted to partners of a legally recognized non-marital entity

As stated elsewhere in one of my posts, the government is not in the business of arbitrarily distributing "benefits and protections". Legally recognized corporate entities are granted certain benefits and protections - be they marriages, businesses, association, or otherwise - based on their relationship to the larger community in which they exist and their contribution to the common good. Thus, certain tax benefits or exemptions may apply to a business or an association that would not apply to individuals or even other businesses or associations. It is dependent on the aforementioned criteria.

Thus, proponents of this new non-marital entity will need to justify their claim to the same social benefits and protections currently accorded legally recognized married couples by arguing convincingly that this new non-marital entity can attain to the same role marriage fulfills in its relationship to the community and its contribution to the common good.

This is the question that law makers must first ask otherwise there is no boundary to the claims individuals or legal entities may make on its government.

Adherence to and adoption of all the laws currently applicable to legal marriage.

We have heard much from the proponents about rights, benefits, privileges, and protections. We have heard next to nothing about duties, obligations, requirements, and obligations.

Senator Cruz must know that the creation of a new legal institution of persons, especially one that attempts to parallel an institution that predates, engenders, and sustains the very society that has historically and in every generation and culture sought, in turn, to nurture and protect it, will not be a simple task.

A cursory review of Chapter 3 of the GCA, Articles 1-3, will reveal a legal maze that will consume legislative resources far beyond the introduction of this bill. Let's look at a few:

Consummation of the Marriage: The law states that "Any unmarried person of the age of eighteen years or upwards, and not otherwise disqualified, is capable of consenting to and consummating marriage." The law assumes and requires both consent and consummation for marriage to be valid. While the new bill will not specify gender, it would have to eliminate the requirement for consummation since it would discriminate against same-sex couples. Either that or it would have to redefine "consummation".

(Perhaps this could lead to a debate over why the law requires consummation in the first place. After all, aren't we supposed to be "keeping the government out of our bedrooms?" What business is it of the government'? Well, for now, it is.)

"Husband and Wife": Current marriage law refers in several places to "husband" and/or "wife". Will the new law simply appropriate these terms without regard to their historical context within traditional marriage? The problem becomes more obvious when same-sex couples are involved.

Minors: The law allows persons below the age of 18 and above the age of 16 to contract marriage with parental consent. Will the new law appropriate this condition directly? Will we have same-sex 16 year old high school sophomores living in a legal entity that despite the nomenclature parallels and approximates marriage? I isolate the problem with same-sex couples because the law already allows 16 year-old's to marry.

The law further allows females as young as 14 to marry with appropriate permissions. How will this apply to lesbian girls. The law assumes that the 14 year old female will be marrying a male that is at least 16 years old. Direct appropriation of the marriage laws would allow two 14 year old girls to enter into a legally recognized lesbian relationship with all the benefits of legally married couples.

One might argue "what parent would allow their children to do any such thing?". Parents are already allowing the children to do "many such things", with or without their knowledge. But one can easily see how same-sex couples who have legal custody of their children could certainly allow or even encourage their children to take advantage of a law that authenticates same-sex unions and furthers the agenda that we all know is there.

Incompetency of Parties: The law reads: "Marriages between parents and children, ancestors and descendants of every degree, and between brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood, and between uncles and nieces or aunts and nephews, are incestuous, and void from the beginning whether the relationship is legitimate or illegitimate."

How will the new law handle this? Incest assumes sexual intercourse between opposite sex persons and the detrimental effects on offspring of close blood relations. Same-sex relations are sterile. With no possibility of offspring there is no possibility of the detrimental effects associated with incest, so this section of the law would have no basis if applied to same-sex entities.

(Again, it is instructive to note that despite the many objections to procreation as the reason for marriage, our law, with regards to such things as incest and consummation assumes that procreation is the "ends" of marriage.)

Senator Cruz, in attempting to distinguish his proposed non-marital entity from marriage made several references to the word "ceremony", stating that the proposed institution would not require a "ceremony" but would simply be a registration process and "they wouldn't have to go through the whole ceremony".

I think the word Mr. Cruz is looking for is "wedding". The marriage and the wedding are two different things. A marriage according to Guam law does not require a ceremony/wedding. A legal marriage requires a license, solemnization, and authentication, but no party. Two people can simply get a license, have their marriage solemnized by the appropriate public official in the presence of one or more witnesses, and authenticated or certified at the Office of Vital Statistics.

There is no "ceremony" unless one wants to refer to "solemnization" as a ceremony (which it is).

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Of Mozart, Marley, & Michael

I believe that every once in a while, or probably more often than we notice, God, being the all-powerful Creator that He is, creates something or someone, simply to show off, or more precisely to “show us”.

Properly appreciated, the creation should naturally lead the "appreciator" to the Creator. God, of course, leaves us reminders and signs of His power and goodness everywhere, But every once in a while, I believe He gets "impish" and creates a Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or a Michael Joseph Jackson, people whose genius has no other explanation other than God decided to breathe into existence a phenomenon that He hopes will make us pause long enough to consider the source. Sort of a "look what I can do".

Mozart’s genius has been legendary for centuries. At 3 he was playing the keyboard. By 5 he was composing. While still a child, he wowed the world with inexplicable feats of performance and composition.

Jackson’s pedigree needs no detail. His special genius was most apparent when he, like Mozart, was still a child. There were other precocious child stars of the time, but none as brilliant and as captivating as Michael Jackson, and certainly none that could compare with him as he matured.

The only other person in the world, during Jackson’s lifetime who could even come close to the same influence and force of personality was Bob Marley. Marley’s genius, too, was beyond natural explanation. His music was beyond rhythm, lyrics, and melody. It was even beyond him. Marley was a force of nature. His music, like Jackson’s, was a spiritual eruption, a channeling of supernatural soul-deep stirrings into sound and motion. This is why, despite their very dissimilar circumstances and styles, we are irresistibly drawn to them, whether or not we are fans of their music or message.

There is a scene in the movie “Amadeus” where Mozart, in the midst of his mother-in-law’s ranting, begins to “hear” music and wanders into the next room, as if beckoned and possessed by a siren, and writes down what he’s “hearing”. The scene captures the essence of men like these. Mozart’s world is crashing down all around him. His wife is threatening to leave him. His father has disowned him. His debts are mounting. His health is failing. And…and all he "hears" is "the music".

Out of mercy, I think, God does not let men like this live very long. Their flames burn so intensely that, in the absence of a mentor to control and protect them, they internally burn to death. Mozart died at 35, Marley died at 35, and Jackson too, perhaps, “died” at 35.

Men of such genius cannot be left on their own if we wish to keep them longer. In the days before Mozart, there were men of similar genius. One could say Bach was comparable. He did not "flame out" because men of his station in that era did not get to choose their own way. A man’s station then was defined and controlled by who and what he served.

Bach, while in a way, enslaved to his station and class, was nevertheless freed from having to wrestle with the demons of self-actualization, and thus at liberty to channel all his personal resources into a creative life that is nothing short of monumental, while living a reasonably normal family and social life.

It was Mozart who broke the mold. Perhaps he suffered from a much too opportunistic father. Bach, while as musically great as Mozart, did not have the burden of being a child star. Mozart was the first child star. He was the Michael Jackson of his age. In short order, he outgrew his father, much the same way, Jackson outgrew his father (and his brothers). Due to their early fame and fortune, both had the material tools and the public support to break free of their familial and social moorings.

And both, while it is common to say that they possessed great talent, were in fact, actually possessed themselves by that talent. Such geniuses need guidance, and too early, they had none. Both then were doomed to early death, and so it was.

Marley, was different in this way. It never escaped "Brother Bob" that he was “Jah’s” instrument. His religion, whatever one may think of it, was always central to Marley’s mission, or at least it became so in proportion to his success. Marley's spiritual progress is easily traceable in each recording, culminating with the plaintive solo acoustic wail labeled "Redemption Song": the last track, on the last album made before his death.

One might wonder why God would “curse” men with gifts beyond their control and which would doom them to much suffering and early death. Of course God does no such thing. God creates only that which is good and beautiful. Both Mozart and Jackson might have had very different ends had not greedy and much less gifted men seized the opportunity that both of these remarkable lives presented.

In any event, history has proved kind to Bob Marley and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but perhaps not so, Michael Jackson. Marley, in death, has been become a superstar of mythological proportions. And Mozart's enduring brilliance has outpaced his trail of personal peccadilloes. However, Jackson, who died at 51, may have lived too long for history to do him the same favor.
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