The Washington Times among others made public the proposed same sex marriage bill has passed through the Washington Council approved. The Washington Council approved same sex marriage on Tuesday in a landslide vote of 11 to 2 for a bill that would make the district the sixth jurisdiction in the country to approve of such unions.
David Catania, The Author of the Bill said “Today’s vote is an important victory not only for the gay and lesbian community but for everyone who supports equal rights.” Yet, opponents of the bill have said that they will seek to overturn the bill through congress, which may or may not decide to put down the bill.
In November, The Archdiocese of Washington stated that if the measure passed it would have to limit its social services in the District. The Archbishop initially seemed to imply that he would be withdrawing all of the Catholic social services provided in the district but has since seemingly changed his position slightly and renewed his Diocese’s commitment to the poor.
Initially though, it seemed as though he was implying that the church would abandon her social services in the district. The Archbishop has since said that the church will continue to provide services to the poor, but it may not be doing so in collaboration with the District of Columbia since the new bill proposes to mandate that health care benefits be extended to same sex partners working with and for the church.
The church feels that mandating this is a violation of Catholic beliefs. Archbishop Wuerl of Washington DC noted that the new law would “prohibit us from carrying out our social service ministry if we did not subscribe to this new definition.” Being that the church does not want to provide same-sex couples with health benefits.
In addition to this reservation about being forced to abandon working with the District of Columbia to provide social services to not just 68,000 in DC, but about 125,000 in the greater DC area the Church radically opposes the redefinition of marriage. He said in a video seen here that this definition is opposed to a rather universal definition embraced by all cultures and faiths.
It was my initial concern that the diocese would abandon social work in the area altogether, but the clarifications have reassured me, as well as many others that the church is not out to ostracize the poor. But will be caring for them with purely her own resources instead of those of Washington DC which now come with various strings attached. This means that we as Christians should now step up our giving to Catholic social services. The church is still committed to the poor and will not use them as political leverage in her fight against liberalism and that makes me happy, the initial statement felt to me so mediaeval in all the wrong ways. But, having clarified his intent, I feel that we should support the Archbishop in his choice because i do not see how he could have done this any differently.
While I believe that if America wants to make it compulsory for health benefits to be extended in secular businesses to same-sex couples, making it compulsory of any faith is not an act of toleration but an imposing and demanding dictatorship. America’s dictatorship and fascist obsession is not pluralism, but pluralizing everything into meaningless chatter. America is a society full of noise, with little content carried on the airwaves. It would be so easy to pass legislation exempting faith based services from fulfilling certain social impositions on other services, to allow the Church to more freely do her work, but the fundamentalist camp among liberals will have no compromises.
America’s pluralism is not one that creates vibrant diversity it is one that removes any meaningful or committed language from the public sphere and reduces everything to business, economics and the powers of lobbying. Indeed, the American experiment has shown its true colors as one where the market rules, and that market demands the inability to produce meaningful dialogue in order to create truer and more dependent consumers.
I think as Christians, a few things we can do about all this is remember the poor in our own lives, and pray for them as well as serve them with our time, money and efforts. We must remember to love our gay neighbors, children, parents and friends with the same love we should show anyone else. We have to resist the temptation to marginalize and oppress them, but retain our commitment to the faith. Whatever America decides to do, let her do, but the Church will remain the Church.
Ultimately we have to undermine the system that makes possible the transforming of our bodies from culture creation to culture consumption. We have to undermine the processes by which America makes possible a reimagining of our bodies as meaningless, and blank slates. John Locke has become the author of our bodies, and our sexuality. Indeed, Locke’s victory in the public square has not blessed humans at all, nor made them free but brought them under the bondage of the market, and reduced them to enslaved consumers, blank slates open for corporations to write on.
The other thing we can do to resist capitalism and liberalism is to become a crafting people (this may sound silly, but i’m serious), a people who in their own lives work to not just consume things, but to produce them, with their hands, and the labor of their bodies. I’ve recently taken up sculpture as well as beginners metalcrafting in my own free time. I think that physical hobbies and crafting are a way we can remember the significance of our bodies, as well as serve the poor through the crafts we make. We can make clothes, grow food, make prayer necklaces and rosaries, we can make things that help us help others, and i think that this making reminds us that our bodies and creation are still very good.