Vatican's Empty Argument Against Homosexual Union

The Vatican’s call against gay marriage is flawed in several ways—and I intend to ignore here the obvious ad hominem attack on the egregious polymorphous perversity of so many among the Catholic clergy.

The argument seems to consist of the following parts, according to the NewsJournal’s summary of August 1:

  1. Same-sex unions attack the “common good” of society.
  2. Homosexual relationships are immoral and deviant.
  3. Homosexual unions—unlike traditional marriages—cannot reproduce the human race.

 I’ll begin with (2), the most substantive of the three arguments, I’d think.  Asserting that homosexuality is immoral requires some moral system on the basis of which the immorality can be declared.  However, there is no such moral system that can come to such an unambiguous stance, other than the command-of-god morality.  If a god has decreed homosexuality to be immoral, then—in addition to believing that god—I must also believe that the Pope, a holy book, or some other conduit is a reliable source for that god’s dicta and decrees.  However, some god had also told Andrea Yates to kill her children; s/he also told a Bethune Cookman student to set fire to a dormitory, and told Pat Robertson that, with a solid engagement in prayer, he’ll be able to edit the Supreme Court.  And wasn’t there another announcement to Mr. Robertson also of floods and winds in Orlando some years ago because of Disney’s being fair to homosexuals? 

 Now some god, not necessarily THE GOD, has revealed new dicta to the Pope.  Who’s a person to believe in the midst of this torrent of god-dicta and god-decrees?  I would think that most of us will ask, as the final touchstone of distinguishing moral god-dicta from immoral god-dicta, whether harm is being done to anyone.  Since Andrea Yates, the Bethune Cookman student, and Pat Robertson’s case of the “wind and flood” happening were all entailing harm to some people, we would reject them as moral god-dicta if we were thinking rationally.  We need to take the same rationality to an evaluation of the Pope’s statement.  So, the charge that homosexuality is immoral is not a trump card at all; instead it’s a clear petitio principii, a case of begging the question, an example of a circular argument.

 What remains is the charge that the behavior is deviant.  But what does the behavior deviate from?  What is the standard and the norm?  Considering that we are all proud of our individuality and uniqueness, we are all deviant from some standard.  Given the wide variety of sexual expressions and tastes, I’d think that no human is non-deviant.  Perhaps what lurks here is also the view that behavior is different from standards in nature.  But such an assertion is factually wrong.  Anyone who thinks that homosexuality does not occur in nature should begin with a study of the behavior of Bonobo Chimpanzees and fan out from there.  There is indeed reason to believe that homosexuality is a naturally and normally evolving behavior in response to overpopulation of a species, as has been demonstrated in laboratory cultures of Norway Rats.

 The Vatican’s observation (3) is overstated and too broad.  Under that constraint, also childless marriages must be forbidden; barren women must not be allowed to marry; men with vasectomies or a low sperm-count must remain unattached; and anyone at an age where only Viagra and hormone therapy allows sexual expression should go for an immediate divorce.  But such conclusions are obviously harmful, overstated, and downright silly.

 Finally, I must freely confess that I have no idea about how intimate behavior can threaten the “common good” of society.  To my limited awareness, the “common good” of society is its survival with some semblance of dignity of its members.  Overpopulated slums, high infant-mortalities, and tax breaks for the wealthy are all obvious harms to the to the “common good” of the society.  People in a homosexual union—as long as they carry out their garbage, keep the curb-appeal of their homes, participate in the democratic process, and pay their taxes on time—do not oppose the “common good” of any society that I am aware of.

 Let’s face it: The deity that reveals new stuff to the Pope has a decidedly unholy preoccupation with the human sexual apparati.  This world contains one heck of lot of other outright immoralities that the deity’s time would be much more wisely spent delving into.

Reinhold Schlieper

23 Seafaring Path

Palm Coast FL  32164


published in the NewsJournal of August 8, 2003, on page 5A under the category "Community Voices"--This is the unedited version.

Reinhold Schlieper
August 8, 2003