The stupidest thing I have read in a long time

On a site called – ironically – The Moderate Voice I saw one of the stupidest things I have ever read.  As a matter of fact, this is the sort of entry that brings well-deserved scorn down on many slapdash internet sites and gives blogs and so forth a bad image.

I will not reproduce the whole thing here, because it is so riddled with errors of thought and of history that it would take too much time to untangle them.

I think what is at the heart of this idiotic piece is both baggage about the Church and a desire to destroy traditional marriage in favor of homosexual unions.

Here are a couple samples.  Set your coffee down.

Raise your hand if you knew that the linkage of “marriage” and religious norms is an artifact of the Catholic Church’s fight for its life in the 16th century?

I’m guessing that many Americans would shudder if they realized that their current religious beliefs were so wedded to the Church’s fight with Protestants. The supremacy of The Church in all things marriage was formalized with The Council of Trent (1545 – 1563), which was organized in response to the “heresies” of the Protestants, led by Martin Luther.  From Wikipedia (emphasis added):

The writer then quotes some things about the reaction of the Church at the Council of Trent in the face of Protestant attacks on marriage as a sacrament (Protestants don’t believe marriage is a sacrament).

The writer thinks that because the Church reacted to Protestant errors, and established a theology of marriage and canons about belief in marriage as a sacrament and its celebration then… wait for that… that is what the Church – I am not making this up – invented marriage.

Yes, friends, the Church invented marriage in the 16th century.  It seems that during the first 15 centuries of her mission the Church didn’t bother much with marriage.

So why would this person write something which is so obviously absurd?  Keep in mind that the writer doesn’t have clue about any dimension of her subject.

The rhetoric surrounding California’s Prop 8 has its roots in the evolution of marriage from a means of male lineage preservation (Jews and the God of Israel and the Old Testament) to a convenience of economics (where women were chattel) to a ceremony of religious sanctity. It is time for America to truly throw off the shackles of the Church and embrace marriage as “an expression of the right to happiness,” a journey with a major milepost during my lifetime — Loving v Virginia. We need a clean break between state and church, marriage that is a private contract between two consenting adults. Period.

Get the picture?

The next step in this program will allow you to marry your dog.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. chonak says:

    So the Church invented marriage doctrine in response to the Protestant Reformation? This will be news to Catherine of Aragon.

  2. servusmariaen says:

    That sounds like something Michael Sullivan would say. oremus pro invicem.

  3. torch621 says:

    The Church invented marriage in the 16th Century as a tool to fight Protestants? That would news to just about every married couple in history, don’t you think?

  4. JARay says:

    What about the marriage feast of Cana?
    Why did Jesus say that Abraham had permitted divorce, “but in the beginning this was not so” and when a man and woman were united in marriage they were no longer two but “one flesh”?

  5. Choirmaster says:

    a means of male lineage preservation (Jews and the God of Israel and the Old Testament)

    I thought that the only authentic inheritance among the chosen people was matrilineal, due, most likely, to the fact that they didn’t have reliable paternity testing in those days. It must be the brainwashing confusing me again.

    a convenience of economics (where women were chattel)

    Yeah. Like Jews or Catholics ever had the option to sell-off their wives.

    Does anyone remember back to their grade-school days when you would poke fun at someone’s affinity for a person or thing and taunt them with: “if you like it so much why don’t you marry it?”

    Even school-children can recognize the absurdity of defining marriage as an expression of love!

  6. revs96 says:

    I’ve been saying the dog thing for years.

  7. ray from mn says:

    This would be news to the English Royal Family that traces itself through marriage back to Alfred the Great in the 9th century. Then too there would be other royal families and those that don’t rule any longer such as those of the French and German and the Roman, Egyptian, Chinese, Japanese, Israelite, Persian, etc. that go back to times long before that of Christianity

  8. Jamus says:

    So long as the dog is an adult, I s’pose…

  9. wanda says:

    I, Fido, take you, Ms. Whiskers, to be my lawfully wedded something or another.

  10. La Sandia says:

    If I was black, I would find the suggestion that gay “rights” is equivalent to the struggles against slavery and Jim Crow incredibly insulting. And I’m sure that many do.

  11. Choirmaster says:

    It reminds me of the scene in Ghostbusters where Bill Murray is describing the Apocalypse to the mayor of New York: “dogs and cats, living together!”

    I find way too much humor in this stuff!

  12. Supertradmum says:

    Sin and the acceptance of sin cause stupidity.

  13. mysticalrose says:

    This certainly is a truly stupid article, but there is an interesting point here. The secularism that prescinds from Protestantism is most certainly to blame for our present situation. If you remove the sacramental character from marriage, then it is a mere “contract,” as both secularists and Protestants maintain.

  14. Peggy R says:

    One of the biggest misconceptions about marriage that is used to support gay “marriage” is that marriage means happiness. If it is so, then, yes, we can “marry” our dog if we believe it makes us happy.

    Life offers much happiness, joy, sorrow and pain. All of the range of joys and sorrows are experienced, whether one is married or not. Marriage is not about happiness. The love and contentment that underlie a successful marriage are not about personal happiness–getting what I want. They are rooted in the mutual sacrifice, openness to life, sacrifice for the children which issue, and witness to society. And for Christians, love of Jesus; God at the center of the marriage. [Athropologically speaking, marriage has always been about kinship, alliance, ‘regulating’ reproduction, civiling men, protecting women and children, etc. Two men or two women can’t achieve that. But forget that “lived experience” of all of mankind, you know. It’s all bigotry, says a “judge”.]

    I think often of people I knew over the years who said they woke up and weren’t happy one day and ended their marriages, children be damned. I was single until, ahem, for a long time. I would get annoyed hearing such stories. I was unhappy some days too. Whom could I divorce? Whom could I walk out on? Whom could I blame?

    Many, many people do not understand marriage.

  15. Rob F. says:

    Dunno about the dog thing.

    The whole point of the gay “marriage” fight is to get the trophy, to carry off marriage as if it were the candelabrum of the Temple being paraded through second-century Rome. Once they get that trophy, in the form of the state blessing homosexual activity, they will not be eager to throw it to the dogs. Rather, they will want to enshrine it and use it to get further societal approval and subsidy for their lifestyle.

    No, after they get their gay “marriage” from the state, the next logical step in their agenda will be to turn their attention on the Church. Since the Church will never bless their lifestyle, they will attempt to enlist the state’s power in order to coerce her. If they succeed, God help our country.

  16. Jordanes says:

    The next step in this program will allow you to marry your dog.

    Proponents of homosexual civil union (it’s a misnomer to call it marriage) angrily huff that bringing up things like bestiality and polygamy and polyandry is an outrageous and insulting slippery slope argument.

    But just look at the past century of moral degradation. Every time the immoralisers pushed for the acceptance of a sin, we warned that it wouldn’t end there, but that it would logically lead to a push for the acceptance of another, even more horrible sin, which would in turn lead to a push for something even more unspeakable, and so on. Each time the immoralisers huffed, “Slippery slope! Paranoia!” And each time we were proven right. We could see clearly where they were headed, but they just wouldn’t dream of doing or accepting such things, so how dare we claim that’s where they were going.

    Let’s not allow the same-sex union crowd intimidate us with their emotional cries of “Slippery slope!” Just because they can’t or won’t conceive of the next logical step further down the abyss of hell doesn’t mean that’s not where they’re leading our culture. It may take a few years, or maybe two or three decades, but once natural marriage is ejected from our laws, we’ll see an accelerated impetus towards things like polygamy, group “marriage,” interspecies “marriage,” and the “marriage” of adults and prepubescent children. It doesn’t matter that homosexualists don’t want to go there or currently find those things abhorrent — these things have a way of taking on a life of their own.

  17. Supertradmum says:

    This article and others are not really about marriage. I do not believe that the homosexual community really wants “gay marriage”. I believe this is a ploy to get the larger, traditional community to accept the gay lifestyle and make it seem “domestic”, when in reality gay sex is predatory and by definition and by statistics, promiscuous. From the website

    “Prior to the AIDS epidemic, a 1978 study found that 75 percent of white, gay males claimed to have had more than 100 lifetime male sex partners: 15 percent claimed 100-249 sex partners; 17 percent claimed 250-499; 15 percent claimed 500- 999; and 28 percent claimed more than 1,000 lifetime male sex partners. Levels of promiscuity subsequently declined, but some observers are concerned that promiscuity is again approaching the levels of the 1970s. The medical consequence of this promiscuity is that gays have a greatly increased likelihood of contracting HIV/AIDS, syphilis and other STDs.”

    “Similar extremes of promiscuity have not been documented among lesbians. However, an Australian study found that 93 percent of lesbians reported having had sex with men, and lesbians were 4.5 times more likely than heterosexual women to have had more than 50 lifetime male sex partners. Any degree of sexual promiscuity carries the risk of contracting STDs.”

    The article is not about marriage, but about the complete destruction of our country and the West. These people do not care about facts or history, as they have an agenda and are rewriting history to fit their agenda.

  18. Robert says:

    We need a clean break between state and church, marriage that is a private contract between two consenting adults. Period.

    Why two? Why not three or four?

    I doubt she has an answer to this.

  19. Elly says:

    Supertradmum- I don’t see how those statistics can be used as a convincing argument. Couldn’t gay men claim that if they had been allowed to marry then they wouldn’t have had so many partners?

  20. lux_perpetua says:

    oh sigh. this stuff doesn’t even surprise me anymore.

    at swarthmore, while some students flew out to california to rally/lobby against prop 8, others wrote articles blasting the possibility of it being overturned, but not for the reasons you’d expect. you see, we were told, the current ‘queer agenda’ is dominated by “normative queers.” yes, that’s right, normative queers. overwhelmingly white “strictly gay” men and women. they were not taking into account the agendas of those who were “queer persons of color”, those who viewed marriage as an overly binding social construct… those who did not want their relationship defined by only one person or only one gender, those who did not want the right to do something so “heteronormative’ as marry. in essence, we were hearing complaints that the push for gay marriage was motivated by the gays of yesterday.

    so yes, jordanes, you’re kind of half right. except that i’ve already seen where those in my generation plan to lead the agenda’s next steps.

    How i received the grace to hear the voice of Jesus calling me back to the Church from that den of iniquity, i’m sure I will never know.

  21. moon1234 says:

    Hmmm. Seems St. Petronilla and her companion Martyrs from 1st century Rome might have something to say about that. I think Sarah and Abraham might have something to say about that as well. Ohhh My I think GOD might even have something to say about that seeing as he technically GAVE woman to Man from man.

    Marriage certificates from the state are a taking of the marriage record responsibilites from the Church to the state. The state has the same interest in seeing the species is propagated normally just as the Church does. Hence the laws in consangunity, etc. THIS is what marriage for the state is about. All of the tax liabilities and benefits are for the NATURAL propagation of the species.

    Marriage is NOT about being happy and in a committed relationship as the homosexuals would like to redefine it. For the state, it is simply a way to assure the propagation of the species and support those people who are bringing new life into the world.

    People we are living in Babel and we all know what happened there.

  22. Supertradmum says:


    The point is that it is the very nature of homosexual sex to be promiscuous and so-called marriage not only does not change this, but covers up the real lifestyle choices. They would not claim otherwise.

  23. This whole thing is just another “file under ‘stupid stuff'”.
    The Church created marriage?
    I can’t even begin to think of a response to this; it’s just “over the top”, as far as I’m concerned.
    And yes, Supertradmum: one of the “best kept secrets”; most gay “unions” (according to statistics and not from anecdotes) are “open unions”…”marriage” is the last thing these folks want; it’s just a political ploy to “regularize” sin and deviant behaviour.
    But I’m probably committing a “hate crime” so I’ll shut up now!!

  24. Choirmaster says:

    I’m not usually conspiratorial, but “gay marriage” must also be looked at through the lens (hermeneutic) of the larger, historical and cultural picture.

    For example, taken from the Congressional Record, a syllabus of the stated goals of infiltrating communists includes the following entries:

    26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”

    40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

    Source: Communist Goals (1963) Congressional Record–Appendix, pp. A34-A35 January 10, 1963

    Of course, I do not wish to cite Congress as an authority on anything moral or cultural, but it can be very enlightening to see that, 40 years ago, somebody saw this coming and, without the bias of precedence, connected this sort of thing with the spread of Communism and the destruction of the culture and institution of the United States as a nation.

    If I have correctly read the comments here, it seems that many astute observers conclude that “gay marriage” is not and end in and of itself, but a step along the path towards an ultimate goal. The end-game, whatever it might be, surely does not include a strong and prosperous America, a healthy, vibrant Catholic Church, families with children, or any such thing (all of the things that I am–or would be–most proud to be a part of).

  25. doanli says:

    “The next step in this program will allow you to marry your dog.”

    How about marrying my three cats? :D

  26. Supertradmum says:

    My mom side tells me we should move away from the cat-dog references. But, as life is weirder than fiction, here is a hello kitty wedding complete with female “minister”.

  27. bookworm says:

    Too many uninformed people assume that the Church “invented” a doctrine or practice at the time it is first formally defined. The Church rarely if ever “invents” any doctrine or practice like that. She simply confirms what already exists. You get people claiming the seven sacraments were “invented” in the 12th century, or that Pius XII created the doctrine of the Assumption in 1950 — he didn’t create it, he confirmed a doctrine that had been well established and celebrated for 1,500 years.

    Personally I am waiting for the day when Mormons and Muslims start suing for the right to practice polygamy. Really, if same-sex couples get to legally marry it would only be fair. If marriage can be redefined in terms of gender, why not in terms of number?

    Could we also reach a point where it might become prudent to completely separate religious and secular marriage — the State no longer recognizes Church weddings and the Church no longer participates in the State’s marriage procedures by signing off on marriage licenses, etc.? I know some European countries have done this for a long time — you have to have both a civil and a religious wedding ceremony because one ceremony cannot count for both. It might end up being our last line of defense against being forced to recognize same-sex unions.

  28. Clinton says:

    “We need a clean break between state and church, marriage that is a private contract between two consenting adults. Period.”

    What the authoress of that line of bilge seems to have overlooked is that such a private contract is already available. With a trip to
    the lawyers, two consenting adults of whatever gender combination can set up durable power of attorney, wills, guardianships and
    trusts to provide for themselves almost all of the legal benefits of marriage. (I believe a change in tax status is about the only legal
    benefit of marriage as yet unavailable to same-sex couples). I would argue that just such an arrangement embodies the strictly
    private contract between two consenting adults that our authoress yearns for, one independent of any church, administered wholly
    by the state.

    Yet it is just such a *private* contract that is scorned by the advocates of ‘same-sex marriage’, who feel that only by very *public*
    contracts are their relationships validated. In short, they already have the majority of legal benefits to hand, the one thing lacking
    is public sanction of same-sex unions. The current controversy has nothing to do with what goes on in their boudoirs, but everything
    to do with demanding that all of their fellow citizens, regardless of their own beliefs, admit theirs as a marriage once they step outside. After all, the only marriage that is purely private contract between two consenting adults, period, is that of a couple stranded
    on an otherwise desert island.

    At first I was puzzled by the writer’s asinine comments regarding marriage and the Council of Trent, but I see now that she’s attempting
    the argument that if one institution can ‘invent’ marriage at the Council of Trent, then another institution could reinvent it in the 9th
    Circuit Court. That she must resort to such a pitiful fabrication to support her argument underscores both its weakness and her own
    intellectual dishonesty. Well, it’s either that or she truly is, as Dad would say, so stupid she couldn’t find her own (hindquarters) if
    you hung a bell on it.

  29. j says:

    “artifact of the Catholic Church’s fight for its life in the 16th century”
    The writer finds (oddly enough, correctly) that the Church CLARIFIED its positions and procedures on marriage in response to Luther, who approved of polygamy, among other things (in at least one case). The writer confuses a proclamation with “invention”

  30. chironomo says:

    RE: Marriage defined as “happiness”

    While this may seem like a juvenile idea, it has a very solid political/ legal reason in their agenda. For years, the gay rights proponents have sought to approach the issue of marriage from an “equal rights” perspective, claiming that the law was not granting gays the same rights as non-gays. However, that argument failed in case after case.

    If Bob X is straight and Brad Y is gay, they are both extended the exact same rights as regards marriage. Both may marry the WOMAN of their choice (provided they are legally free to do so) and NEITHER may marry another man. And so, although it is true that Brad cannot marry another man, neither can Bob, and so their is no unequal treatment. And so the argument has turned from equal treatment under the law (which exists now) to an argument that Bob is allowed to “pusue happiness” (remember the Declaration of Independence?) while Brad is not. This is the new argument.

  31. The Cobbler says:

    It is ironic that some think the Church invented things when she clarified them and made this binding, but the more so that they will sometimes point to the disagreement that prompted the clarification as “proof” that the doctrine didn’t really exist before the Church’s response. It’s also ironic that they weigh so much on these clarifications and don’t really do anything to examine said clarifications’ rationale. Although I haven’t gone back and read the Church’s sixteenth century declarations on marriage, I’ve gotten a good impression both from the Church’s declarations I have read (e.g. Papal infallibility at Vatican I if I recall correct) and from the general attitude of the Church as I am familiar with it that one of the things these clarifications themselves weigh heavily on is historical Christian practice and teaching. To whit, they could (if they were not obstinate) see evidence of our claim that these are reiterations and not inventions in the “inventions” themselves.

    But Father, I’m surprised as to the rest of this that you haven’t seen anything so stupid in a long time, unless there’re more uncommonly crazy claims in there (I don’t plan on reading the rubbish for myself, seeing the fallacies in the samples). I was under the impression, rather, that this sketchy and ideologically one-sided view of history that claims to establish that marriage was a patriarchal power play complete with chattel slavery of women, this really is as far as I know the main rationale behind or justification of feminism’s opposition to marriage as viewed by the Church. Granted, obviously, there’s some question as to whether they hate the Church for marriage or believe what they do about marriage because they hate the Church for other reasons (and there are probably feminists on both sides of that twist, so I won’t presume to assert anything about them broadly); but the point remains that feminism links the Church to misogyny on three counts: because they think women have a right to tamper with their own bodies* and do what they wish with their babies while they are inside the same, because they will not allow for the possibility that the Church is not one-sided and requires as much of men in matrimony, and because they believe in this claim that marriage is historically or even originally an instrument of oppression. My point is simply, as crazy as this notion is in itself, it’s not really so far out there on the popularity/commonly-believable scale. What that says about how we must deal with the world (since it certainly says something about the world, albeit not much about it that we don’t also know from other things), that I’d like to know.

    *On this count, and with in mind their insistence that the Church is one-sided even in the face of evidence to the contrary, it should be noted that the Church gets flak for saying that men should not tamper with their own bodies in masturbation either. One could make a consistent argument against the Church on account of whether men and women have unlimited rights to use their own bodies as they will, but then it would no longer be a women’s issue; the making of this a women’s issue is itself an example of their insisting on seeing only one side of the Church’s stance. I mention this mainly because some will try to claim both that the Church is far less strict for men w.r.t. fidelity, what they’re allowed to do with their bodies, obligations placed on them (since, you know, men aren’t oblidged to _carry_ the child in pregnancy, never mind all the Church says about their responsibility in providing for and raising the same child), etc., and also complain that the Church forbids men masturbation, as if that ban were not an example of the obligations to men that they simultaneously claim do not really exist. Such self-contradiction wearies me… but this is incidental to this thread’s topic.

  32. lizfromFL says:

    “An expression of the right to happiness?” Say what? Craziness. Marriage is WORK. It is a job, another vocation. There is happiness in it, but that is certainly not the crux of it. Procreation and mutual betterment of each other’s souls – the real point of marriage- neither can come from a homosexual union.

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