7 Quick Takes Friday - July 29, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. Lately I've realized that I take far fewer pictures of the kids than I used to do; it's a combination of a slowly dying iPhone and being forgetful of the fact that I have a digital camera. Another problem is that Violet never stays still -- the vast majority of the pictures I have taken of her are blurry because she's constantly moving!

So, over the past few days I've made an effort to take more pictures of them. I haven't succeeded as well as I'd hoped, but I got a few decent ones.

2. Here is Violet sitting in her favorite chair (my grandmother Violet found it at a rummage sale for $5 and bought it for us!):

3. Here's Violet again in her chair, being a goofball by waving her feet in the air:

4. Here's Violet again, laughing at me as I'm about to plug in the camera to transfer the pictures -- she was so darn cute I couldn't resist another picture.

5. Here's William right after I transferred the pictures -- he saw me with the camera and specifically asked me to take a picture of him (he needs a haircut soon!):

6. This is Elanor last Saturday morning as we were all lounging about in our PJs with bedhead:

7. And finally, as I posted on Monday, here's the newest member of our family (I didn't take this picture, obviously!):

Isn't s/he cute??

Bonus #8: My dad asked for a video of Violet walking, so I took a short one last Saturday morning (again, while we were all lounging around in PJs and with bedhead, so just ignore the brief glimpses of me!):

Veils by Lily

Okay, I know this is the second giveaway I've posted about this past week, but this one is really special -- Veils by Lily is giving away a mantilla! Her work is GORGEOUS; I've always wanted to order one of her veils (and I will one of these days -- just haven't gotten around to it yet!).

Go to Veils by Lily to enter!

Twenty-week ultrasound pictures

Most of the u/s was in 2-D, but the tech switched to 3-D for the face shot! Isn't s/he adorable? 
Profile + belly shot. Baby was measuring 19w6d (3 days ahead), and his/her estimated weight is 11oz.
Profile shot. S/he was dancing away the whole time, but the tech (and later my doctor) verified that everything looks perfect!
A close-up of the head. His/her profile looks similar to William's, I think, but also a little like Violet's... I'll have to post comparison pics later.
Baby foot! We brought Elanor with to the ultrasound and she was fascinated. She asked the tech if he could make this shot even bigger, and he said, "No, baby's foot is about the size of my thumbnail right now, so this is as big as I can make the picture."

Giveaway at Crafty Catholic Mamacita

Edit: I WON!!!!!!

Isn't this hair clip beautiful? When I was a teenager my bedroom had a wallpaper border that was blue roses on an ivory background with silver accents. I loved it so much that I later had the exact same wedding colors!

Anyway, check it out at Crafty Catholic Mamacita's blog!

7 Quick Takes Friday - July 22, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. We did get to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II on Tuesday -- in 3-D, no less. It was very strange at first because whoever was running the projector accidentally loaded the non-3D version, so they had to stop the movie about 10 minutes in and restart it.

Anyway, I thought they did a great job. It definitely had a quicker pace than Part I. My only quibble was with the Harry vs. Voldemort showdown scene -- they did a few different things than happened in the book version, and I frankly liked the book version better. But overall, great movie.

2. We saw Winnie-the-Pooh over the weekend as well. Great film for families! All of us enjoyed it (except Violet -- she didn't pay much attention to the movie, but she enjoyed the popcorn and trying to escape from our row).

3. Does anyone else think that car seat shopping must be one of the circles of hell? I HATE IT. A piece broke off of Violet's car seat (which has been through three kids now, so it's not altogether surprising) so we had to go looking for a new one. We finally found one we both agreed on but it wasn't in stock anywhere we went. I finally found it at a Target near where I work. (On clearance even, w00t!) But throw in two disgusting diapers, courtesy of William & Violet + a forgotten diaper bag = not very much fun, and a much later night than anticipated (we didn't get home until 11pm, ugh, and I was up the next morning at 4am for work).

4. William started T-ball last Saturday and had a great time. He apparently hasn't gotten the hang of running bases yet, but I'm sure he'll figure it out eventually.


Daisypath Vacation tickers

But who's counting? :)

6. I had Subway's new pulled pork sub for lunch the other day and it was really, really good. Señor/ita Cuatro wholeheartedly approved.

7. Speaking of Señor/ita Cuatro, I have my 20-week ultrasound on Monday! I'm looking forward to getting another peek at him/her. We're still set on not finding out his/her sex, but it'll be fun to see him/her nonetheless. Collin MAY be able to come with, but given that OS Lion just came out, it's iffy. Even if he is able to come, I still think we'll bring Elanor with; I think she'll get a kick out of being able to see her new brother or sister.

Be sure to check back on Monday; I'll post pictures!

7 Quick Takes Friday - July 15, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

I was going to do a regular ol' Quick Takes today, but then I read Rebecca's Quick Takes about her favorite Harry Potter moments. She's inspired me to present my favorite quotes from each book. Since I'm at work and don't have access to my books, I took advantage of WikiQuote's resources.

(Note: I won't be able to see HP 7-II until Tuesday afternoon, so no spoilers in the comments! Also, if you are one of the few people who have not yet read the series but intend to, the quotes below may contain spoilers.) 

Elanor, five months old, rocking her Harry Potter glasses

1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (one of these days I really need to do a rant on how idiotic it was that the title was changed for U.S. publication because, apparently, U.S. readers are too dumb to know or understand what "Philosopher" means...ahem):
  • "Humans do have a knack for choosing precisely those things which are worst for them." - Albus Dumbledore
  • "'The truth.' Dumbledore sighed. 'It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.'"
  • "Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love." - Albus Dumbledore
  (Obviously, The Man With Two Faces was my favorite chapter...)

2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:
  • "Hearing voices no one else can hear isn't a good sign, even in the wizarding world." - Ron Weasley
  • "Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain." - Arthur Weasley
  • "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." - Albus Dumbledore

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:
  • "I don't go looking for trouble. Trouble usually finds me." - Harry Potter
  • "If you made a better rat than a human, Peter, that's not much to boast about." - Sirius Black
  • "What was there to be gained by fighting the most evil wizard who has ever existed? Only innocent lives, Peter." - Sirius Black

4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:
  • "Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory." - Albus Dumbledore
  • "Mrs. Weasley set the potion down on the bedside cabinet, bent down, and put her arms around Harry. He had no memory of ever being hugged like this, as though by a mother." [This bit makes me cry... every. single. time.]
  • "What's comin' will come, and we'll meet it when it does." - Rubeus Hagrid

5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:
  • "One person can't feel all that at once, they'd explode." - Ron Weasley

    "Ron, just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have." - Hermione Granger
  • "[To Harry, about the Thestrals] I've been able to see them ever since my first day here. Don't worry, you're just as sane as I am." - Luna Lovegood
  • Fred Weasley: "Give her hell from us, Peeves." 

    Narrator: "And Peeves, who Harry had never seen take an order from a student before swept his belled hat from his head and sprang to a salute as Fred and George wheeled about to tumultuous applause from the students below and sped out of the open front doors into the glorious sunset."

6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:
  • "Don’t you see? Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one that rises against them and strikes back!" - Albus Dumbledore
  • "Dumbledore says people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right." - Hermione Granger
  • "But he understood at last what Dumbledore had been trying to tell him. It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew — and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents — that there was all the difference in the world."
  • (Honorable mention - this part cracks me up every time!): [Harry] Yes. [Snape] Yes, sir. [Harry] There's no need to call me "sir", Professor.

7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:
  • Minister Scrimgeour: "You may wear that scar like a crown, Potter, but it is not up to a seventeen year-old boy to tell me how to do my job! It's time you learned some respect!"

    Harry: "It's time you earned it."
  • "Luna had decorated her bedroom ceiling with five beautifully painted faces: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Neville. They were not moving as the portraits at Hogwarts moved, but there was a certain magic about them all the same; Harry thought they breathed. What appeared to be fine golden chains wove around the pictures, linking them together, but after examining them for a minute or so, Harry realized that the chains were actually one word, repeated a thousand times in golden ink: friends...friends...friends...friends... Harry felt a great rush of affection for Luna."
  • "It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it." - Albus Dumbledore

"Gay, Catholic, and Doing Fine"

Leila at Little Catholic Bubble has a must-read guest post on her blog, written by a Catholic man who is also gay and celibate. Check it out!

Response to Maya

Commenter Maya, who I know from a secular message board, left a series of comments on last week's post that really deserve their own post in response due to their length and depth. I've put Maya's comments in green so that it's easier to distinguish her words from my response.

Maya, once again, thank you for being respectful and courteous in your response. Your civility is very much appreciated.
The reason your words provoked outrage is precisely because, to many people, myself included, the term "objectively disordered" is offensive in the extreme. It suggests something is fundamentally wrong with a person, and is often used to describe conditions of great deviancy, such as pedophilia. Surely you can appreciate how, no matter the distinction between sin and sinner, why that phrase in particular would be cause for a great deal of anger and outrage? If you're not calling homosexuals objectively disordered, why use a quote that describes the condition of homosexuality as such?
Straight off the bat, I'm confused. In the same paragraph (by my interpretation), you acknowledge that I have only called homosexuality an objectively disordered inclination, but then you also say that I have called homosexual people objectively disordered. I have done the former, but not the latter.

If this phrase causes anger and outrage, it's because it's not properly understood. All sin is objectively disordered. Adultery is objectively disordered. Premarital sex is objectively disordered. In the same token, all people have disordered inclinations. Something is fundamentally wrong with all of us. It's called sin, and no one is immune from it.  The Catholic term for this is concupiscence. For some people, these inclinations come in the form of same-sex attraction. For others, an inclination to promiscuity or extra-marital sex, or an inclination toward deviant sexuality such as pedophilia and bestiality. For others (like myself) gluttony, anger, sloth, envy and pride. For others, it's a genetic predisposition to alcoholism or drug abuse.

Saying that homosexuality (or gluttony, or alcoholism) is objectively disordered is a reflection on the disorder itself, not the person who has that disorder. We can't necessarily always help what disordered inclinations we have, but we can control how we act in response to them. Thus, there is the Catholic distinction between homosexual inclinations and homosexual acts. It is not sinful to have a disordered inclination. It is sinful to act upon that inclination.
Furthermore, if you believe that homosexuality is not a choice, then yes, it does become rather more complicated to separate out "hating the sin but loving the sinner" as the two become inextricably linked. Obviously we are never going to agree on the point of whether or not homosexuality is a biological orientation or a choice, but at least try to understand where people's anger and outrage is coming from instead of feigning surprise at their reactions.
I wasn't "feigning surprise" at anyone's reactions. I honestly WAS surprised, and I asked for evidence that my words were, specifically, "hateful, bigoted, and vitrolic" as those were the accusations leveled at me. To me, those terms describe someone like Fred Phelps, who believes that anyone with same-sex attraction should be publicly flogged and executed and attempts to desecrate the funerals of soldiers and Catholic murder victims in order to pontificate his disgusting viewpoints.

Again, I was very surprised that I could post this and have it called hateful, bigoted, and vitrolic:
It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.
It's hateful to say that violent malice in speech and action against homosexual persons is deplorable? Really? All people have intrinsic dignity and worth. The disordered inclinations that each person may have has no bearing on their intrinsic dignity as a human being.
As to your arguments about incest and pedophilia. Incest doesn't technically harm anyone if the two adults involved are consenting, but there's issues of whether or not that consent can be genuine, for a start. I have my doubts whether it ever can be truly consensual, but aside from issues of consent, there's the fact that closely related biological individuals procreating vastly increases the risk of serious genetic conditions. [note from JoAnna: bolding mine]
Regarding the bolded portion -- one argument of same-sex marriage advocates seems to be that reproduction should have nothing to do with marriage. At least one commenter on the last post asked why infertile or post-menopausal heterosexuals weren't denied marriage, for example. If this is the case, why should the couple's ability to sexual reproduce make any difference to same-sex marriage advocates, whether or not the couple is homosexual or biologically related?

Another issue -- one of the only ways that homosexual couples can have children is via IVF, but the CDC states that children conceived via IVF may have a significantly higher chance of birth defects than children conceived naturally. I'm assuming, however, that these statistics aren't significant enough for you to feel that IVF should be banned.

Either the potential for sexual reproduction has nothing to do with marriage, or it has everything to do with marriage. It can't go one way for homosexual couples and another way for consenting incestuous couples. Would you support marriage for incestuous couples if and only if both were voluntarily sterilized or post-menopausal?
As for pedophilia, really? Pedophiles might be "born that way," but their victims are unable to consent.
 Why is consent the sole criterion of the good? I happen to think that a lot of things that happen between consenting adults is deplorable and immoral. Adultery, for example.
Neither of these conditions holds true in a consensual, adult, homosexual relationship. It's also deeply offensive to me to relate homosexuality to incest and pedophilia, even for the purposes of making an analogy (however poor I think it may be), and many others feel the same.
I'm sure they do, but at the same time there are parallels. It's true that homosexual relationships do not typically involve child abuse, but the fact is that both homosexuals and pedophiles claim they were "born that way" and that their sexual proclivities should be condoned, encouraged, and even celebrated. NAMBLA keeps lobbying to lower the age of consent and present arguments that teenagers, and even young children, CAN consent to sex. (Obviously, I disagree...) Two doctors, in testifying before the Canadian parliament, claimed that pedophilia was a sexual orientation no different than homosexuality or heterosexuality. The line is getting blurry, and that's worrisome.

Saying that homosexual inclinations and pedophiliac inclinations have a similar genesis (in that they both may be genetic in nature) is not saying that homosexuals are no different than pedophiles, but that seems to be the first assumption to which everyone leaps.
In your reply to Hannah above, you say that she has misrepresented or misunderstood your words, and that "gays can't procreate so they don't need marriage." In your earlier entry on the NY vote, however, you wrote this: "As homosexual couples are, by nature and design, unable to naturally procreate, the privileges are unnecessary." I understood privileges in the second part of the sentence to refer to the privilege of marriage, which you referenced earlier. If that sentence is not stating that, since homosexual couples cannot procreate naturally, that they do not need the privileges of marriage, then what were you trying to say?
I was trying to say that it is patently unnecessary to radically change and alter the institution of marriage in order to grant certain legal protections to individuals. To quote from a Vatican document about this issue:
Nor is the argument valid according to which legal recognition of homosexual unions is necessary to avoid situations in which cohabiting homosexual persons, simply because they live together, might be deprived of real recognition of their rights as persons and citizens. In reality, they can always make use of the provisions of law – like all citizens from the standpoint of their private autonomy – to protect their rights in matters of common interest. It would be gravely unjust to sacrifice the common good and just laws on the family in order to protect personal goods that can and must be guaranteed in ways that do not harm the body of society. [emphasis mine]
In your [message board post] and here, you also cited a secular article in defense of your position. However, had you returned to the thread, you would have seen that Halfwright challenged this statement. "The second author has written several books on how government should enforce morality (his morality, of course).
Oh, so the government should enforce her morality instead? I find this argument amusing, frankly. Law is, essentially, the morality of the majority being enforced upon everyone else. In democratic societies, it all depends on who makes the most persuasive case that their morality is the one that should be imposed.
The first author has written (religiously-based) letters to the editor about abortion and wrote his senior thesis on the (moral) dangers of premarital sex. At least two of them are very devout Catholics -- the first page of google turned that up easily -- and write frequently about the issue from a faith-based approach. Religion absolutely informs their views. Though they might not reference religion specifically (and they even try their hardest to stay away from it), I'd argue that religion is front and center in that piece. The vehicle might be secular, but to claim that his religious leanings have no bearing on his opinion is, to me, disingenuous. It is not a wholly secular piece against gay marriage if the author has that kind of publishing background.
I find this viewpoint -- that if one's views are influenced by religion, their arguments are therefore invalid -- extremely bigoted, frankly. In fact, it's very theophobic. You acknowledge that the arguments do not appeal to a religious perspective. Shouldn't those arguments be judged, then, on their own merits as opposed to judged on the basis of the religious background of the persons making them? I personally believe that it is wrong to automatically discount someone's arguments on the sole basis of their religious (or non-religious) background. For example, I don't automatically discount Christopher Hitchens' beliefs on the basis of his atheism: I reject them because I believe they are both uninformed and illogical.
You also assert in your previous post that you do not need to be married to someone to, for instance, be able to will your property to them upon your death. No, you do not, this is true. However, in the event you do not take extra legal steps to specify that you wish this to happen, the state will automatically assume that your property will go to your husband.
Actually, in the U.S., this varies depending on state law. Not all states are community property states. Arizona is a community property state, but my husband and I also have a will (drawn up by a lawyer and duly notarized) specifying that if one of us dies the other one inherits all possessions and property, just in case that ever changes.
Gay couples suffer through countless little slights each day that to me, are unnecessary. Why should they have to fight legally and jump through hoops (or sometimes even be denied the ability to jump through hoops) to obtain the same privileges conferred automatically upon heterosexual couples?
Why should the institution of marriage have to be radically altered -- indeed, redefined -- in order for these rights to be conferred upon two individuals who wish to specify disposition of joint property upon the death of one of them?
To use a real example, in the thread, Jemma mentioned just one way in which the exclusion of considering homosexual couples to be legally wed in Pennsylvania has affected her family. Her wife works at the university her daughter attended, but "My daughter attended that university and, for her first three years, she had to pay tuition, whereas the step-children of straight couples do not. That little example cost my family about $20,000. By her final year, my wife's union had won same-sex benefits. That's just one small example." To me, this is wrong.
Well, here's another example. When I first attended college, I lived with my mother and stepfather. Because I did, my stepfather's income was considered my "household income" when it came to federal financial aid. My mother and father, individually, made very little income; my stepfather's income was significantly more. Because my stepfather's income was considered my household income even though he was not paying for any part of my college tuition, I received very little financial aid from my university and had to take out significant private student loans in order to attend college, a situation that to this day has negatively affected my credit.

Would you support abolishing marriage altogether, or abolishing remarriage after divorce, so that other people in my situation can receive better financial aid packages? I'm guessing no. In my opinion, the answer would have been to change rules of that university should be changed so that step-children of heterosexual employees also have to pay tuition, or go by different criteria altogether, not to radically redefine marriage so that someone can have a better financial situation.
If we as a society hold that the ideal relationship legally is two people, bound to each other by law to the exclusion of all others, then the benefits of that legal relationship should extend to any in a similar situation, regardless of the genders involved.

But that's not what marriage is or why the government is in the business of recognizing marriages. Steven Greydanus just published a series of articles called Redefining Marriage that goes into this in more detail, but this is the excerpt that really sums it up well:
Recently in an online forum a same-sex marriage advocate wrote to me, “I’ve never once had any conservative be able to tell me how the legalization of gay marriage affects, in any measurable way, their relationship with their spouse.”

My response was: “I’ve never once had any same-sex marriage advocate be able to offer a coherent account of what marriage is and is not, and why it is the state should have a bureaucratic apparatus for certifying (and decertifying) sexual partnerships involving two and only two non-related adults in any gender combination.”
And what about when civil unions and domestic partnership laws become discriminatory? Take the case of Joyce and Sybil Burden, two sisters in a platonic relationship (i.e., non-incestuous) who applied for a British civil union in order to get the estate tax benefit, so that if one of them died the other wouldn't lose their family home. However, they were denied, because the final court of appeal essentially ruled that civil unions only applied to women who weren't biologically related. I think this situation is unfair under Britain's current laws, frankly. If they're going to give a civil union to two lesbians, why not to two post-menopausal sisters in a platonic relationship?
I've also never been able to understand, nor received, a satisfactory answer as to what changes when one partner in a homosexual relationship undergoes a sex change, transforming the couple into a heterosexual one. Suddenly, they are allowed to marry, yet they are not able to naturally procreate, so would they also be denied the ability to marry in your worldview? I'm genuinely curious.
In my view, such a couple should be denied marriage, because I believe one cannot "change" into a different sex.  One can have plastic surgery and take hormones so that he or she resembles the opposite sex, but a DNA analysis will still prove that he or she is genetically the sex he or she was at birth. Thus, the union would be a homosexual one, not a heterosexual one, and natural reproduction is impossible by design.
I will return to read your reply, but I don't know that I'll feel compelled to comment again. However, just this once, I decided to give it my best shot at explaining why I feel the way I do, and attempting to get you to see why your remarks would provoke such anger and hostility on the board.
I very much appreciate your willingness to dialogue, and once again I appreciate the civility that you displayed.

7 Quick Takes Friday - July 8, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. I had a prenatal appointment on Tuesday. Baby's heartbeat was 150bpm, everything else looked great. We scheduled the anatomy ultrasound for July 25! Sadly, Collin won't be able to be there; he has to work that day and it's unlikely he'll get it off. I think I'll take Elanor instead and we can have a special mommy/daughter afternoon together. I think she'll like getting a sneak peek at her new brother or sister.

2. Collin and I had our first date eleven years ago yesterday! We celebrated on Tuesday afternoon by going to my appointment together, getting a couple's massage at our favorite massage place, then grabbing a quick meal together at Olive Garden. I adore their chicken scampi.

3. My boss' last day of work is today (she's moving back to her hometown) so after work our whole department is taking her out for happy hour at a local restaurant. I haven't been to happy hour with co-workers in... I can't even remember the last time. We're sad to see her go but it should be a fun time socializing before she takes off.

4. Speaking of socializing, I went to a blogger meet-up yesterday afternoon!! Leila (Little Catholic Bubble) Nicole (Mom and Then Some) and I went out for coffee, and WE HAD A BLAST! It was the fastest three hours of my life! We talked, and talked, and talked some more. It was such a blessing and such a balm to my soul to be able to spend time with two such beautiful, intelligent, faithful Catholic women. Plus, I got to see Leila's house (gorgeous) and meet some of her family (also gorgeous).

Here's a picture of us hanging out! (L to R: Me, Nicole, Leila)

5. In a related note to my Saturday post regarding same-sex marriage, Steven Greydanus wrote an excellent article for the National Catholic Reporter on the issue of Redefining Marriage. He put in two paragraphs what I was basically trying to say in my entire post:

Recently in an online forum a same-sex marriage advocate wrote to me, “I’ve never once had any conservative be able to tell me how the legalization of gay marriage affects, in any measurable way, their relationship with their spouse.”

My response was: “I’ve never once had any same-sex marriage advocate be able to offer a coherent account of what marriage is and is not, and why it is the state should have a bureaucratic apparatus for certifying (and decertifying) sexual partnerships involving two and only two non-related adults in any gender combination.”

6. We discovered a wonderful new place to eat over the holiday weekend, thanks to my BIL and SIL... L & L Hawaiian Barbecue. For you that live in Phoenix, this is the location we went to, although I believe there's one in the Tempe/Gilbert area as well. The food was phenomenal!!!

7. Violet got into the pantry the other day and managed to knock a glass jar of pickles of the shelf. Guess it's time to find a lock for the pantry! I think we'll get a couple of these.

Have a great weekend!

Hateful, bigoted, and vitrolic - huh?

In addition to this post a few days ago, I posted the following on a (rather liberal) message board (one about baby naming, but that has other boards for off-topic discussion) of which I am a member, in a thread about whether one could be opposed to same-sex marriage and not be "anti-gay" (the post below is slightly redacted from its original form, as I omitted a reply to another member's post):

My views on same-sex unions are found in this article from the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy (it is not written from a religious perspective, but rather a secular one).

This is a good explanation (written by a gay man) on why Christian teaching on homosexuality has never rested on proof-texting Leviticus 18:22: The God Hates Shrimp Fallacy

As for me, I oppose same-sex marriage but I am not "homophobic" or "anti-gay." I fully agree with this:

It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.

And this:

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

I can differentiate between behavior and actions and people. I can object to the former without disparaging or discriminating against the latter.

I didn't stick around to see the responses to this post, as I have neither the time nor the patience for a debate in which it'd be 42 against 1 and I'd no doubt be called names and repeatedly insulted. However, a Facebook friend who is also a member of the board sent me a message in which she accused both the above post, and other comments in the same vein I'd made on FB, as being full of "hatred, bigotry, and vitriol." She is also Catholic (although one who apparently rejects Church authority on a number of issues), and she asserted that God did not share my opinion on same-sex marriage and that she was ashamed that I was Catholic. (If she gives me permission to share her exact words, I'm happy to do so as I have no desire to misrepresent her words, but as I don't have that permission at the moment I can only summarize.)

I replied to her message with the following (again, slightly redacted to omit a few details I'd rather not share on this blog):

Hatred? Bitterness? Vitriol? I have no idea where you're getting any of that. I do not hate anyone, nor am I a bigot, and I'm honestly puzzled as to how anything I've said or posted reflects hate and bigotry.

What have I said that expresses hate, bitterness, or vitriol? I'm honestly puzzled and would appreciate some clarification on this. I don't hate homosexuals. I think homosexual ACTS are sinful, yes, but that does not equate to "hating" homosexuals. All human beings have inherent dignity and worth, and value.

Where have I said that I hated homosexual people? Where have I said that homosexual people deserve to die, or should die, or should be horsewhipped in the streets? Where have I said that homosexuals should be shot on sight? Where have I ever said that homosexuals are going to hell or should go to hell?

THAT is what hatred and bitterness and vitriol is. If you don't believe me, head over to Fred Phelps' site sometime so you can see what hate REALLY is and how it manifests.

Again, I would like for you to quote something I've said that you see as hateful so I can try to understand why you feel this way, because I honestly don't get it.

As for my Catholicism, I follow what the Church teaches. I believe Jesus Christ established the Church and gave the Church that authority to teach and to bind and loose (that is, to determine what is moral and what is not moral). I believe that Truth is not established by majority vote, and I believe that the Church teaches the truth, infallibly, in terms of faith and morals.

You reject that authority on many issues and that's your choice, but I am following Christ to the best of my ability. Christ was able to separate the sinner from the sin. He could love the sinner while telling them to "Go and sin no more." I try to follow His example, and I don't hate anybody -- homosexuals included.

For example, a family member committed adultery during her marriage. I love her, very much, and always will. But I will NEVER support, condone, or encourage adultery -- her acts of adultery or anyone else's. I love her, but I hate the sin she committed because it ripped her family apart. Can't you see that? Can't you see how it's possible to hate the sin but love the sinner?

She's yet to reply so I'm pretty sure she's blocked me at FB (rather than respond to my very reasonable questions -- how very open-minded and tolerant of her), but I would sincerely like to know from others who may share her opinion: please produce a quote from me, either from the above or anywhere on this blog, that you consider "hateful," and why.

I don't think it is "hateful" to assert that marriage is not a right, but a privilege. If it is "hateful" then I must also hate pedophiles, incestuous couples, polygamists, those who practice bestiality, and so on, because I don't think they entitled to marriage by virtue of their sexual preferences either.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "hatred" as "intense dislike or ill will." This definition, for me, applies to homosexual ACTS but NOT homosexual PEOPLE! I bear no intense dislike or ill will to homosexual people, at all.

I do NOT believe anyone, homosexuals included, should be denied basic human rights as listed by the United Nations.

Regarding Article 16 of the above, it states the following:

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Note that it does NOT say, "without any limitation due to sexual preference or orientation."

I do not believe marriage to someone of the same sex is a basic human right. Marriage to someone of the opposite sex is not even a basic human right unless the persons wishing to marry fulfill all requirements of the law when it comes to marriage. Otherwise, we'd have to concede that a 52-year-old man could marry the 14-year-old he's raping.

Finally, some incredibly mature individual decided to take this argument to my ExpectNet game, and posted a guess with the handle "Gays are people too." I made a slight modification (see guess #6, unless he or she chooses to delete it), but the inherent accusation contained therein absolutely baffles me.

Where have I said - anywhere - that gays are not people? Seriously, if the person who posted that is reading this, PLEASE prove your accusation. Find a blog post or a message board post or a Facebook comment in which I said that gays were not people. In fact, I have said exactly the opposite. I have been VOCAL in my opposition to people like Fred Phelps who try to claim otherwise.

The most ironic part of this entire debate is how many proponents of same-sex marriage are also in favor of abortion on demand. They deny the basic right to life to over 50 million unborn children and I'm the one who is hateful and bigoted?

[Note: this post spawned a follow-up post in order to reply to one of the comments below; you can read it here.)

7 Quick Takes Friday - July 1, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. I can't believe it's July already! What happened to June?

Our July isn't getting off to a stellar start, as Elanor is running a low-grade fever and I'm staying home with her today. But hey, at least it'll give me a chance to catch up on some laundry.

2. Collin found a scorpion in his home office last Saturday. Know where it was? ON HIS FOOT. He actually shook it off twice, thinking it was a fly or something, before looking down and realizing just what was trying to crawl on him. He smashed the sucker dead and spent some time looking to see if it had friends around, but he didn't find any. We're firmly convinced that his guardian angel kept the darn thing from stinging him! (He was working at the time, too... a scorpion sting would've been a heck of a way to get off of work early!)

3. In happier and less freaky news, I'm very pleased to report that Violet is finally walking! She's been very close for a while, cruising along furniture all over the place and walking while holding on to our hands, but last weekend and this week she's grown much more confident about walking independently. At just shy of 16 months, she's my earliest walker (William didn't walk until about 18 months, and Elanor was around 21 months, but she needed occupational therapy before she started walking).

4. In some ways my pregnancy is flying by, and in other ways it's dragging. Some days I can't believe I'm already at 16 weeks (and will be scheduling my 20-week ultrasound at Tuesday's appointment!), and other days December seems so far away. (Especially when I watch shows like A Baby Story [also known as "Birth: What Not to Do, Generally"] and see uber-cute newborns snuggling with their mamas. I love newborn snuggles!) Seeing pictures of beautiful baby Pamela Scholastica has only inflamed my baby fever.

5. I wrote a fun post about baby naming for the Catholic Phoenix blog this week. We have already chosen our boy and girl names for SeƱor/ita Cuatro, but we're the mysterious type who don't reveal them until after the baby's birth. :)

6. I finally read (well, listened to the audiobook of) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I thought it was excellent. Once scene made me cry, and several others had me tearing up. Very dark, very gritty, but very compelling storyline with cliffhangers that made me catch my breath. I have a fondness for dystopian fiction and this is one of the best stories I've read. Sadly, it wasn't hard to see how the world got to the point it is at in this setting, and I have my suspicions about several upcoming plot points regarding the history as it has been related to the residents of District Twelve versus reality.

I've reserved the next book of the trilogy from the library (again, audiobook format) and can't wait to continue the story!

My one tiny pet peeve was the name of one of the main characters. I couldn't figure out why the narrator spoke with a British accent only while pronouncing one of the main characters' names. It took me a while to realize that the name was "Peeta," not "Peter"! But in my head, he's Peter and I can't shake it.

7. Our plans for the 4th of July are pretty low-key (assuming Elanor is feeling better, of course, and no one else is sick); we're going to the annual Surprise celebration, which includes a baseball game with a spectacular fireworks show afterward. We've done this every year on the 4th since we moved here, and it's always a fun time.

Have a great weekend!

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