Address given by Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace,to a conference on human rights. The conference was in Bratislava, organized by the Slovakian bishops' conference.
Many people speak of human rights. Very rightly, they refer to their violations. Very rightly, they proclaim that human rights must be protected. Very rightly, they advocate that human rights must be promoted. Yet what are the human rights we are talking about?
The first sentence of the Preamble of the Universal Declaration states: “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” That is, the ground, the foundation, the substrate of human rights and freedoms is “the inherent dignity of the human person”.
This dignity is perceived and understood first of all by reason. It is not found in the human will or in the reality of the State or in public powers. It is found in the human person himself and in God his Creator. The philosopher Jacques Maritain, who helped to draft the Universal Declaration, put this point succinctly when he wrote:
the worth of the person, his liberty, his rights arise from the order of naturally sacred things which bear upon them the imprint of the Father of Being and which have in him the goal of their movement. A person possesses absolute dignity because he is in direct relationship with the Absolute, in which alone he can find his complete fulfilment.
This is utterly radical. Your human rights and mine do not depend upon the will of other people. Human rights arise from our dignity as created in the image and likeness of God.
The Church has a serious concern when the ideology of a particular group of individuals can somehow create a new human right. One example is the attempt on the part of some to legitimize the killing of an unborn child through the promotion of so-called “reproductive rights”, “reproductive services” and other loaded terms which mask the tragedy of abortion.
Euthanasia, according to some, should also be a human right, and not only for adults! For the first time in history, in February 2014, the Belgian parliament accepted the principle that even a child, with no limit of minimum age, could ask to be killed to end his/her suffering. "This law – the Bishops of Belgium wrote — opens the doors to the extension of euthanasia to the handicapped, the demented, the mentally ill and eventually to those who are tired of life.” Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche, said it is urgent to rediscover how to support the vulnerable people around us so that our society can once again call itself “human society”.
Another example is the use of the term “gender” to suggest that sex is not biologically grounded as male and female but is simply a social construct or produced by what individuals think or feel they are. Moreover, attempts to recognize those engaging in homosexual behaviour as a specific group to be accorded human rights go beyond the protection to be guaranteed to all people under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Related to this is the suggestion that marriage could somehow be redefined, despite the fact that marriage is, by nature, between one man and one woman for their mutual love and increase of the human family, as affirmed in international law. Such positions distort reality because they attempt to rewrite human nature, which de natura cannot be rewritten.
As Cardinal Francis George of Chicago stated with great clarity, “The nature of marriage is not a religious question. Marriage comes to us from nature. Christ sanctifies marriage as a sacrament for the baptized, giving it significance beyond its natural reality; the State protects marriage because it is essential to family and to the common good of society. But neither Church nor State invented marriage, and neither can change its nature.”
In this context, the Church vigorously upholds the rights to life and bodily security of everyone, everyone, regardless of their perceived “sexual differences.” The Church sees this as a matter of the most basic rights. Homosexual persons “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
Thus, while the Church regrets the discordance between homosexual behaviour as such and what we understand as the norm for God-given human nature, she upholds the integrity of everyone’s rights. See our Lord’s reaction when the townspeople wished to stone a woman to death for adultery: He managed to preserve her life and bodily security (John 8:1-11).
by Joseph Backholm, Family Policy Institute
The story is actually two years old, but it couldn't be more timely.
New Mexico Governor Suana Martinez believes that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. Gov. Martinez also needs haircuts.
But two years ago, her hair stylist, Antonio Darden, said that he would refuse to cut the Governor's hair as long as she continues to support the natural and historical understanding of marriage.
According to Darden, "It's just equality, dignity for everyone. Everybody should be allowed the right to be together."
Why is it that you know about the florists, photographers, and bakeries who didn't want to be part of same-sex weddings but you don't know about the stylist who refused to cut the Governor's hair?
Instead of filing a lawsuit, Gov. Martinez simply found someone else to cut her hair.
By John Bingham, Telegraph
Welfare minister Lord Freud says Government has ‘clear duty’ to strengthen family and insists true impact of relationship breakdown goes 'far deeper' than benefits bill
The true cost of divorce and family breakdown in Britain goes “far higher” and “far deeper” than the multi-billion pound benefits bill, a welfare minister has warned.
Lord Freud said that the current £9 billion cost to the taxpayer of lone parent benefits amounts to just the tip of the iceberg when the full social cost of separation is taken into account.
He also called for marriage to be “put back into its rightful place” after a surge in the number of children being brought up by unmarried parents who he said were four times more likely to separate than those who tie the knot.
The Coalition should make “no apology” for saying that it has a “clear duty” to strengthen the family, he said.
The peer’s comments, in an article for The Telegraph, came as he acknowledged that family breakdown could be costing the country up to £46 billion a year.
Speaking in the Lords, he also said that the Government should actively attempt to reverse what he called a “major structural changes” in society away from marriage and towards cohabitation.
His remarks came in response to a question from the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Rev Peter Forster, about the cost to the welfare budget from family breakdown.
By Stephanie Pappas, Fox News
Marriage is linked with numerous health benefits that simply cohabiting doesn't seem to provide. Now, research suggests the reason why the brain links "just" living together with a lack of commitment and can't relax.
The new study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the brains of cohabitating and married heterosexual couples, as well as same-sex couples, half of whom considered themselves married despite lacking legal recognition. The findings revealed that parts of the brain are less reactive to stress when someone is with a person they consider themselves married to.
"We really pay close attention to when it's safe to let down our guard and to outsource our stress response to our social networks," said study researcher Jim Coan, a psychologist at the University of Virginia. [I Don't: 5 Myths About Marriage]
The findings were unexpected, Coan added: "I'm sort of freaking myself out with this research."
In a study published in 2006, Coan had found that when threatened with a mildly painful electric shock, married women had a decreased brain response to the threat when holding their husband's hand versus a stranger's, or no hand at all.
The effect occurred in the hypothalamus, an almond-sized structure buried deep in the brain that helps regulate some of the body's responses to stress, including increased blood pressure.
By Kelly Bartlett, Public Discourse
In the name of equality, same-sex marriage seeks to codify gender discrimination. But marriage welcomes everyone: husband and wife, father and mother, grandfather and grandmother.
My daughter was catching up on her college homework. Chapter Ten in her psychology textbook is titled “Sex and Gender.” It covers topics such as gender differences, similarities, and stereotypes. The chapter wends its way from transgender issues to sexual harassment to the glass ceiling, the invisible but real boundary in the workplace beyond which women are not welcome. The book defines sexism as “differential treatment of an individual on the basis of his or her sex.”
As the text points out, more than half of all women in the United States now work outside the home. They are breaking through the glass ceiling and garnering high-profile positions in private industry, government, and politics. There is one domain, however, in which women are increasingly discriminated against and excluded: families.
Ironically, same-sex marriage laws do this in the name of equality. We open our hearts and minds and definition of marriage to include two men, and in doing so we close the door to a wife in the living room, a mom in the nursery, and a feminine lover in the bedroom. We create a crass ceiling.
It’s one thing for two guys to love each other; it’s altogether different for society to endorse this union by granting these two men the status of marriage. A male marriage might not look overtly sexist, but what about the long-term effects? Redefining marriage grants men the legal right to deprive children of a relationship with their mother simply because she's female. Because she’s “born that way.” What if this gender discrimination continues?
March 2nd, 2014 Jill Posted in Marriage Comments Off
By Carolyn Moynihan, MercatorNet
Self-actualising, HIP, egalitarian, neo-traditional – which model will save marriage?
March 2nd, 2014 Jill Posted in Marriage Comments Off
Jeremy E. Uecker, Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Marriage is widely thought to confer mental health benefits, but little is known about how this apparent benefit may vary across the life course. Early marriage, which is nonnormative, could have no, or even negative, mental health consequences for young adults. Using survey data from waves 1 and 3 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (n = 11,695),
I find that married young adults exhibit levels of psychological distress that are similar to those of young adults in any kind of romantic relationship. Married and engaged young adults also report lower frequency of drunkenness than those who are not in a romantic relationship. Married young adults, especially those who first married at ages 22 to 26, report higher life satisfaction than those in other type of romantic relationships,those in no romantic relationship, and those who married prior to age 22. Explanations for these findings are examined, and their implications are discussed.
Social scientists have amassed a considerable amount of evidence showing that married individuals enjoy better mental health than never married and previously married individuals (Brown 2000; Gove, Style, and Hughes 1983; Horwitz, White,
and Howell-White 1996; Lamb, Lee, and DeMaris 2003; Marcussen 2005; Ross 1995; Simon 2002). Marriage is typically thought to increase psychological, social, and economic resources (Liu, Elliott, and Umberson 2010; Williams and Umberson 2004) and to help individuals avoid the stress of relationship dissolution (Liu et al. 2010; Simon and Barrett 2010; Williams and Umberson 2004).
by J.C. von Krempach, J.D., Turtle Bay & Beyond
To the enemies of marriage equality:…For years and years I've strategically bit my tongue.Had I not, I would have sided with you. I would have agreed with you. Marriage equality will, in time, fundamentally destroy "traditional marriage," and I, for one, will dance on its grave.It's not a terribly difficult conclusion to draw.As same-sex couples marry, they will be forced to re-imagine many tenets of your "traditional marriage." In doing so, they will face a series of complicated questions…. As questions continually arise, heterosexual couples will take notice – and be forced to address how much "traditional marriage" is built on gender roles and perpetuates a nauseating inequality that has no place in 2014….So yes, I told a white lie while soldiering on toward this inevitable outcome. I bit my lip in favor of dignity and equality….
By Dustin Siggins, LifeSite News
The Obama administration's newest foray into the culture wars has sparked a major pushback by the nation's Republican attorneys general.
On Tuesday, the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) slammed Holder's remarks. Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said, “What General Holder is asking state attorneys general to do is accept a gratuitously offered nonbinding legal opinion on an issue that has not been decided by a national court of competent jurisdiction at this time.”
February 18th, 2014 Jill Posted in Marriage Comments Off
by Peter Franklin, Conservative Home
Viewed from some angles, marriage appears to be on its way out – even in a comparatively religious society like America’s. Writing for the Atlantic, Richard Reeves charts a precipitous decline:
“In 1960, more than 70 percent of all adults were married, including nearly six in ten twentysomethings. Half a century later, just 20 percent of 18-29-year olds were hitched in 2010. Marriage was the norm for young America. Now it’s the exception.”
But look more closely at the statistics and a different picture emerges. Firstly, much of the shift is explained by young Americans putting-off marriage rather than never getting married. Secondly, marriage is becoming the preserve of the well-to-do:
“Matrimony is flourishing among the rich but floundering among the poor, leading to a large, corresponding ‘marriage gap.’ Women with at least a BA are now significantly more likely to be married in their early 40s than high-school dropouts…
“During the 1960s and 1970s, it looked as if the elite might turn away from this fusty, constricting institution. Instead, they are now its most popular participants. In 2007, American marriage passed an important milestone: It was the first year when rates of marriage by age 30 were higher for college graduates than for non-graduates.”While marriage rates have fallen away in all income brackets, the extent of the decline is limited among the rich, but progressively greater as one goes down the income and education scale.
This divergence is a significant driver of inequality:
By John Bingham, Telegraph
Legally enforceable prenups would turn wedding vows into ‘provisional’ promises and set couples up to fail before they are even married, says Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt Rev Mark Davies
Plans to give prenuptial agreements legal force could render marriage vows to stay together “for better for worse” virtually meaningless, a prominent bishop claims.
The Rt Rev Mark Davies, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury, said actively encouraging couples to prepare for the possibility of separation before they are even married would turn promises at the altar into little more than a “provisional” agreement.
He said it could empty marital vows of “all meaning” at a time when he claimed marriage is already at a “historically low ebb”.
His comments came as he addressed a special service for couples in his diocese marking major wedding anniversaries including silver, gold and diamond celebrations.
He told the congregation, at St Columba’s Church in Chester, that while those present could collectively celebrate “many hundreds of years” together, it was as if future generations of married couples were already being set up to fail.
February 15th, 2014 Jill Posted in Marriage Comments Off
February 12th, 2014 Jill Posted in Marriage Comments Off
By Sherif Girgis, Public Discourse
One might grant, as I argued in my last two articles, that philosophy matters in general and on marriage—and that, with the right help, it can influence culture—but still wonder whether the marriage fight is worth waging. Isn’t it lost, given political and legal trends? Isn’t it peripheral to the Christian mission anyway?
A Live Battle
The pro-life cause was doing worse in the 1970s than the marriage cause is now. We are winning the first because an earlier generation refused to give up. Why, then, give up on marriage?
Around the time of Roe v. Wade, public opinion was moving swiftly for abortion on demand. Pro-life politicians (like Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton) were “evolving,” and pro-lifers were aging. They were accused of being anti-woman, warned of being caught on history’s bad side. And of course, the Court’s decision in Roe made substantive protections impossible for the foreseeable future.
But a few pro-life leaders were undaunted, and their intellectual and cultural work has paid off. My generation is more pro-life than my parents’, and my children’s will likely be still more.
From Rorate Caeli
[...] The gender ideology is the product of many decades of ideological and cultural changes that are deeply rooted in Marxism and neo-Marxism endorsed by some feminist movements and the sexual revolution. This ideology promotes principles that are totally contrary to reality and an integral understanding of human nature. It maintains that biological sex is not socially significant and that cultural sex which humans can freely develop and determine irrespective of biological conditions is most important. According to this ideology, humans can freely determine whether they want to be men or women and freely choose their sexual orientation. This voluntary self-determination, not necessarily life-long, is to make the society accept the right to set up new types of families, for instance, families built on homosexual relations.
The danger of gender ideology lies in its very destructive character both for men, people contacts and social life as a whole. Humans unsure of their sexual identity are not capable of discovering and fulfilling tasks that they face in their marital, family social and professional lives. Attempts to form different types of relations de facto seriously weaken marriage as a community created by a man and a woman and the family built on marriage.
We see different attitudes formed in reaction to actions demonstrated by advocates of the gender ideology. A decisive majority has no idea what this ideology is about and consequently does not feel threatened by it. A small group of people, particularly teachers and educators, as well as Catechists and pastoral ministers, tries to find their own constructive ways to counter this ideology. Finally there are those who, seeing the absurdity of this ideology, believe that Poles will reject the utopian visions they are presented with. Meanwhile, without public knowledge or Poles’ consent for many months now the gender ideology has been slowly introduced into different structures of social life: education, health service, cultural and education centres and non-governmental organisations. Some media portray this ideology in a positive way: as a means to counteract violence and to aim for equality.
February 6th, 2014 Jill Posted in Marriage Comments Off
From Evangelical Alliance
Thousands of couples at venues across the UK will reaffirm their wedding vows simultaneously on Saturday 8 February 2014 at 5:15pm. The Big Promise is attempting to achieve the world record as part of Marriage Week 2014.
The couples taking part in The Big Promise, launched in the Houses of Parliament during Marriage Week last year, hope to break the current world record of 1089 couples renewing their vows at the same time, which was set in America in 2009.
Tom and Doreen Shaw, from Sheffield, are celebrating fifty years of marriage on the day of The Big Promise. They can't wait to join with their friends, community and family to reaffirm their vows on their golden wedding anniversary.
Looking forward to the day, Doreen Shaw said: "We started out with nothing but our marriage wasn't built on what we had, rather on who we were. Marriage has made us better people I hope. We are so excited."
Dave Percival, Big Promise project coordinator, said: "The thought of thousands of couples from Newquay to Orkney saying together: 'We will' is just fantastic. The occasion will be both serious and huge fun – a bit like marriage really."
By Sherif Gergis, Public Discourse
The next generation of true culture-makers will be shaped purely by bad philosophy if its arguments go unanswered. As individuals and communities, we will be swayed by moral thought no matter what: the only question is whether it will be well thought out. The second in a three-part series.
By Ben Johnson, LifeSite News
Prominent Gay activisit Dan Savage proud of Butterfinger commercial promoting ‘threesomes’
While a Coca-Cola commercial showing a homosexual couple has generated some backlash, the debate overshadowed another advertisement: A Butterfinger candy bar ad that encouraged threesomes.
[...] Savage responded, “Proud of Butterfinger for promoting threesomes?!? F— proud! I want residuals and credit for the concept!”
By Carolyn Moynihan, MercatorNet