Note: the following are Fr. Bryce Sibley's notes in outline form which he prepared for a debate on same-sex marriages held at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on September 15, 2004.



I.      Introduction

A.     Doctor and patient with symptoms analogy

1.       You got to the doctor with a runny nose, a sore throat, and an earache…

2.      He treats these, but you return later even sicker, why?

3.      He treated the symptoms and not the disease itself

B.     Applying this analogy, the push for the acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage is a symptom of a much greater malaise.

1.       That malaise is a faulty anthropology, a faulty way of viewing man

2.      That is what we will look at first and foremost

II.  Anthropological (The Need for an Adequate Anthropology)

A.     Define Anthropology – not a scientific study of homo sapiens, but a more philosophical study of the human person

B.     This is the real Debate here – Who is man? What constitutes an adequate understanding of man?

1.       The over-arching debate is between two different ways of viewing man and the world

a.      One I will label “classical” and the other “post-modern”

b.      Both anthropologies will lead to different views of morality, and ultimately evaluations of homosexuality and gay marriage

2.      I’ve chose three characteristics of man present in both anthropologies

a.      However as we will see the terms are equivocal, and have different meanings for both world views

C.     Man is rational

1.       For the classical tradition, Fundamental for understanding the human person is the belief that man is rational, and by use of his reason can come to know the truth in general, the truth about who he is and the truth about how he should act.

a.      Post-modernists say the human mind cannot know absolute truth, and that man cannot really know anything for certain (except that which is empirically proven), that he has to make meaning and truth for himself.

2.      For classical tradition, also our reason must guide and control our emotions. Emotions are like horses being guided by our reason the chariot driver

a.      For post-modernists, since there is a distrust of reason, often emotions are given no guidance and usurp rational thinking. See the romanticism of the 19th century, utilitarianism, and the philosophy of “If it feels good do it” as the roots.

D.     Man is Moral

1.       The classical position believes that by using his reason man can come to know a higher, universal (i.e., natural) law and that he must subject himself to that law.

a.      Post modernists do not believe that the human mind can perceive a higher, universal law and would question the very existence of such, and indeed if existence has any moral meaning at all.

b.      This Leads to Moral relativism (creating own morality, because there is no absolute law) – it al all relative to the culture to the individual

2.      The classical position also teaches that man has a free will and with it should freely choose that which is truly good, thus perfecting his human nature.

a.      Post-modernism either doubts the existence of true freedom (i.e. determinism) or believes that in the moral realm one must be free to choose however he pleases and not be guided by the truly good.

E.     Man exists as Male and Female

1.       The classical position says that there is great meaning to our masculinity and femininity as integral to whom we are as persons. Accepting who we are means accepting this difference and that man and woman were made for each other.

a.      Post-modernists say that masculinity and femininity are merely like hair-color or eye-color, they are not integral to who we are as persons. They are arbitrary, thus sexual difference loses its meaning and can even be manipulated (being seen as mainly biological and not part of the integral whole of a person)

b.      In addition, there is a push for the acceptance of androgyny as an ideal.

F.      These two separate views of man ultimately lead to varying evaluations of the homosexual act.

1.       And a flawed anthropology will lead to a flawed morality

a.      Just as an error in reason will lead to an error in choosing

2.      So I argue that the flawed “post-modern” anthropology is at the root of the push for homosexual marriage in our society

3.      Thus we go my next point, or area of analysis

III.          Problems with the Morality of Homosexuality

A.     Quote: “The gay movement, whether we acknowledge it or not, is not a civil rights movement, not even a sexual liberation movement, but a moral revolution aimed at changing people's view of homosexuality.”

1.       This is not from Pat Robertson, but gay activist Paul Varnell

B.     Here is the crux of my argument today: If homosexuality is wrong then homosexual marriage should not be permitted.

1.       If the morality of homosexuality is not seen as problematic then there is not problem with gay marriage. This is the heart of the matter – the morality of homosexuality.

2.      Besides, even if gay marriage were to be made legal, most will still be against homosexuality itself, so we must address it first

C.     A Caveat – I am not arguing against gay marriage from a religious perspective here

1.       I am coming from a natural law perspective

a.      It is one that all rational beings can come to, even non-believers

b.      Natural Law is simply the human mind’s ability to perceive, understand and apply a more universal law governing nature and morality

i.        It is the use of right reason in agreement with nature

c.      Based in certain principles such as “do good and avoid evil” written into the minds of all men and woman

d.      It is universal and immutable

i.        Although our reason may be clouded and not always perceive it fully, it is still applicable

D.     However, on a religious note, most (if not all) major religious traditions condemn homosexual acts as immoral

1.       I can however only speak on a Catholic/Christian Perspective

2.      NT Scripture Passages  mention and condemn homosexuality– Romans 1:26-29, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:9-10

3.      Most importantly though, we look to the words of Christ quoting Genesis which implicitly condemn homosexuality –“‘In the beginning God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mt 19:4-6).

a.      Sexual difference means something (we were fashioned as man and woman for a reason)

b.      The body was build so as to give of oneself to a member of the opposite sex (one flesh union)

c.      In that one flesh union, there must be openness to the other - to life. This refers to the marriage of their flesh in a child who is a symbol and a fruit of their loving union. The husband and wife become one flesh in the child.

d.      Homosexual relations deny this teaching of Christ, and cannot be accepted

4.      Basing itself on scripture, tradition and the natural law the Clear teaching of the Church is that homosexual acts are gravely disordered (cf. CCC 2357)

E.     Again, returning to the topic – my primary argument is from nature

1.       Even without faith, rational beings should be able to discern the problem with homosexuality

2.      Begin with an example: Evaluation of bestiality or necrophilia as unnatural

a.      Presumes something natural

b.      That natural would be man and woman

i.        Cases of incest pose a problem, but are still unnatural

c.      Also, why do we get embarrassed when the dog humps the sofa in front of company? Or when it humps our leg?

i.        Because we know it is not natural…

3.      From looking at our bodies, we can see that man and woman were made for each other

a.      The man’s body complements the woman’s, and the woman’s complements the man’s

b.      They are able to give themselves to each other in their bodies

c.      In fact the very desire for sexual union is a natural inclination

d.      The bodies of two women or two men do not complement each other

e.      This is the primary argument – it is natural and it is good

4.      More technically, the sexual act must be ordered toward an “end/telos”—i.e., toward its intended natural purpose

a.      Looking at the sexual act, we see that it has two ends - unitive and procreative  (first seen by Aristotle)

i.        It must flow from a unitive complementarity (as we have seen)

ii.      And must have the natural potential to be open to life

iii.    This procreative urge is built into nature, and should not be thwarted

iv.    Produces the “good of the child” which furthers union

b.      Homosexual sex can have neither, therefore it cannot be accepted

5.      However, some will say “It exists in nature”

a.      It is an aberration of nature, it is not “natural”

b.      Then would we call filicide and cannibalism “natural” also?

6.      This is the main argument against homosexuality, and thus homosexual marriage

F.      What is the leading factor of the acceptance of homosexual sex in the past few decades?

1.       Artificial methods [of contraception] are like putting a premium on vice. They make men and women reckless.... Nature is relentless and will have full revenge for any such violation of her laws… If artificial methods become the order of the day, nothing but moral degradation can be the result.”

a.      That prophet is not the Pope, but Mahatma Gandhi

2.      Separate unitive and procreative – put genitalia anywhere

a.      It essentially takes away all responsibility

b.      Therefore, we can deduce that the penis is made for the vagina – not the anus or the hand

i.        It has its own proper telos or end.

c.      Homosexual sex is the ultimate contraceptive sex, not open to life

d.      Both are “disordered sex” - not according to nature’s design

G.    The root of accepting these sorts of behavior is an inadequate anthropology

1.       Not seeing man as being able to rationally perceive the natural law

2.      Not seeing morality as objective but relative (as already mentioned)

3.      Sexual difference has no meaning in nature

a.      They end up making rational debate on the subject nearly impossible

H.    It is important to note, that one of main roots of these anthropological and moral crises is a philosophical crisis

1.       In layman’s terms, I would submit to you that the ultimate cause of many of the problematic behaviors in our society is a belief that the human mind can only truly know the way things appear, that they can only know the physical empirical world, and not pass beyond it to know truths and ideas that lie beyond the physical realm.

2.      The history of this can be found in Medieval Nominalism, the duality and doubt of Rene Descartes , the thought of Immanuel Kant, and the rise of logical positivism

a.      This would need to be addressed in a more in depth fashion at a later date

b.      We can now pass onto our next point…

IV.Faulty Political and Social Ideas

A.     An inadequate view of man will lead to an inadequate view of the state

1.       So, we see the push for homosexual marriage is based on some faulty political and social ideas.

B.     False view of freedom

1.       Dick Cheney in speaking of his lesbian daughter, “People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to. Freedom means freedom for everyone.”

a.      This is not what freedom means. Does he really mean they should be able to enter into any kind of relationship?

b.      Freedom must be ordered to the truth, the moral law, and the good of the human person – and this can be discerned by reason

i.        The perversion of this view of freedom is to say man is free to choose to do whatever he wants, that he does not have to be guided by truth or a higher law.

c.      But Liberty without truth becomes license, and chaos ensues…

d.      So freedom must be checked by law, which is ordered to the common good

C.     No sense of the common good

1.       Everyone from Plato and Aristotle to John Adams have said society must be ordered to the common good – not selfish individualism

2.      The push for gay marriage is ultimately not founded in a pursuit for what is truly good for the society

a.      Most polls show a majority of Americans do not want it

b.      All stemming from a radical, selfish individualism

D.     Necessitates the Redefinition of Marriage and Family

1.       Same-sex marriage turns traditional marriage into a species within the marriage genus.

a.      Some want to look at any structure and call it “family”

b.      Heterosexual marriage would be on a par with polygamy, incestuous marriage, pedophilic marriages, etc.

c.      Heterosexual marriage would become one lifestyle choice among many

2.      However, reasons shows us that marriage and family are written into nature (not just a tradition, we are born into families)

a.      Family (based on union of man and woman) as basis of society and common good

3.      Besides, the State nor anyone else has no power to redefine

E.     Doing so would cause vast amount of confusion

1.       None of these terms -- which refer to realities -- will be as easily understood, because the definitions will be expanded beyond real definition.

2.      Especially in of the meaning of the human person, of marriage and of the family, which will hurt everyone involved.

a.      And the evidence shows this…

3.      Realistically we encounter a Slippery slope (this is not a logical fallacy here, but an empirical reality)

a.      If we allow gay marriage, what is to stop others from claiming discrimination in not being able to marry?

i.        Once it is not defined as man and woman – you open the floodgates

ii.      All will be possibly legal, even pedophilia or bestiality

iii.    The battles the Government fought against polygamy will be undone

F.      False cry of Discrimination

1.       This is the biggest complaint from proponents of gay marriage

a.      That not allowing gay marriage discriminates against gays

b.      Compare it to civil rights struggle with the blacks

i.        This is apples and oranges

ii.      Difference is sex is integral to our human nature, skin color is not

iii.    They may be black, but they are still man and woman

c.      This is attitude is based on a false view of rights

2.      Do homosexuals have a right to marriage?

a.      Homosexuals do have the right to marry just like anyone else

i.        But it is the right to marry someone of the opposite sex.

ii.      And just like the rest of society they don't have the right to marry their mothers, their daughters, their siblings, minors, etc.

iii.    Human rights are based in human nature – which is constituted as man and woman

iv.    So, one does not have the right to unnatural acts (nor does our Constitution say you do)

b.      Having an inclination does not mean one has a right to fulfill it

i.        Stevie Wonder does not have the right to drive a cab

ii.      Because it endangers the common good

3.      Me must show compassion – but it must be rightly ordered

a.      Even the Catechism of the Catholic church says that homosexuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”

b.      Cannot have false compassion however

i.        Cannot call evil actions good (to encourage unnatural acts)

ii.      Compassion must be based in the truth, that is no moral relativism

iii.    It must be guided by reason and not sentiment or emotions

iv.    It must want what is truly good for the other

G.    Perversion of Judicial system

1.       Gay Rights activists Subverting Democratic process

a.      Activists judges legislate from bench

b.      Instead of interpreting the laws, they make the laws

c.      Seen with many federal judges and in the Supreme Count with Lawrence vs. Texas

2.      As we have seen over the past weeks in LA

a.      Activists trying to stop the amendment vote

b.      Showing hints of fascism – to stop people’s voice

3.      Need of amendments to stop (Robert Bork)

4.      Ultimately, is this the End of democracy?

a.      The hijacking of the courts to push through agenda

i.        Judge Scalia in Lawrence v. Texas Dissenting opinion: “Today’s opinion is the product of a Court… that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct.”

b.      Takes the power out of the hands of the people and the legislators

i.        This is the destruction of self-rule

c.      Destruction of basis of democracy and movement to subtle fascism

H.    The Gay Agenda

1.       Many homosexual activists pushing for Gay Marriage have a decided agenda

2.      Seen in push for Normalization and desensitization through media

3.      After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90's – Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen

a.      Intent is through the use of propaganda, to overcome Americans' deep-rooted aversion to homosexuals, psychologist Kirk and ad man Madsen propose a massive media campaign designed to correct stereotypes and neutralize anti-gay prejudice.

b.      While we can see stopping prejudice as positive, the real goal was to normalize the behavior and lifestyle of homosexuals – not just them as persons

c.      The real agenda is to take the focus off of the morality of homosexuality itself or make it seem not morally problematic

d.      This book was the bible for many gay activists in the 1990s

i.        Just look at the culture to see the results…

ii.      There are plenty of sources pointing to this

4.      On a psychological level, Justification of behavior is a factor

a.      E. Michael Jones Degenerate Moderns (rationalization of behavior)

i.        Argument is that Large thrust of normalization and legalization is to justify own behavior

ii.      Shows this on many levels with many sexual practices

iii.    Shows that deep down, many are bothered in consciences or they would not protest so much…

5.      Jonathan Swift once wrote, “You cannot reason someone out of a position that they did not reason themselves into.”

a.      Agendas and ideologies blind us and stops the search for truth

b.      So do emotional justifications of one’s behavior

c.      Makes rational debate very difficult, and coming any closer to the truth of the matter

V.    Concluding remarks - This is a battle of a larger culture war

1.       Two different ways of viewing the truth, the world, culture  and marriage

2.      Ultimately, two different ways of viewing man – as ordered to truth and goodness

3.      Depending which side you fight for will decide how you feel about homosexuality and gay marriage