NPR interviewed Anne Rice on Monday on “All Things Considered.” The conversation is of course about her recent decision to leave the Roman Catholic Church. That decision is already well-known and is not news. In this interview, however, we do find out that the straw the broke the camel’s back was the issue of homosexual marriage. She says:
“I didn’t anticipate at the beginning that the U.S. bishops were going to come out against same-sex marriage… That they were actually going to donate money to defeat the civil rights of homosexuals in the secular society… When that broke in the news, I felt an intense pressure. And I am a person who grew up with the saying that all that is needed for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing, and I believe that statement.”
She knew that the church would never sanction same-sex marriage, but she was surprised that the church would oppose it in society in general. When she heard that, she knew she could no longer stay in the church.
You can download the interview here or listen below:[audio:http://public.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/atc/2010/08/20100802_atc_09.mp3]
(HT: Christopher Benson)
Denny, I’m thinking maybe it’s time to give it a rest with the quotation marks around “marriage.” As a reader of your blog, I don’t think they add anything other than a touch of smug nastiness that is not helpful to an exchange of ideas. Plus, I don’t think you need to be concerned about people misunderstanding your position on this issue.
It never occurred to me to use quotation marks until several years ago when an editor corrected an article that I had written by adding them. So I don’t mean it to be smug or nasty.
The editor’s point was that there is a substantive difference in our culture over the definition of marriage. I know that many of my readers disagree with my point of view on marriage, but I’ve tended to agree with that editor that there’s value in not surrendering the term in the public discourse. I just want my use of the term to convey that marriage is the covenanted union of one man and one woman.
That being said, I don’t want to get into an argument over words–much less quotation marks. The new usage is overtaking the language, so it may be an arcane point for me to press. I don’t have any desire to cause needless offense (Proverbs 15:1-2). The topics we discuss around here are controversial enough without that!
Thanks again for reading and for taking time to comment. I really do appreciate hearing from you.
Okay, Mitch. You got me to rethink my use of the quotes, and I’ve decided to drop them. I think they may be a distraction from the substance of the debate. Moreover, notwithstanding the aforementioned editor, I notice that others who hold my position aren’t using them either. (see Frank Beckwithâ€™s academic writing for example or Albert Mohler or Andreas Kostenberger)
Thanks for pressing me to revisit this!
Sorry Denny, but your original thought on the matter was the correct one. You have now surrendered. And you have surrendered in exactly the way in which they want you to surrender.
They will probably never get you totally on their side, but your grandchildren? It’s the little teeny, tiny breeches that count, and “they” know it. Another battle won.
Thanks for changing your mind on this, Denny. I would suggest using a term like “biblical marriage” or “orthodox marriage” to emphasize what you mean because the definition of marriage has been watered down ever since divorce and remarriage has been accepted.
Other terms to use could be: unbiblical marriage, secular marriage, homosexual marriage, same-sex marriage, ungodly marriage.
“Other terms to use could be: unbiblical marriage, secular marriage, homosexual marriage, same-sex marriage, ungodly marriage.”
Denny: This is exactly why you shouldn’t have backed down.
Nathan: Since God created marriage (at the beginning of mankind) there is no other thing than a biblical “marriage.” Everything else is a perversion of “marriage.” Also, it is only in the very late part of the 20th century and now into the 21st that this conversation even began to take place. Furthermore, the definition of marriage is not “watered down” simply because divorce (sin) entered the world. Certainly the outcomes of marriages have been changed, but a definition is not changed simply because some do not want to live or subscribe to it. It may be co-opted and morphed into a new meaning, which is exactly why Denny should continue to use quotes around it, so as to proclaim that this word is not for sale.
Larry is right Denny. This is how the co-opting begins. Should we even discuss the etymology of the word “gay” and the homosexual movement’s desire to be branded as a legitimate form of behavior?
You don’t control the culture and you don’t control language. You can bemoan the changes around you, but then you become irrelevant. Homosexuality is already normalized. Last Sunday in Vancouver, I was one of 600,000 people that attended the pride parade. Back in the states, my gay boss said that he loves working for my employer because his being gay is completely a non-issue; no one even questions or bats an eyelash.
I encourage you to find ways to engage the culture on their turf and show them the way to escape their sin. Iâ€™m not sure if battling over the usage of a word is going to do that. I donâ€™t know if battling over secular legalities will do that, either.
On using quotation marks. IMO, quotation marks can be overused. Dennyâ€™s usage is probably considered nonstandard, even for benign topics. Denny should just state what he means rather than imply it by using quotation marks.
The USA is supposed to be a country where Church and State are separate. But, unfortunately it is not, and now it is working against you who are religious fundamentalist. Legal Marriage is recognized by the state, so it is out of God’s hand. If you want a biblical, holy marriage, get married in your church and don’t declare it to the government. Then you will be able to keep it within your realm forever. Quit interfering with the Fundamentals of the USA and the Fundamentals of your Religion will be left alone.
You didn’t read my post. What I said was that the homosexual community absconded a word (gay) to legitimize their behavior. You are so fast to justify homosexuality, you fail to read. Where did I state that homosexuality was or wasn’t normalized? As for finding ways to engage the culture and encouraging sinners to run to Christ, it won’t be by coddling behavior that is bringing the judgment of God on them, it will be by preaching that the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel.
One other thing Nathan. I do control language and the culture. That is why we have elections and why we are even debating this right now. I am not the only voice, but my voice and others count just as much as yours and your friends at the pride parade.
Amanda: First the US Constitution does not even speak of the separation of church and state, it speaks of not allowing a Federal mandated religion for all citizens. Secondly, while marriage is recognized by the state, it lines up with biblical marriage (one man/one woman), that is why the state recognizes marriages performed in churches and doesn’t require people to use the state (justice of the peace) to get married. The current debate is centered around whether or not this will continue or whether the state will actually deem marriage as something that is not like biblical marriage. And, in every state that has put it to a vote, biblical marriage (one man/one woman) has won. So, it is really you who are subverting the US Constitution to attempt to declare something (separation of church/state) as being normative.
“I do control language and the culture.”
Good for you Nate. And no, you are NOT irrelevant.
The masses now control language more than ever which is causing much fretting among authors, English teachers and grammarians, dont UC? They also control culture. It is 100% unfortunate, but thatâ€™s â€œThe Situation.â€
I donâ€™t think my statements about the normalization of homosexuality were out of line, given the general nature of the conversation, but I apologize if you find some kind of offense in my mentioning it in my response to you. It seems that you think that I am defending homosexuality. I am not. What I see in general is that homosexuality is not treated fairly by Christians. Itâ€™s like Christians always demanding double mastectomies when lumpectomies will do. Sure, sin, like cancer, is scary, but unnecessary radical measures have devastating effects.
Recently, I spoke with an Exodus affiliated ministry leader. I asked him what he thought proper male relationships looked like and he gave me a few chapters to read out of workbook which basically told me that I need to change 95% of the NONsexual aspects of how I relate to others in order to be received by them. I would contend that EVERYONE approaches relationships differently and people have varying needs and wants. The trick is finding people where there can be a healthy give and take. This ministry leader said that there was really only one way of having healthy male/male friendships. I donâ€™t agree. I think that this type of teaching is too extreme and is based on manmade principles.
When I comment on homosexuality, Iâ€™m not advocating it. Sure, I push back, but not to allow gay people to go on their merry way, but to keep them from being trampled. It seems that when I say something positive or in defense of gay people, then Iâ€™m considered to support it. It seems that you consider the only acceptable response to be utter rejection. I donâ€™t agree. Youâ€™re afraid of coddling sinners. There is no coddling in lumpectomies. Itâ€™s painful to cut out and give up these things, but itâ€™s ridiculous to be asked to go beyond what God wants — like trying to make a secular culture maintain biblical norms that can only be achieved by regenerate Christians.
I’m not convinced of your conviction in saying you are not advocating homosexuality. Of course, this is my opinion and only based on your comments, so forgive me if I am overreading your responses. Your response to my post was to assert that 600,000 people (including you) gathered in Vancouver for a gay-pride parade. I really don’t see how you can attend a parade like that and not be advocating something. Furthermore, your comments about your boss seem to indicate that normalcy of homosexuality in your workplace makes for a quality environment. Moreover, it would appear that you would welcome homosexual-marriage and full status in this country. This is all based on your recent comments, but it is a trend with all your posts. Also, to say that my only response is utter rejection depends on the crux of the conversation. If we are speaking of the gospel and a person coming to Christ, then yes, utter rejection of our sin (all sin) and dependence on Christ alone for salvation is the only thing Christians should be sharing. I have never advocated shunning, mistreating, or ignoring any lost person (including homosexuals) as I was a former lost person before Christ was shared with me. However, to somehow compare choices (sinful practices) with cancer (byproduct of the fall) is ridiculous and adds no benefit to the gospel (IMHO).
Finally, as I said before, I am one of the masses and my voice does count. Perhaps it will be added up on the losing side of the argument, but I will not give it away simply because others shout louder or cry intolerance, etc.
On topic I think: