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Of Gay Miracles and the Catholic Church

March 12, 2010

Anyone interested in the politics of homosexuality — particularly as it touches on religious belief — should check out Andrew Sullivan’s recent lecture at Princeton (via the Daily Dish). One highlight is Sullivan’s response to the natural law argument against homosexuality:

The argument that is used within natural law to say that gay people cannot have sex is violated in the case of many other examples — whether it be the rhythm method; whether it be infertile couples; or whether it be post-menopausal couples. At which point, some say, “well, you know, even with infertile couples, as in the gospels, a miracle can happen. You can still have sex and a miracle can happen, and somehow God can intervene.” Well, if a miracle can happen, then maybe I can have a baby with my husband. Who am I to put a limit on the power of God?

The “miracles” argument is what happens when religious believers, having committed to a doctrine contradicted by simple logic or a preponderance of evidence, get desperate. Its analogue is the claim sometimes made by young earth creationists that God made the earth appear older than it really is.

Now, it is one thing for a fundamentalist to make arguments like these — which is what we would expect. But the Catholic Church shed its prejudice against science and human progress long ago (contrary to popular misconceptions). The Church accepts the science of evolution; it has, since the publication of Rerum novarum in 1891, written lucidly and with compassion on modern social life and economics; and it embraces religious liberty and interfaith dialogue. Catholicism is — in short — not a faith that clings blindly to the past, but one that continually subjects its teachings to analytic scrutiny.

Homosexuality should be no exception.

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