Thursday, January 12, 2012

Miracles, Christians And An Individual's Faith

I recently came across a video clip of Rick Santorum where he, in speaking against gay marriage, used the analogy that a glass of water is a glass of water and calling it a glass of beer, does not make it a beer.  The point he was trying to make was that calling gay marriage, "marriage", does not make it marriage.  (The video clip can be seen here.)

Really?  A Christian using an argument that water can't be turned into an alcoholic beverage?

My intent here is not to beat up Mr. Santorum over a poorly chosen analogy, other than to make some humorous hay at his expense.  But his analogy does highlight a logical view of our society which I use to base my Life's choices.  For you see, I don't pretend to be a Christian.  But my wife is and I'm a member of our parish.  I attend Mass with her.  I have supported the religious community of which I am a member with the fruits of my labor and the actual sweat of my brow.  Some time back, my wife and I were talking about Communion and I expressed how amazed I was at the number of Catholics who don't believe that Communion IS the Body and Blood of Christ.  (Numbers described here.  A more recent survey here.)  Even I as a non-Catholic/non-Christian have no problem wrapping my head around that "miracle".  My wife then asked me, why then do I not take Communion?  To which I replied, "Out of respect for your faith."  Her faith says that one can not take Communion unless one believes, is, and does certain things.  Which I don't and am not.  But that has nothing to do with my belief in the reality of that which I am witnessing, and to no small measure, supporting.

Just because someones belief is different from my own, does not necessarily make their belief any less real.  By the same token, nor does it make my belief any less real.  The rules by which the Catholics run their faith are their rules.  THIER rules, which work for THEM.  (Although I do believe that many Catholics need to work on this whole Body and Blood of Christ thing.  It is a bedrock principle of the faith.)

My faith is not diminished by the actions of others.  Yet I am on a path, not in a static point in time.  The actions of others do influence the steps I take and therefore the personal growth which I experience.  By the same token, my marriage is not diminished by the actions of others.  Anyone who contends that the actions of others negatively affects their marriage, I feel is contending the illogical and ignoring the value of great faith and love that exists elsewhere, but all around us.

I leave this with a final point that is NOT humorous hay.  Does anyone truly believe that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) would have somehow made Newt Gingrich adhere to that "in sickness and in health" clause of his contract with his wife as she lay battling cancer in the hospital?  (In all fairness, I believe it must be stated that the oft repeated story that Newt served his wife with divorce papers while she was recovering from cancer surgery, is untrue.  Here is an informative article on the subject.)  I certainly don't believe that Mr. Gingrich's life choices would have been any different had DOMA been the law of the land at the time.  But I do believe that if we, society, really want to pass a law that will "strengthen the institution of marriage", then there is only one law we can pass that will do so.

Criminalize adultery.  I believe that if Mr. Gingrich had spent a few months behind bars cooling his hormones, he might have been a bit more inclined to honor his vows.  But that's just me, believing that my marriage is not negatively affected by the actions of others and the only way that some people can be made to honor their contracts is with the threat of punishment.

Christopher Dinnes
USNS Pililaau, T-AKR 304
Newport News, VA

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