September 10, 2007

Catholics are "easily the most positive of Christian denominations" when it comes to gay marriage.

Asserts Andrew Sullivan (a Catholic).
42 percent in favor, 48 percent against in the new Pew poll (compared with 14 percent in favor and 81 percent against among white evangelicals). While that cannot please the Vatican, it reflects my own experience of tolerance, acceptance and a commitment to social justice in the pews.
But click over to the survey he cites. There aren't even any results for Protestant denominations! Protestants are just divided into "evangelicals" and "mainline." I'll wager that Episcopalians -- who are a denomination -- are more pro gay marriage than Catholics. But even if you count "mainline" as a denomination, look at the numbers. The mainliners are more in favor of gay marriage than Catholics. Sullivan's bias is really showing here.

Sullivan is also writing about that brain science article we've been talking about here today. He's not at all critical of the study's methodology or conclusions. It's just a springboard for congratulating himself again:
[R]espondents who had described themselves as liberals showed "significantly greater conflict-related neural activity" when the hypothetical situation called for an unscheduled break in routine.

Conservatives, however, were less flexible, refusing to deviate from old habits "despite signals that this ... should be changed."
And smart conservatives, recognizing their own flaws, can learn from liberal adaptivity.
Maybe he's not referring to himself there.... but it sure sounds like it to me. [ADDED FOR CLARITY: That is, he is the "smart conservative" who has learned from liberals.] Anyway, why not say that smart liberals can recognize their flaws and learn from conservatives? [ADDED: That is, there are problems with both the tendency to bend and the tendency not to bend, and whichever tendency you have, you would do well to become aware of and smart about.] And why doesn't Sullivan notice that his penchant for asserting that his side is best evinces the very flaw he ought to be correcting for if he thinks he's smart (and I think we know he does)?

37 comments:

Paddy O. said...

Catholics are also Catholics by nature of being baptized into the Catholic church. Most studies on Evangelicals, for instance, relies on other facts besides birth family.

So, in some ways Sullivan is likely right. But that's also the case for every other topic. Narrow the list of Catholics down to active or actively attending and there would be a huge change.

Mainliners are also, in most cases I think, not counted as baptized into the respective denominations but by membership lists, the voluntary adult affiliation.

So with mainliners there is a high number of people who are at least reasonably active in what are often liberal communities.

Of course, unlike many Protestant denominations it doesn't matter in the least what "most Catholics" think. It's what the bishops think that matters, and the current Catholic hierarchy is quite conservative and getting more so (especially since the 60s and 70s).

ricpic said...

Gay marriage: the mother of all oxymorons.

Tim said...

It isn't just that Sullivan thinks he's smart - it's that it's so f*cking important to him that everyone else thinks he's smart too.

Which really isn't all that smart after all.

Too bad he's so transparent.

Well, not really. Too bad, that is.

Ann Althouse said...

Paddy: there's a graph at the link comparing church-going Catholics and mainliners and the mainliners relative support for same-sex marriage greatly increases.

MadisonMan said...
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MadisonMan said...

I guess it would be naive of me to ask why the religiosity (what a word) of a candidate is important.

If I can see a good leader that will take this country in the direction I think is important, it doesn't really matter if he (or she) is taking communion every week.

Palladian said...

ricpic, I don't know about the oxy part, but you're sure a moron.

As for Sullivan, his entire ideological makeup could be summed up by the term "adaptive". And that's not a positive assessment.

Justin said...

I thought Andrew Sullivan called himself a conservative. Did he change his mind?

He used to go to great lengths to rearrange the rules of logic and reality to convince himself that his beliefs were conservative. He supports gay marriage. That's great. But why does he have to insist that real conservatives support it.

It's like he's afraid of the word "liberal".

Palladian said...

"Gay marriage: the mother of all oxymorons."

"ricpic, I don't know about the oxy part, but you're sure a moron."

Unless that was a joke suggesting that the words "marriage" and "gay" (happy) are an oxymoron when combined, in which case I'm the moron for not getting it.

John Lynch said...

American Catholics are a very small part of the worldwide Church. I doubt that, worldwide, Catholics are very sympathetic, since they are mostly Africans and Latin Americans.

The Church is not just an American or European insitution.

Joe said...

According to the poll, 43% of "Mainline Protestants" support gay marriage compared to 42% of Catholics.

SteveR said...

Among the items in my short list of things that would dissapear if logic and common sense were elevated to a miniscule level of human thought, is that anyone would give a rat's turd what Andrew Sullivan says.

Verso said...

Your analysis is real interesting, Ann, except for one problem: Andrew calls himself a conservative. He insists he is a conservative. He wrote a book called "the Conservative Soul," describing his conservative philosophy. He rejects liberals and liberalism.

So, there is no respect in which your post makes sense.

ricpic said...

No, palladian, gays can't get married because marriage is between a man and a woman for the purpose of the legitimized continuation of the human race. Gays can't do that. They're out of it and they know it and it's killing them. That's why gay marriage is an oxymoron and all the politically correct horsepucky in the world isn't going to change that fact.

Palladian said...

Ah, so you are a moron after all! My earlier comment stands!

Peter Palladas said...

I'll wager that Episcopalians -- who are a denomination...

Not really. Episcopalians are essentially just people who can't quite bring themselves to admit that they're Anglicans.

...are more pro gay marriage than Catholics.

Catholics aren't really 'pro' gay marriage - they merely love giving Rome a hard time. It's called Tradition and we Catlicks love that. Rome says we mustn't, so we say we simply have to or bust. Rome understands.

Episcopalians aren't 'pro' either - from what I can see it's more or less a compulsory requirement of membership these days. No more then than saying bears are 'pro' woods.

Personally, I'm all in favour of a happy, jolly marriage - which is what I take 'gay' as still meaning [see Nietzsche 'The Gay Science' passim] - but I'll not be tipping my vote for homosexual marriage unless and until the day two people of the same gender can fornicate and make a baby au naturel/le, i.e. no basting bulbs allowed.

Palladian said...

"Your analysis is real interesting, Ann, except for one problem: Andrew calls himself a conservative. He insists he is a conservative. He wrote a book called "the Conservative Soul," describing his conservative philosophy. He rejects liberals and liberalism."

Well using the "Andrew Sullivan Logic", I declare myself, by the Grace of God, King of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and of the Church of England and of Ireland in Earth, Supreme Head. I also declare myself a billionaire with good bone structure. And while I'm at it, I declare myself to be the reincarnation of Sir Godfrey Kneller, an anarcho-capitalist and an all-around good guy, and I declare war on bad taste and on your hometown, just for good measure.

Andrew Sullivan can declare himself a conservative if he wants to. In fact, I encourage everyone to declare themselves to be different political persuasions whenever the mood strikes them. Maybe then people will realize how stupid and meaningless such broad distinctions actually are. "Conservative" and "Liberal" are both mostly meaningless terms.

blake said...

How can a Catholic be pro-gay-marriage? If I recall the catechism, it say it's okay to be homosexual, it's just not okay to act homosexual.

Which makes for part of a pretty logically consistent stand on life and reproduction.

I mean, I realize that Catholics disagree with their church, but at some point, how can you still call yourself a Catholic?

Ann Althouse said...

Verso "Your analysis is real interesting, Ann, except for one problem: Andrew calls himself a conservative. He insists he is a conservative. He wrote a book called "the Conservative Soul," describing his conservative philosophy. He rejects liberals and liberalism. So, there is no respect in which your post makes sense."

Huh?? Of course, I know he considers himself a conservative! That's the whole point of what I'm saying! Jeez! Stop being so abusive and consider the possibility that you are wrong. In fact, you are. Now, read it again, carefully, and then get back down here and apologize. Abjectly! You fool.

Revenant said...

I'll wager that Episcopalians -- who are a denomination -- are more pro gay marriage than Catholics.

Some are, some aren't. This is one of the issues that is causing a schism within the wider Anglican church -- the majority of Anglicans are socially conservative residents of third-world nations, but the church is mostly "run" by socially liberal Westerners.

Ann Althouse said...

Revenant: But the survey is restricted to Americans, so I mean American Episcopalians. And the mainline Protestant percentage was 43. The Catholic percentage was 42. Again, Americans. What percent of American Episcopalians support same-sex marrige? I'd bet a large amount of money that it's more than 50%. But I'd bet a reasonable amount of money that it is more than 60 or even 70%.

hdhouse said...

Ann....I wouldn't bet against you on that. I think you are clearly correct.

MadisonMan said...

I think you are clearly correct.

Yes, because many of the American Episcopalians who think the Episcopal Church is too liberal have fled to the Anglican branch that originally split off back in the late 70s during the whole new book of Common Prayer/ordination of women brouhaha.

Episcopalians: Pretty liberal. Anglicans in the US: Not so liberal.

Revenant said...

What percent of American Episcopalians support same-sex marrige? I'd bet a large amount of money that it's more than 50%. But I'd bet a reasonable amount of money that it is more than 60 or even 70%.

Well, first of all the Episcopal Church doesn't recognize gay marriage -- which would be bizarre if a supermajority of Episcopalians supported it, in my opinion, since Episcopal church policy is determined democratically. Within the Episcopal church, the decision of whether or not to allow gay marriage is left up to the local dioceses (if I recally correctly).

As to whether or not a majority of Episcopalians support gay marriage, I'm really not sure. I find it likely, if only because conservatives have been abandoning the church en masse -- church membership has dropped by two or three percent a year ever since the church ordained a sexually active gay bishop in 2003. Most of that is traditional Anglicans abandoning the church in favor of churches that adhere to the broader Anglican consensus worldwide. This results in the off phenomenon of American churches officially looking to African churches for Anglican authority, rather than looking to England.

Note that all of this has been happening just over the *ordination* of gays. Official church-wide recognition of gay marriage would probably, at this point, lead to a complete collapse of the Episcopal Church within America.

Disclaimer: my parents are Episcopalians (and evenly split on the gay marriage issue). They've seen their church's attendance drop by more than half in the past four years. So I might be reading a lot of family experience into this.

jane said...
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Bender said...

Well, to begin with, Catholics are not a denomination, they are a Church. Secondly, whatever the percentage of those individuals who call themselves Catholic are in favor of gay "marriage" is completely irrelevant, just like the percentage of Catholics who favor the sun rising in the west and setting in the east is irrelevant.

Unlike the countless Protestant factions, the Catholic Church does not put matters of truth up for a vote; the Church does not put matters of scripture up for a vote. And the matter of marriage is not merely a matter of opinion of a bunch of old men in the Vatican. The matter of marriage is a matter of truth; and truth is not relative.

The truth of the matter of marriage, and more specifically, the sacrament of matrimony, is that, by definition, it is between a man and a woman. Whatever a relationship between a man and another man may be called, it is not and cannot be called marriage. And we do not have the power to change or choose our own truth, no matter what the serpent told us and no matter how many bites of the fruit of the tree we may take.

Marriage is what it is. And since it pre-existed both government and civil society, no individual, no group of individuals, and no community of individuals forming into a civil government has the power to make it something else.

downtownlad said...

Just proves that religion is immoral. The more you go to Church, the more you believe that it's ok to have the law treat people in unequal manners.

And there is a direct correlation between belief in God and IQ. The less you believe in God, the more likely your IQ is to be higher.

So I'm not surprised that dumber people are more likely to oppose gay marriage.

rcocean said...

I thought Andrew Sullivan called himself a conservative. Did he change his mind?

No, Andrew still calls himself conservative, but he's an "Andrew Sullivan Conservative". What, you ask, is an "Andrew Sullivan Conservative"?

Well, no one really knows - except Andrew Sullivan. It changes from day to day. The only constant is that anyone who disagrees with Andrew Sullivan's current position is evil or stupid.

Bender said...

Just proves that religion is immoral.

Tell me, lad, in a world without God, just exactly where do you come up with this notion of moral truth?? The whole idea of something being moral or immoral is a religious idea. So for you to call something immoral is necessarily to take a religious position.

And since, according to you, religious belief is a sign of lower intelligence, your statement regarding immorality makes you incredibly dumb.

peter hoh said...

As someone who enjoys reading Andrew Sullivan, I'll have to admit that he screws up now and again, and this is one of those times.

Revenant said...

The more you go to Church, the more you believe that it's ok to have the law treat people in unequal manners.

You're confusing equal treatment with equality of desire. Under both Catholic and US law, everyone has exactly the same right: to marry a person of the opposite sex. That heterosexuals generally want to do this more than homosexuals do is irrelevant, from an equality perspective. If the government hands out free tickets to New York that doesn't mean that people who'd really rather go to Hawaii are victims of unequal treatment under the law.

The best solution would be for the government to simply get out of the marriage business and let people form whatever social contracts they want, with or without the approval of churches. That way nobody gets special government hand-outs and nobody needs to worry about what officially counts as "marriage".

Revenant said...

The whole idea of something being moral or immoral is a religious idea.

That's an extremely silly thing to say.

Paddy O. said...

I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough whopper! I fart in your general direction! You mother was a hamster and your father smelt of eldeberries.

Now that is a silly thing to say. You might disagree with the idea that morality and religion are linked, but very, very serious and intelligent people have argued this for, oh, a good many thousand years.

That we are in a situation where morality and religion can be separated doesn't mean there's not a link nor ever was one.

That's not also to say morality needs religion.

Just to say that it's not a silly argument. Disagreement doesn't make the other side silly.

Peter Palladas said...

"...your father smelt of elde[r]berries.

A propos silly - nay utterly - crass remarks, I read a TV review of a programme I'd missed last week about people who suffer from a truly terrible affliction; namely that because some genetic malfunction their body odour reeks permanently of fish.

A total bummer in life you'll agree.

The reviewer quoted this little 8 year old lad asking his doctor when it would go away and the doctor having to tell him that it never would.

Pretty heartbreaking.

So what does the reviewer end with? 'Well I guess he'd better grow up to be a fishmonger.'

Sick biscuit taker or what?

george grady said...

Bender:

Well, to begin with, Catholics
are not a denomination, they are a Church.


Uh-huh. Because, I suppose, "Church" is good, but "denominations" are bad. Get a grip, man. The Catholics are one denomination among many in the overall Christian Church.

Unlike the countless Protestant factions, the Catholic Church does not put matters of truth up for a vote; the Church does not put matters of scripture up for a vote. And the matter of marriage is not merely a matter of opinion of a bunch of old men in the Vatican.

Of course it is, to the Catholic church. If those "old men" voted thirty years from now that marriage could be between two people of the same sex, then to the Catholic church, that would be the truth. To deny this is to deny reality. At one point in time it was "truth" in the Catholic church that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father. Now it is truth in the Catholic church that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son. Why? Because "old men" in the Vatican voted for it.

The matter of marriage is a matter of truth; and truth is not relative.

The matter of marriage is a matter of definition, and who is allowed to be married. At points in time, the Church has allowed priests to marry. Currently, the Catholic church does not.

The truth of the matter of marriage, and more specifically, the sacrament of matrimony, is that, by definition, it is between a man and a woman.

Exactly, by definition.

Whatever a relationship between a man and another man may be called, it is not and cannot be called marriage.

Sure, it can be called marriage. Just by simply calling it marriage.

And we do not have the power to change or choose our own truth, no matter what the serpent told us and no matter how many bites of the fruit of the tree we may take.

Oh, please. The history of the Catholic church is one long saga of choosing its own truth.

Marriage is what it is. And since it pre-existed both government and civil society, no individual, no group of individuals, and no community of individuals forming into a civil government has the power to make it something else.

You talk like marriage is an object rather than a concept. This sort of Platonic idealism is absurd. I'll also point out that marriage pre-existed the Catholic church, and so, by the same logic as above, the Catholic church has no say in what it is, either.

Trooper York said...

Peter, there is a Britney Spears thread further down the blog.

Revenant said...

You might disagree with the idea that morality and religion are linked, but very, very serious and intelligent people have argued this for, oh, a good many thousand years.

Bender's claim was this:

The whole idea of something being moral or immoral is a religious idea.

That claim is objectively wrong, and was proven to be so long before any of us were born. Which is why making that claim, today, is silly.

The simplest form of one of the proofs is this: all religions derive their authority from faith in an unprovable concept (i.e., "the will of God" in Christianity). Ergo all moral systems that are based in religion are ultimately just derived from faith in an unprovable concept. Ergo any moral system based in religion is no more valid than a moral system based on a non-religious axiom (e.g. "all humans have the right to the product of their labor").