Since the Miss USA pageant this past April, Carrie Prejean has found herself at the center of a media storm. The storm was about marriage. Carrie has tried to do her best to explain what happened to her in the Miss USA pageant, and this naturally leads her to explain her views on marriage.
Carrie’s views on marriage are the same basic views of most convinced Christians. They are the views that most Americans and all societies in the past have held up to the present. Up to the present, marriage has always been considered the union of a man and a woman. For most of us, this is basic, common sense. So, it is strange that Carrie should get attacked so severely. The attacks speak of a dedicated campaign to change people’s attitudes towards marriage.
Traditional marriage is a good for society, and we can say this with charity. Carrie has tried to do this.
Many movies, television programs, and other media have been highlighting homosexual relationships during the last years. They present stories that claim homosexual love is the same as love between a man and a woman. They claim it is “discrimination” to prohibit same-sex marriage.
Stories have a very powerful effect on our way of thinking. But not all stories tell the whole truth. There is a truth about human happiness that many of these stories leave out.
Whether we believe in God or not, sexual love has a powerful effect on our happiness. Living sex in the right way can greatly enhance our happiness. Living sex in the wrong way may give us the “sensation” of love for a little while, but it only leads to a deeper emptiness. It becomes self-destructive. It also becomes destructive of others.
That is why we need to think critically as we hear a story. We need to be able to verify if the claims of the story are true.
Happiness is not found in the misuse of sex. Nor is it found in simply having good feelings for a while. It is found in living for others, in living unselfishly. Living sex in the right way is also part of this.
It is very easy to live sex in the wrong way. That is why we need real wisdom to understand sex correctly and we need prudence and self-control to live it in a way that brings real happiness.
In creating man and woman God has tried to put this awareness of the correct use of sex into the heart of every human being. This is called conscience. Our conscience has a deep awareness of the right use of sex. It is one of the most basic ideas that God engraves in our conscience.
Sometimes this awareness is lost by sad things that happen. For example, sometimes a person has been abused sexually. Other times a person has been hurt in his or her emotional growth by lack of connection with one or both parents, especially while young. Sometimes people, especially girls, are hurt by being treated like sexual objects by the opposite sex, rather than being respected and cherished as a friend. Sometimes sexual discernment is lost by getting involved in pornography and addictive sexual behavior.
A person who is living a same-sex relationship is looking for something good, but in the wrong way. He or she is looking for love and happiness. But he or she is looking for it in a way that will only lead to emptiness.
Same-sex relationships do not truly make a person happy, because they do not complete the person. They do not respect the sexual and psychological complementarity of sex, where one person’s body and spirit add something that completes the other person, something that the other person does not have. The physical and spiritual “plumbing” of sexual love does not work in same-sex relationships. In fact, usually same-sex relations are a sign that there are some deeper problems going on in a person’s life, problems that need healing and help.
We need to show great charity and love towards those who struggle with same-sex attraction, but we need to say that homosexual relations are not the same as traditional marriage.
We know that this makes homosexual people very angry. No one likes to be told that what they are doing is wrong or bad. But society has to respect the truth about marriage and family.
Marriage and family are absolutely essential to the good of society. Without traditional marriage, children lose out. Adults lose out too.
Children lose out on learning what it means to be a man and woman by the example and closeness of both their father and their mother. They lose out on learning the complimentary roles of man and woman in society in an intimate and loving way.
Children also lose out on love. They lose out on being loved by both a father and a mother. Every child has a right to know they are loved both by their father and their mother. The way a man loves his child is different and complementary to the way a mother loves her child. Both are important. Both prepare the child for the real world. And every child longs to be loved by both a father and a mother.
It is proven that children who are raised by their own father and mother do better in life, are happier, and contribute more to society. Sometimes this is not possible, but this is the ideal that society should strive for.
To make same-sex marriage equivalent to traditional marriage means many children will lose their right to having both a father and mother.
Adults also lose out in same-sex marriage because this type of relationship does not lead to real happiness. It only leads to deeper problems.
Why is traditional marriage so important in our faith?
From our faith point of view, we can see that marriage is the very first and fundamental institution that God has given to man and woman. He has given it for their own happiness. He invented it, and he knows how it is made to work. He also knows that if we don’t live marriage in the right way, our society will not work.
As Catholics, we should strive to understand our faith. Since marriage is now such a serious issue, we should make a special effort to understand why our faith defends traditional marriage.
The debate about gay marriage is continuing. In fact, it is heating up even more. In the last month, two other states have approved gay marriage, while traditional marriage groups have also been gaining support.
Legal experts foresee a very heated and difficult battle, because, with the approval of gay marriage in many states, the Christian view of marriage will often be considered bigoted and hate-speech by many of those state governments.
Parents who teach that same-sex marriage is wrong will be considered bigots by the law. They will have many of their rights taken away.
This has already happened in Massachusetts where same-sex marriage was approved. There, a parent has already been thrown in jail because he tried to remove his child from classes that taught homosexual relationships are OK.
Religious freedom will also be attacked. In Canada, where same-sex marriage has already been approved, the Catholic bishop of the diocese of Calgary has been repeatedly threatened by the government because he teaches publicly that marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman. He is simply teaching what our Catholic faith teaches and what every society until the present has always believed.
These will not be easy times to act and speak as a convinced Christian. Yet we should continue to act with charity and respect. We should strive to “speak the truth with love.”
Speaking the truth is a powerful act of charity, even if sometimes we are misunderstood and ridiculed for speaking out. Truth has power, and will eventually convince others. The truth about marriage is very beautiful and needs to be explained much more today. The future of our society depends on it.
At the end of the lesson we offer other useful resources for understanding and explaining traditional marriage.
Resources and info on Catholic teaching regarding the definition of Marriage can be found here: