Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More Deep Thoughts on Gay Marriage

In my late night browsing, I encountered two pretty intense articles from Eve Tushnet:

First here:

"I think this worldview denigrates the importance of the body. Our physicality--our incarnation--goes far beyond function. That's why kids who grew up with really amazing, sacrificial stepfathers or father figures or male role models, or adoptive parents, very often express both intense gratitude toward the people who loved and raised them, and intense longing or anger or sorrow toward the biological parents who didn't, or who loved intermittently and from afar. It's possible (I know this, because it happens) to both honor non-biological parents and yearn for the connection of DNA, of flesh. Something is missing when parental love is separated from the fleshly, sweaty, physical union which created the child."

"But the other is what I'm going to call aesthetic sensitivity. I'm calling it that because I think attention to the meaning of the physical is essentially a function of the aesthetic sense. People who feel the loss of the biological parent most keenly are, I think, expressing an insight--not a weakness, not a handicap created by their culture, but an insight into what it is to be human.

These are two separate spectra. Someone can be both intensely sensitive to the loss of the biological parent, and extremely resilient. Someone can be really flailing or self-pitying, and not at all interested in the biological connection. But just as resilience is a good thing in itself, so a deep sense of the importance of physical, fleshly relatedness is a good thing in itself. The "family diversity" movement tends to praise resilience and downplay or even denigrate what I'm calling aesthetic sensitivity. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that they do this because resilience makes the adults' lives easier and the other thing does not."

And then as if she's making an argument with herself, then here:

"Gay marriage promises that, for those of us lucky enough to grow up with parents in a loving/good-enough marriage, we truly can fit our own futures and dreams into the family story we grew up with. We can step into our parents' shoes. You all know that I think this promise is based on some really false beliefs about sex difference and family structure, but believe me, I feel the power and attraction of the promise.

And this longing for home is one reason the Church's silences, clinical language, and general lameness w/r/t speaking to actual gay people is so frustrating. Because the truest and best alternative to the home promised by gay marriage is precisely the home promised by Christ, the loving embrace of the Holy Family. When I say that the cure for alienation is in kneeling at the altar rail, this is not especially believable if the actual Catholics you've known were clueless at best and bullying at worst."

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