Jegsy Scarr

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  1. Ask a Catholic! (i.e, me...)

    Wow, Vince, are you trying to tell us all something? Planning to join the Tiber Swim Team, or something? But anyway, thanks for the help. My eyes are literally tired right now from staying up late to get studying done. Well, I think Vince's done a pretty good job with explaining the Pope. I think I've said some more stuff in this thread about the Pope already, but it'd be a while back, and I can't remember how much detail and whatnot I gave. If there's anything that Vince hasn't covered enough, let me know, and I can try to elaborate a bit. The "Call no man father" thing I think is a common misconception. Jesus also says, "Call no man teacher". It doesn't literally mean, you can't call another human being "father", because that would mean that you couldn't use the term even for your own biological father. It also can't be referring to spiritual leaders "father", because Jesus refers to "Father Abraham" several times. In Acts 7:2, Stephen addresses a group of elders "Brethren and fathers". And Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:14-15 uses the term for himself: "I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel." For what Jesus meant, we have to look at the historical context. Paul says in Ephesians 3:14-15 "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named". At the time Jesus was speaking, there were people who set themselves up as the ultimate authority, and even some who claimed themselves as father-gods. Jesus is reminding us that God is ultimately our Father. Sometimes non-Christians can accuse us, "Oh, you're just calling God Father because you're projecting a familiar human relationship onto something divine." But it's exactly the opposite - even biological fathers can only call themselves such because their relationship with their children is a kind of scaled-down version of God's relationship with us. With Psalm 146:3, again, Catholics don't believe that the Pope (or any priests) can save us - only Jesus can save us. But we have respect for the Apostles, and the successors of the Apostles in turn. They're the ones who serve the Church, instruct the faithful, and offer spiritual guidance. But like Vince says, they don't always do a great job. You do get the odd Judas in there, so it's important to remember that ultimately, it's about Jesus. Heck, I've lost count of the number of times I've heard of a clergyman letting the laypeople down. You've just got to remember that we're all sinners, and get on with life. (As an interesting aside, they say that Pope John XII died right in the middle of an affair with a woman. Some say he had a stroke. Others say her husband walked in, and killed him. I personally believe the second story, because it's sort of hilarious in a very twisted way.) I'm not entirely clear on what you're asking. If you're asking, can someone decide for themselves what's moral sexual behaviour, then no, no more than they could decide for themselves that adultery was okay. The Bible tells us that certain sexual acts aren't moral, and Catholic sexual morality comes from that. It's also based on natural law (e.g. looking at what sex was designed for, and so on). Theology of the Body isn't really new teaching per se, just a series of talks Pope John Paul II gave explaining the Church's position more clearly. Vince has done okay with this, but I want to clarify a few points about interpretation and whatnot. The Church would hold that although the Bible is inspired by God, God never intended it to be the only source for truth. If I gave a Bible to a hundred non-Christians, and told them to read it and come back and tell me what it teaches, I'd get a hundred different answers. Some of the Bible is pretty clear, but you need a source outside of the Bible to help you with other parts. Some will say, "Well, the Holy Spirit tells we what the Bible means"...but when you get two people who disagree on a Biblical issue, both of them will argue that the Holy Spirit told them they were right. The Church was established before the Bible was even finished being written, and before the canon of Scripture was decided. The early Christians didn't learn about the faith from the Bible but rather from the Church - even after it was written, many were illiterate or couldn't afford a Bible. Really, the Scriptures should always be read in the context of Church teaching. For example, at Mass, the priest's homily is usually an explanation/elaboration on the scripture reading, and the Mass readings tend to be grouped by a common theme, so you can see how the Old Testament prefigured the New, and so on. Now, does that mean that Catholics can't read the Bible unless they've got a priest over their shoulder explaining every verse? No, of course not, but it does mean that you have to keep Church teaching in mind when you're reading, as well as the greater historical context, for example. But you're perfectly free to interpret passages for yourself - for example, I love reading the Psalms, or Song of Songs, or Job, etc. where there's so much poetic language, because if you're a literature student, you can really have a great time trying to work out symbols and metaphors and whatnot. Even the New Testament contains those sorts of passages. In other words, the Church does not say, "Here is a Bible verse, and here is how this verse is to be interpreted". Only a handful of verses have actually had interpretations defined by the Church. For example, John 3:5 - "Jesus answered him, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.'" - the Church has defined as being a reference to water baptism, and even that's just a partial definition of the verse since Scripture is very rich and layered with meaning. But all the Church says is that when you interpret the Bible, you've got to do so in light of Church teaching. Otherwise, if everyone interprets the Bible based solely on their own opinions, you can end up with a thousand different versions of what the Church teaches. Today, we even see "Christian" sects that deny the Trinity, or Jesus's divinity, for example, and will back it up by pointing to a verse or two in the Bible they interpret as being proof of that. xxx
  2. Religious Freedom Restoration Act

    I'd say, the sin of scandal. Scandal is defined as acting in a way which leads others into sin, or makes them believe that you approve of a sin. For example, living together with a boyfriend or girlfriend, even if you're not sleeping together, would be considered scandalous - even though you're not having sex, people will assume you are, or at the very least, will know that since you're putting yourself in a near occasion of sin (living alone with someone you're sexually attracted to), you don't take sexual sin very seriously. We have a responsibility not to lead others into sin wherever possible. Simply delivering a pizza to someone's apartment, whether they're unmarried or gay or whatever, isn't scandalous, at least in my opinion. For one thing, there's no one else there to see you, and more importantly, even if someone saw you deliver the meal, they've no reason to assume you support them living together. You're just the person who took their order and made the food. We know that no one asks you "Are you having sex outside of marriage?" when you place a food order. Plus, there's no real connection between serving food and someone's sex life - if I go pick up dinner for a friend, no one thinks, "She bought her food, therefore she approves of her sex life," because it's completely irrelevant. Making a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding is very different. It's for an event where many people will be present, either to see you deliver the cake, or to ask the couple where the cake is from - people often ask about what caterers, photographers or dress stores the couple used. If you're a small business, known to be Christians, then this can give the impression that you approve of the wedding. Unlike just delivering a pizza, you obviously knew about the customer's lifestyle because it's intrinsically linked to the product. With other services like wedding photography, you have to take an active role during the service. Some people might simply assume you're doing it because the law forces you to, but others will assume you are actively approving of the wedding - they will either mistakenly believe that your religion must approve of same-sex marriage, or believe that you pick and choose your beliefs. Others may take your actions as a sign you've put the government before God. Now, some Christians may decide that they don't even want to deliver a pizza to a cohabiting couple's apartment, because they think it could lead to scandal. Others may think that because of the law forcing bakers to make cakes for same-sex weddings, no one will be misled into thinking they support the event, so will make the cake. What is and what is not scandalous is not a clear line, and people have different opinions. Business owners would have to weigh this up, and it would probably be a case-by-case basis (e.g. delivering pizza to an apartment vs. another location) I don't think that's the issue. It doesn't matter if two Christians disagree on whether it's wrong to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, or whether it's wrong to deliver a pizza. If a business owner decides, "No, I think participating in this would lead others into sin," then that's for them to decide. For example, I don't think that catering a Catholic wedding would lead others to believe you're pro-Catholicism, but if a Protestant baker felt it'd be scandalous, that's up to them, and I wouldn't take them to court for discrimination against Catholics. xxx
  3. Religious Freedom Restoration Act

    Can we please try to stay to the original topic of thread? We're drifting from it quite a bit now. Health and safety regulations are there to prevent accident or illness to the public, or to allow the public easy access to your business. That's very different from telling a business owner what services they should and should not provide, or what events they have to take part in. You're still confusing refusing to serve a person with refusing to take part in an event. As I pointed out, the law does NOT say you can refuse service to someone because of their faith or sexual orientation. Your examples of, "Christian, get out of my store" and "Unwed couple, your kind isn't allowed" are just silly. Nowhere does the law say you can do that. If you have the right to not practice religion, then why don't others have the right to practice their religion? Religious freedom cuts both ways. You said that someone else's beliefs "should not be imposing on your daily life". But that's exactly what's being done to many religious people - someone else is imposing their beliefs about marriage on them in their daily lives. If you believe that a Christian baker must make a cake for a same-sex wedding, then should they also be forced to make a cake for a Satanic black mass? If not, why not? You said that they shouldn't be able to turn away a customer based on that customer's beliefs, and that goes for any religious belief, be it theist, atheist or anti-theist. What about a baker who turns down a cake for a KKK rally? A Muslim baker who doesn't want to bake a cake with an image of the prophet Mohammed on it? A pro-choice baker who won't make a cake for a pro-life event? Are any of these okay, or should they all be forced to bake the cakes or be taken to court? There was a case I heard about just the other day in Colorado, where a gay baker refused to make a cake for a Christian group which carried bible verses condemning homosexual acts. The baker won the court case. Do you think that the court ruled the wrong way? If not, why not? Isn't the baker imposing his own beliefs on the Christian customer, just as you say Christian bakers impose their beliefs on others by not making same-sex wedding cakes? I don't see how you could justify one but not the other - either the baker has the freedom to refuse a cake order because he disagrees with the message, or he has to make any order that comes through the door even if it goes against everything he believes in. xxx
  4. Religious Freedom Restoration Act

    Like I said in my first post, I wasn't fully aware about what the Indiana law stated. The media reports I'd seen were claiming that it was wide enough to allow restaurants to refuse to serve gay people. Is this an accurate summery of the bill? If so, then I have to say, some of the media coverage is shocking. It seems very clear that the law doesn't say you can refuse to serve someone who's gay and claim it's a religious belief. The law seems very even-handed, actually. All it really says is, they'll give you a chance to defend your religious beliefs in court, and they'll have to take your faith seriously, but they absolutely can reject your appeal if they don't find it convincing. It's not, "Claim religious objections, and you can do whatever the heck you want." Companies are threatening to boycott the state of Indiana over this? Have they read what the law says, because I'm assuming they really don't care, and it's all just for publicity: "Look how pro-gay marriage we are." xxx
  5. Religious Freedom Restoration Act

    What about those who work, for example, in a family bakery that's been going for generations? When they started up, their policy on wedding cakes was in line with the law as it stood at the time. Does the recent change in law mean that they have to change their policy or close down? Would they have to agree to take part in any redefinition of marriage that came in the future (e.g. polygamy)? If so, how could you possibly blame them for opening a business years before there was even such a thing as same-sex marriage? They had no idea they could be forced to take part in such a thing. xxx
  6. Well, it's nearly three in the morning over here, and I should be in bed. This is what I get for checking the Forums so late at night, I guess. Now my stubborn little brain won't let me sleep until I reply Okay, let me have a go at answering your questions... I agree with the stuff you've mentioned so far - it's definitely not a sin to be gay, nor is it a sin to love someone of the same sex. Heck, we read in the Bible about David, who loves Jonathan more than he loves his wife. That's pretty similar to the Ancient Greeks and their teachings about types of love - they were fine with sexual relationships between the same sex, but they believed that non-sexual, platonic friendship was the highest form of love, because unlike a sexual relationship, you're not really "getting" anything from the other person. You're just with them because you love them, not because of sexual pleasure. (You can, of course, have friendship AND a sexual relationship, but they wouldn't consider that to be any better than a purely platonic friendship) When it comes to sexual relationships between people of the same sex, the Catholic Church's teaching is very consistent. It's just a matter of what sex is for, looking at Natural Law. We're body and soul creatures, and God made us with a design. For example, if someone asked, "Why is getting drunk a sin?" you can answer, "Because God gave us a mind so that we can act rationally, and getting drunk impairs our rationality." Or, "Why is lying a sin?" - "Because God gave us speech for the purpose of communicating truth, and when we lie we're deliberately communicating error." That kind of thing. So Catholics would say that likewise sex was made by God with a purpose - it unites husband and wife in a one flesh union, and does so in a way which is ordered towards the creation of life. That's pretty complex, so to break it down a little... When they have sex, husband and wife become one flesh. That's not just an elegant way of saying that they're physically connected. If you think of the systems in the body (nervous system, digestive system, cardiovascular system etc.) they're all complete in and of themselves. They all act to benefit the person's body and keep them alive. The only exception to this is the reproductive system, which is incomplete and has no benefit to the person at all...until they have sex. When husband and wife have sex, what you get the two halves coming together to make a completed system, which does work, and does benefit them. There's the physical and emotional pleasure, and even physical benefits - for example, we know that there are endorphins in semen which are absorbed into the wife's bloodstream after sex, the husband's body acting to strengthen the wife's just as he strengthens his own body. It's almost as if they're not two creatures any more, but just one - Catholic teaching would say that that's exactly what happens. As for the sexual act itself, it's physically ordered towards the creation of new life. If you look at it, it's literally firing baby-making ingredients into a baby-making factory at high speed (that's my non-Viewer Discretion explanation, I guess). Now, babies don't always get made in these factories - sometimes it's the wrong time of the month for making babies, and sometimes there's something wrong with the factory machinery or the baby-ingredient firing gun (yeah, this analogy's getting weird, I'll stop now). But you can see why the Church teaches what it does about the purpose of sex - that's how the sexual act works. That's how the reproductive organs fit together, and there's an order to it all. The Church's teaching on same-sex sexual relationships being wrong is really just part of a wider teaching - that any sexual act that isn't ordered towards the creation of new life is wrong, regardless of whether it's two men, or two women, or a man and a woman, or whatever. While I don't want to offend anyone here, I think the Catholic Church's teaching (and that of the Orthodox, and a few Protestant denominations) is a lot more consistent than most of the Protestant teachings on this. Most Protestant denominations are fine with married couples using contraception, or with them engaging in sexual acts other than sexual intercourse (I don't need to go into details, you know what I mean). I've yet to hear an explanation of why one is fine, but the other is not. If someone argues that it's wrong for two men to have sex because God intended sex for making babies, then how can they then argue that on the other hand, it's perfectly fine for a husband and wife to engage in the exact same sexual act? I'd say Catholic teaching is pretty consistent here. Even Martin Luther believed that contraception and contraceptive acts were wrong - he calls it "a most disgraceful sin", "far more atrocious than incest and adultery". John Calvin called it "a monstrous thing". Heck, I've never heard Catholic teaching as strongly worded as that... The Church's teaching on same-sex marriage is really just an extension of that. Sex and marriage are intrinsically linked - sometimes you'll hear sex called the "marital act" (which I think is really cute), or sex referred to as "the marriage vows made flesh" (also cute). When you get married, you have to be open to having children, or it's not a valid marriage. Now, you might not be able to have children, but you've got to at least be able to have sex, and do so in a way which is ordered towards procreation. If you told the priest, "We're not open to having kids, and we're going to use contraception when we have sex to stop us from having any", then he won't let you get married, because the Church views such a marriage as being automatically invalid. You might as well tell the priest that you're not going to be faithful to each other, or you're not planning on staying together till death. I'm going to recommend this video on why Catholics believe in a male-only priesthood (mainly because if I tried to explain it here, I'd just be repeating the video). This is probably the most thorough explanation I've heard (it's a few years old now, but good arguments don't change, I guess). As for the military, I'm not sure there's a rule against women being in the military per se. If the situation called for it, women might have to fight in a war (think of Mulan, where she has to step in to save her father's life). A lot of the work that takes place in the military, women could take part in without difficulty. But I think a lot of theologians would argue that it would be rather inappropriate to have women on the front-line killing other human beings. Men are naturally supposed to be protectors, whereas women were made to give life. All women are in a very real sense mothers, even if they never have children. We're mothers to our family members and friends, and we're all called to give spiritual life to others. Therefore, some would argue that it's against the very nature of a woman to be forced to take life. As I said, there are always exceptions to this (the obvious case is in self-defence or defending others), but I'd say that it's certainly more fitting for men to be out on the front-line. But as I said, it's not strictly speaking a rule. Anyway, I hope some of this helps. Most importantly, I'd just suggest taking your questions and whatnot to prayer. Talk to Jesus about it all. (Wow, now it's nearly five in the morning. I talk a lot. I have only myself to blame.) xxx (Link to Martin Luther and John Calvin quotes)
  7. Words and phrases you misunderstood as a child

    Gosh, that's hilarious! That actually reminds me...When I was about nine or ten, I'd heard the phrase "sleeping together" when people talked about babies, so I thought it meant literally sleeping in the same bed led to babies. I then learned about eggs and sperm and whatnot, and I thought, "Wait, but how does that work...Oh, I know! The sperm cells swim out of the man onto the bed and then they swim over the mattress up into the lady to the egg!" It was clarified for me very shortly after that, but I did put the two together like that at first... xxx
  8. Religious Freedom Restoration Act

    I think you're probably right. If someone has a genuine religious belief about interracial marriage, I'm not sure the law could force them to take part in one. It's not nice, but I think it's logically consistent. If someone has a right to religious freedom, then they have a right to hold beliefs that you think are wrong or even repugnant. I guess you could argue that there's a difference between interracial marriage and same-sex or interfaith marriage, since there's a qualitative difference between a man and a woman, and between a Catholic and a Protestant, but there's not a clear distinction between race because skin colour isn't a binary thing. Where would you logically draw the line? If you're against interracial marriage because it's two people with different skin colours, why would you be against me marrying a Nigerian, but not, say, an Italian? (I'm not just white, I'm practically translucent, because Scotland doesn't own a sun) Do you have some sort of colour chart to tell me, "You may marry anywhere between Mediterranean and albino", and if so, what logical reason do you have to draw the line there and not somewhere else? If you argue that it's about country, why are some countries fine but not others? Why would you be fine with me marrying a white South African but not a black South African? If it's about number of generations e.g. "Originally, you're from Europe, but originally, he's from Africa", why are you ignoring the fact that everyone traces their origins back to Africa originally? I'm not sure it's as logical a position to hold. But all that aside, if someone has a genuine religious objection to interracial marriage, I'm not entirely sure you can force them to violate that. As I said, you might find their beliefs disgusting and illogical, but if they really do believe it's morally wrong, I still don't want to force them to violate their conscience. They really believe that if they took part in an interracial marriage, they'd be committing a sin against God. Again, it's not a life or death scenario - it's a wedding cake. I'm still not sure that it's the place of the government to force people to disobey their beliefs, even if they're wrong. If you can prove that it's not just a refusal to serve a particular race, but that they don't want to take part in interracial marriage (regardless of what races are involved), and if you've good reason to think that the refusal is grounded in a real belief, then I think you'll just have to let it go. Maybe what will happen is a lot of people won't go to your bakery any more, because they don't want anything to do with you and your beliefs. If you really believe you're doing the right thing, then you won't complain too much, because you're just happy to be doing what you think God wants you to do. On the other hand, people might be tolerant of your beliefs and still go to your bakery, even if they think you're wrong. Maybe they'll just say, "Well, I disagree with your religious beliefs, but I know you're a good person just trying to do what's right, and I respect that." You might not need the government to get involved because the market will just sort itself out - if you have very offensive views about marriage, people won't buy from you, and if you don't, they will. What would be the point, anyway - "This is a victory against those who hold outdated views of race and marriage - we have forced them to make cakes against their will" ? I think that's the case with most Christian bakers and same-sex marriage - they'll likely get a lot of customers who are gay, just because the customers like them as persons and respect their right to disagree (and think they make good cake). The bakers I mentioned who are fine with same-sex wedding cakes, I know are fine with it because it's a gay couple who own the store and made their own wedding cake. I'll still buy a cake from them, because their cakes are good. If they told me, "You know, we don't want to make a cake for a Catholic wedding - we make them for Episcopal weddings, because they're fine with same-sex marriage, but we'd feel bad about taking part in a Catholic wedding (or for that matter, Catholic baptisms, communions, ordinations etc.)" then fine, I'll disagree with them, but they have a right to their beliefs. xxx
  9. I decided to WTM when I was in high school. At that time, my close friends were all people I'd known for years and was very close to. I told all of them that I was WTM. They were okay about it (they thought I was weird, but they were like, "Well, if that's what you want, whatever"). Then one of them started telling others in our year because she thought it was so weird. I wasn't really bothered that they all knew, but I was a little annoyed that my friend was just telling everyone. Anyway, I've since lost touch with all of them (they all went to different universities or just cut ties with their old friends). I now have three categories of friends - people I know from this site, people I know from the Catholic chaplaincy at my university, and people I know through clubs and societies e.g. choir. The first category obviously all know. The second category, it hasn't strictly speaking come up, but since they're all fairly serious Catholics who go to Catholic events about the Catholic faith with other Catholics, it's probably pretty obvious. The third category, no one knows, because the subject hasn't come up. Now, as it happens, one of my best friends happens to fall in that third category. She knows I'm Catholic, but in the five years I've known her, the subject of WTM has actually never come up. One of these days, she'll mention it, and I'll have to tell her. I'm weirdly interested in what the heck she'll say... xxx
  10. Religious Freedom Restoration Act

    I don't know much about this bill. As I understand it, the wording wasn't clear enough about what counts as a valid reason to turn a customer down, so everyone is saying that this means a Christian restaurant owner could refuse to serve someone a meal because of their sexual orientation. So the first thing I'd say is, that has to be clarified, because I think everyone can agree that there's a problem if that's the case. Putting this particular bill and its wording to one side, and just looking at the wider issues: Can businesses refuse to serve people based on their sexual orientation? I think the answer is quite obviously no. But that's not what this is about. Most businesses have no problem with serving gay people, but just don't want to take part in same-sex weddings. There is a big difference between refusing to serve a person, and refusing to take part in an action. People don't choose their sexual attractions any more than they choose their skin colour, which is why you can't turn someone away simply for having a particular sexual attraction. But people do choose their actions, and what events they take part in, and I don't think there's a problem with refusing to cater for a particular event. If a bakery won't make a cake celebrating cohabitation, or a cake celebrating a divorce (yes, unfortunately, they do exist), no one thinks that's discrimination. But if the same bakery won't make a cake for a same sex wedding, that's discrimination? Ah, you say, but that's different. Only gay people have same-sex marriages, and those are the only kinds of marriages they can have, so this specifically targets a gay person getting married. The problem is, that's not true. As was pointed out in that awful movie, 'I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry', the law does not say that marriage is between two gay men, two gay women, or a straight man and straight woman. The law as it stands says that any two people can marry, regardless of their sex, and doesn't say anything at all about sexual orientation. If I wanted to marry my female friend, I could register for a civil marriage ceremony tomorrow. Likewise, you don't have to be straight to marry someone of the opposite sex, and it does happen. Let's take an example here. Suppose you have four couples looking for a wedding cake, and they each visit two bakeries for cake estimates. The four couples are: 1. A straight man and woman (who we'll call Jack and Jill) 2. Two gay men (John and Joe) 3. A gay man and straight woman (Oscar and Constance) 4. Two straight men (Chuck and Larry) Jack and Jill visit Bakery A and Bakery B, and both A and B tell them they're happy to make their cake. John and John visit the two bakeries, and both A and B tell them that they are unable to to make the cake. So far, this tells you nothing about whether the bakeries are turning them down because they won't support a particular action, or whether they are discriminating based on sexual orientation. Oscar and Constance arrive at Bakery A, who are happy to make their cake. When Chuck and Larry arrive half an hour later, they turn their order down. On neither occasion do they even have to ask about the sexual orientation about their customers, because it's, frankly, not relevant to Bakery A. They believe that marriage is between a man and woman, and that's the rule they have on making their cakes. Whether the man and woman involved are gay or straight makes no difference to them - either way, it's a marriage. Oscar and Constance arrive at Bakery B to check their prices. The owner of the bakery takes one look at Oscar and says, "Look, pal, I know who you are, and I know you used to have boyfriends. I don't care if now you want to settle down with a woman and start a family: I'm not making you a wedding cake." Chuck and Larry pop in next to see if Bakery B will make them a cake, and the owner first turns them down, but when he realises that they're actually two straight men, he has a laugh about his mistake and agrees to make them a cake. In this case, I think you'd probably have a case against Bakery B, because it's clear in this case that it is about sexual orientation - they are willing to provide two straight men a service which they won't give to two gay men, even though the event they're catering for is essentially the same event. I think a court has a good case for saying that they're discriminating against a customer, not just choosing not to cater a particular type of event. Ah, you say, but realistically, 99% of same-sex weddings are going to involve two gay people, and likewise 99% of gay people won't marry someone of the opposite sex. That's true, but it shouldn't make a difference. It's still the owner's decision what types of events they'd like to provide goods and services for. It might be far more likely to be two gay people who would want them to cater for that sort of event, but as long as they're being consistent (i.e. not making cakes for any same-sex weddings, regardless of sexual orientation), then it's not unfairly discriminatory to say, "We only make cakes for weddings between men and women" - you can be any sexual orientation you like, and still get that cake from them. Now about what I think is the wider issue - should businesses be allowed to refuse to participate in events that they feel violate their conscience? Do we really want to live in a world where the government tells you, "Either commit a sin, or we'll shut your business down"? If one business won't supply something for your wedding, just go to another.There is no shortage of cake stores in the world - I have two within walking distance of my house, and I know for a fact that at least one of them is fine with making cakes for same-sex weddings. Even if there were no cake stores that would supply you a cake, you can hardly argue, "Well, I have a legal right to have a cake at my wedding." There's no such thing as a right to cake. Say I went to a photographer while planning my wedding, and everything's going fine until I give her the location. When she realises it's a Catholic wedding in a Catholic church, she tells me that she wouldn't feel right about filming a wedding there. If it's going to be a wedding mass, she doesn't want to film any of it, because she doesn't believe in the Eucharist, and she thinks Catholics are committing idolatry. I might be annoyed or even angry that I have to get another photographer, but I see no reason why I should have the legal right to take her to court because she didn't want to violate her conscience. Why should i have the right to say, "You have to film my wedding, even if you think you could go to Hell for doing so"? That's not tolerance. Tolerance is saying, "I think you're wrong, I'm disappointed that you don't agree with what I do, but I respect your right to practice your beliefs as you believe God wishes you to do." She might be offending me, but she's not causing anyone any harm. Someone mentioned doctors refusing to treat gay patients - firstly, that's to do with sexual orientation, not refusing to take part in a particular event, and secondly, that's a serious life or death situation. But cakes and photos? It's not a big deal. There's a Christian cake store in Northern Ireland right now who refused to make a cake which said, "Support Gay Marriage". It wasn't even a wedding cake, just a regular cake for a pro-same-sex marriage event. They said they couldn't make a cake which carried such a message. Six weeks later, they received a letter saying they were being taken to court. The case was famous enough that the Prime Minister mentioned it in Prime Minister's Question Time, and said he supported the customer not the baker. One of the legal experts has pointed out that if they lose this case, then it sets a legal precedence that would mean no business could refuse to make products carrying any message, even a Muslim baker who was asked to make a cake with an image of the prophet Mohammed. So far, more than £8,500 has been spent on the court case, but they've set aside £40,000 in total. The whole thing is just ridiculous. (EDIT: Wow, just looked at the length of this post. I've written yet another essay...) xxx
  11. For me, it's not that I don't have a desire to have sex. It's just that I don't really have much of a desire for it outside of marriage. Other than just the moral issues, I don't want that physical intimacy unless the emotional intimacy is there, too. Plus, just being able to call him my husband is something I want, too. So it's more a desire for marriage+sex. If I don't get married, I might be upset about that, but I'm not going to regret never having sex outside of marriage, because that's not what I want anyway. On top of that, I'm at a point in my life where I'm thinking that I'd be content with never getting married, if that's what it came down to. I hope I'll get married some day (and hopefully fairly soon), but if I don't, I'm okay with the idea of focussing all of my life on my writing career etc. That's what I'm doing now anyway, whether I get married or not. xxx
  12. Hey, guys! Found this video and thought you'd like it. (I cried) xxx
  13. 5 reasons why modern christians wouldnt get along with first christians

    Meh, I see a couple of issues with this right off the bat. Firstly, the blogger claims that the early Christians didn't warn anyone about Hell. After a very quick search through the Catholic Answers website, I've already found a collection of quotes from the early Christians who are indeed warning about Hell, and in pretty strong terms, too. Secondly, only today I was listening to a talk about the early Christians, and it's true that they didn't allow soldiers to become Christians. But it wasn't because they were all pacifists - it was because soldiers were commanded to offer tributes to the pagan gods every morning, and that was something that was incompatible with the Christian faith. Now, I only have the word of the priest who gave the talk to go on - obviously, because it's a talk, there's no sources I can look at. The problem is, the blogger doesn't give any sources for his claim either. So I'm not sure who I should believe. xxx
  14. Hey, guys! This is the official appreciation thread for The Phantom of the Opera. This is where to post any videos, pictures, comments and whatnot related to Gaston Leroux's novel, the movies, the musicals, the music, and so on. I'll just kick things off with my favourite Phantom song (with Michael Crawford): Also, here's one of the original illustrations from the first edition, with Erik modelling a Red Death costume and totally rocking it: So, I know there are Phantom fans on here. Get posting. If you refuse, you will give Faust to-night in a house with a curse upon it. xxx (Thanks to zoyuxi for suggesting this!)
  15. Meeting IRL

    They're in the Announcements and Feedback section. There are six of them. YouTube links: xxx
  16. Giving to people on the street?

    I'm torn on this one. One the one hand, it's the worst feeling in the world when I see someone begging on the street and just have to walk past them. But on the other hand, the advice of homeless charities is almost always, "Don't give people on the street money - give them food, a hot drink, clothing, etc. but not money," so to ignore the advice of the experts (if you can call them experts, I guess) seems to be not a great idea. Saying that, I have given money in the past, especially when someone actually approaches me for it. A woman once came up to me with a note saying she needed money to pay for food, or something like that, and I gave her some. But I think I'd rather give food, or something instead. xxx
  17. Happy New Year 2015, guys!

    Hey, guys! Happy New Year 2015! Anyway, just thought I'd do this... xxx
  18. For a Catholic, you could try: "Hey, do you know Latin? Because your form is extraordinary." "If you kissed me, I'd be a second-class relic." "What would you say to fish this Friday?" I believe the correct response to this is, "Are you calling me a demon?" xxx
  19. New Year Traditions

    My parents and my gran and I stay up to watch the BBC Scotland Hogmanay Live show. It's always dreadful, so we have fun complaining about it and how cheesy the music is, and so on. We watch the cannon being set off live in Edinburgh, and we clink glasses (I usually have an actual alcoholic drink now), and say Happy New Year, and then that's about it... This year, I had a glass of Smirnoff Ice and five all-butter biscuits shaped like Christmas trees. Happy New Year! xxx
  20. My turn, I guess, if folks are still interested in all this... A/S/L 20 (and a half)/Female/Scotland Did your parents raise you with a specific religion? If so, which one, and do you still practice it? I'm a cradle Catholic, and proudly so! For anyone who doesn't know, I'm the "Resident Catholic" here. What is your day job? I'm an English Literature student, currently in Junior Honours year. What is your realistic dream job? Be a writer: YA novels, Catholic apologetics books, the odd screenplay here and there, etc. (That's kind of realistic, right?) What is your fantasy dream job? As above, with movie deals and whatnot. What's your college major and/or what's your degree in? English Literature (MA), and I'm hoping to do a postgraduate in Creative Writing when I'm done with this course. If you could only watch 5 movies for the rest of your life, which movies would you pick? The Miracle Maker The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney) Pan's Labyrinth Some Like It Hot Splash Your five favourite books The Phantom of the Opera Mere Christianity Holes Till We Have Faces Life of Pi Hobbies, etc. Reading, writing, singing, acting, the occasional cross-stitch, loom bands... What you consider your greatest achievement in life so far I finished a novel-length Phantom of the Opera fan-fiction piece (100,000 words). What motivates/motivated you to WTM Partly my religious beliefs, but mostly because I want to save myself for my husband. I think WTM is beautiful. What is your favorite word? Why? Transubstantiation (Because it's Catholic and awesome) What is your least favorite word? Why? The C-word (No explanation required) In case of a 'Zombie Apocalypse' (lets just play that it could happen), what 4 actors would you choose to be a part of your group to help you survive (recent or actors from the past, it's imaginary... anything goes)? Is there a reason, or are you just crushing on them? Doug Jones, because he's awesome, and has experience in zombie movies (and could probably pass for a zombie with very little trouble), and three dudes from some ninja movies. Do you come from a big family (say 3-8, or whatever, siblings... lots of aunts/uncles, etc) or a small family? Did/do you enjoy it? I'm an only child (with two siblings who are with Jesus), so my immediate family's pretty small, but I have quite a large extended family. I have a grandmother, three uncles, three aunts, five first cousins, six first cousins once removed, two first cousins twice removed, a great-aunt and great-uncle...yeah, I think that's everyone. Not to mention spouses, and a couple of first cousins once removed from my uncle (by marriage)'s first marriage...Plus, my godmother and her daughter, who are kind of like family. Plus a bunch of relatives on my mum's side who I see at funerals and weddings but at no other time, but I think every family has those. xxx
  21. To be fair, some of them weren't scientific claims. Vince said, and I quote: "I do feel a natural desire to lead [...] Maybe it's biology or something, but regardless that is what I desire." He didn't make a scientific claim about fact, just about how he felt and that maybe it was biology but maybe it wasn't, and you still told him he needed a citation to back that up. In any case, I'm not particularly concerned with people disagreeing or even giving evidence for their claims. I'm more concerned when this gets out of hand, and it takes over the thread. I think we should just try to keep things as light as possible. xxx
  22. Guys, please, this is not a debate. If you'd like to debate whether sex differences are due to biological or environmental factors, please start a thread in Controversial Topics, and you can swap citations to your hearts' content. But this has been going back and forth for way too long, and now it's descending into personal attack. On the subject of evidence, let me make an observation or two, because I think I'm seeing a common pattern in some of our threads: If someone makes a statement that you disagree with, it's fine to respond with an "I disagree, and here's why", and even give some sources if you like. But please be aware that when people are asked "What's your opinion about female-led relationships?" or whatever, most aren't going to give a rational argument complete with citations backing up every statement they make. Most are just going to give their opinion, and not worry too much about backing up what they say with scientific evidence. I don't think there's any point in demanding that someone provide citations to back up their own opinion. By all means, politely disagree, and even give evidence for your position, if you want. But this isn't supposed to be a debate. If someone has stated their opinion without giving scientific evidence to back it up, that's probably because they aren't setting out to convince anyone else, just give their own opinion. I see this too many times in threads. Someone will innocently say something like: "Cats are better than dogs. They're not as messy, they catch mice, and they're very intuitive as to their owner's feelings." Someone else will reply: "Actually, these studies show that cats carry more bacteria than dogs, dogs are just as capable of catching household pests, and dogs have been shown to be highly intuitive, too." So far, so good. But then, dog lover will add something like, "I can't help but notice that you didn't even give evidence for the claims you made. If you still disagree with what I've said even after all the evidence I've posted, then please enlighten us with your sources for all these cat claims." And suddenly, poor cat lover is on the defensive: "Oh, I just said that because I've always thought that cats were better than dogs, you know, just from my own experience, what I've seen...I guess you're right, I haven't seen all the evidence for both sides. I'm sorry if I offended anyone - it was just my own opinion, didn't mean to cause offence." Often, someone else will respond, "Actually, here's evidence that shows cats are better, and the evidence is clearly better than yours." Before you know it, the majority of the thread is just two guys going back and forth. Now, is there a case for trying to back up your opinion with evidence and not make blanket-statements? Yes, of course! But sometimes I feel like people take these threads way too seriously. I've done that myself in the past (maybe I still do it - I'm trying not to). Basically, someone would say something I disagreed with. Suddenly, I'd see the whole thread as if it were my duty to prove my own position to anyone who disagreed. Any time anyone posted anything contrary to what I believed, I'd be back at them with reasons why they were wrong. Look, these kinds of threads are meant to be fun. Say what you think, say why, and move on. If you realise you're arguing the same thing back and forth - especially if you're starting to get angry with each other - and it's derailing the thread, just call it a day, or start a new thread. There's a time and a place for debates, but I don't think this is it. xxx Disclaimer: Views expressed about cats and dogs are entirely my own. Personally, I'd prefer a pet bearded dragon. They're just cooler.
  23. Your thoughts on this article.

    Firstly, he's woefully naive if he thinks that "Here was Jesus Christ, preaching warmth and generosity and inclusion and love; and there were his disciples, preaching coldness and horror and expulsion and everlasting damnation." It's all very well and good to say, "Oh, Jesus would NEVER be against fornication, because He's all about inclusion and love, and that'd just be coldness!" But actually read the Gospels. Jesus tells people, "If you have sex with a divorced woman, that's adultery. And entertaining sexual thoughts about women you're not married to - that's a kind of adultery, too. And all you guys in the Temple, you pack up your market stalls and your money before I use this whip." Yes, Jesus is loving, but love doesn't mean you don't tell someone that what they're doing is wrong. Plus, the writer freely admits that he rejected the apostolic letters as being scriptural because, and I quote: "These were not the Word of God or Jesus; they were the concoctions of followers." He actually has the gall to say, "The apostles, at least the ones quoted in most of the epistles, didn't get it; they had no idea what the message Jesus was actually trying to convey was." Really? So these men, who actually met Jesus in person and listened to what He taught first-hand, they know less about what Jesus taught than you do? Frankly, I find that very arrogant - these are the men who were executed for their beliefs, and all you can say is, "They didn't get it"? *sigh* Okay, deep breath... Then, the writer tells us about the sex education that he got in high school. Fair enough, it sounds pretty dreadful. The fact that the priest couldn't even answer a basic question (and it is a basic objection - we've all heard the "you wouldn't buy XYZ without trying it first" argument) is pretty pathetic. The writer actually argues something I found pretty shocking: "you can be as picky about whom you want to sleep with as anything else. But if you really like someone, and you want to be with her and you don't want her to leave, then yes - you should probably be intimate with her." That part in bold is in the original text. The writer believes that it's okay to have sex with someone, even if you don't actually want to, just so they'll stay with you. Isn't that the opposite of what we teach kids nowadays? Don't even non-WTM sex education courses teach that if your boyfriend or girlfriend pressures you into something you're not comfortable with, you should say no, even if they threaten to leave you? And here's this writer giving this as advice? It baffles me. Then, there's a lovely passage all about how animal life evolved from asexual to sexual reproduction (On a side note, the scientists think that the first creatures to have sex were native to Scotland). He argues that, since animals test out sexual partners (actually, not all of them do), it must be okay for humans to do it. That argument is pretty silly: "Animals do it, therefore it's fine for humans to do it." Okay, but if that's our standard for what constitutes moral behaviour, then sex outside of marriage is fine, as is rape, incest, murder, cannibalism, necrophilia, paedophilia, and of course, killing your partner right after having sex with them. That's hardly a good argument. Likewise, he argues that throughout history, people were having sex outside of marriage. Well, duh. They were also doing all those things I mentioned above. "Everybody's doing it" is again not a good argument. Oh, I really hated this part. He talks about a famous Bollywood movie where a man is falsely sent to prison for 20 years, and his fiancée waits for him all that time, till his release and their marriage. He agrees that this is a lovely story, but then argues that that "pure true selfless undying love" like that does not exist outside of movies. Let me just quote the whole thing: Well, aren't you a romantic? Selfless undying love doesn't exist, but oh well, we move on? If I went on a date with someone, and he said, "I don't believe in selfless undying love", I'd be dumping him right then and there! Also, isn't this supposed to be the guy who said Jesus was all about love? How can you say that if you don't even believe true love exists? Jesus died on the cross because of selfless love, and the writer doesn't think there is such a thing? You can't have it both ways! I don't believe this guy is really made of stone. I think it's just a front he's putting up as a way of getting around his instinctual feelings of, "Isn't demanding sex before marriage or you'll leave them rather unloving? Wouldn't you wait, if you really loved someone? Oh, well, I guess true love doesn't exist." *sigh* Deep breath... Then, this writer dares to say that if a guy won't have sex before marriage: "A woman will call him a nice guy...but in her heart, she will view him as impotent, weak, and not a man." Speak for yourself! Some women might, but those are exactly the kinds of women he shouldn't be marrying anyway. Why would you want to be with someone who undermined your values, or made fun of you because of your deepest beliefs? Find a woman who will respect you! There are lots of us! Another quote: Sorry, but who are you to tell me what I "need and want and demand"? Well done: you've worked out that women are not objects. Did it not occur to you that women are also individuals, not some faceless mass to be lumped together? *sigh* Deep breath... I love how the article talks about sex and reproduction, but conveniently leaves out any mention pregnancy or STDs that could result from those multiple sexual partners all women want. The closest he got was that condemnation of his high school education, where they told them about a girl who got pregnant and got an STD the first time she had sex. He says he wouldn't accept that because it was statistically so unlikely - fair enough. But that doesn't mean it doesn't happen, does it? If you're having multiple sexual partners before marriage, then that's statistically pretty likely - some STDs are extremely common. And if pregnancy happens against the odds, then what? Well, of course, he doesn't say. If I mentioned it to him, he'd probably just say, "Oh, stop scaremongering. The Pill only has a 3% failure rate". So? That'd be like staking your kid's college fund on a best because you thought there was only a small chance you'd lose. In fact, it's even worse than that. You are playing Russian Roulette with someone's life! Yes, it's unlikely you'll get a woman pregnant and risk your own child's future to growing up without their dad, or even being aborted because neither you or the woman were prepared for a baby. Yes, it's unlikely you'll contract a life-threatening STD (although the odds are pretty high that you'll catch something). But why are you even taking the risk? You wouldn't do that to a woman you loved! It's as if you don't believe in love! ...Oh, wait. Okay, I'm done with this. This guy makes me angry. On the plus side, I'm not going to be the one who'll end up marrying him. Good luck, "Chase". xxx
  24. Random Thoughts

    Wow, this may be the longest thread we've ever had. I'd really like a tuna and red onion bagel right now, and it's nearly four in the morning. xxx
  25. What's one thing you want to do in your lifetime?

    Gosh, did I really write that two and a half years ago? Never mind acting in some musical that's not even true to the book and you have to kiss the faces off two random guys in one night. Never mind waiting for someone to make an adaptation of the book where I couldn't even get the part because I'm not blonde or Swedish. I'm going to be a writer, and write my own adaptation of the book! And I'm going to get Doug Jones to star in it! And I'm going to have my own novels published, and work on movie screenplays for those, too! And I'm going to go to the awards shows and sign autographs and watch Leonardo DiCaprio cheat my movie out of the Best Actor Oscar. That's an actual goal for your lifetime, not getting sung to by some sweaty non-Phantom with a face covered in latex and greasepaint who doesn't even really look like Erik under there and isn't looking for a single, Catholic woman to be his living bride and live with him in an apartment in Paris and have lots of cute babies and reassure him that he's still attractive even without a nose... (The West Highland Way thing still looks very appealing, however) xxx