lunes, 4 de agosto de 2008

A Catholic history of marriage, the truth finally revealed!

This a jewel! This letter was written by a Jesuit Preist and he is no sucker, nor an ignorant. This is a very rare piece of religious truth told by a Jesuit Preist. I do not hold any copyright nor claim authorship of it! Enjoy it!

A Catholic history of marriage

Letter on Marriage with a History of Marriage
to: Senator Marian Walsh of MA
from: Stephen Schloesser, Professor of History Boston College


February 19, 2004

Senator Marian Walsh
Room 405 State House
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Senator Walsh:

I am a Jesuit priest and professor of late modern European History at Boston College. Several of my colleagues have asked me to write you, thank you, and affirm your course of action during recent weeks in resisting calls to change the Massachusetts constitution. From what I have heard from others, you - like me - are a practicing Roman Catholic; understandably, you have felt faced with a serious dilemma and difficult decision: on the one hand, the Church's institutional stance, made all the more forceful by a $1 million lobbying effort on the part of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference; on the other, a sense that issues of human/civil rights and equality are at stake. I admire you for the seriousness with which you have taken both commitments which so often seem incompatible these days - your religious faith and your belief in certain principles of justice - and attempted to square the circle.

I know that certainly you must be experiencing, before the recommencement of the convention in March, renewed efforts at lobbying by various parties. Some of my colleagues have asked me to share some of my own thoughts with you about how I think through these seemingly incompatible commitments. I'm motivated, moreover, by a radio broadcast which, uncannily I heard four different times during the past week as I drove many hours across the plains of my native Minnesota- Wisconsin. In this broadcast, dedicated largely to Mary Magdalene, whose celebrity has been renewed by the Da Vinci Code, a Biblical scholar laid out what was, to anyone who has studied the Bible within the last couple decades, pretty uncontroversial stuff - about the Gnostic gospels, about the way the Biblical canon was formed, and about contradictory passages in the epistles regarding women, etc. When the show came to an end, the host said something to her guest that has really stuck with me. She said: "I'm angry that I have been a churchgoer for years and that I have never heard any of this more complex vision about women in the New Testament." Her scholarly guest politely responded: "Well, unfortunately, I don't think we've come up with a good way of transferring the kind of information that it takes hours to acquire in a graduate program to fifteen minute sermons every week." (These were Protestants; for a Catholic that sermon would come in under seven minutes!) And the host was not satisfied: "I don't see why I should need to get a graduate degree in a divinity school in order to get the truth about the scriptures."

Hearing this exchange - four times in one week! - came as something of a personal call, and it made me think about my own life as both a preacher and a teacher. I sympathize with both the host and the guest: on the one hand, I too feel Catholics shouldn't need to get degrees in church history in order to be made aware of the complexity of the faith; on the other hand, it really is hard to convey any complexity whatsoever in fifteen or twenty minutes, let alone seven. So what I thought I would do here in response to my colleagues' request to encourage you is simply sketch out some of the ways in which I try and think through some of the complexity that the luxury of graduate studies has given me, and offer it to you if any of it should strike you as being helpful. As for the rest, feel free to disregard!

"3,000 years of History": Maybe the most frustrating thing I have heard in the recent debate is this claim that has become a mantra: that we are in the process of changing some allegedly unchanging 3,000-year-old institution called "marriage." Of course, the decision to grant marriage licenses would be a "change" in marriage practice - but "marriage," whatever that is, is always in the process of being changed. To pretend that its alteration is somehow a rupture in what is otherwise a three-thousand year continuity is just silly.

It seems helpful to me to recall what traditional marriage is: it is a community's legal arrangement in order to pass on property. In it, a male acquires (in the sense of owning and having sovereignty over) a female for the sake of reproducing other males who will then inherit property.

Not surprisingly, there has been a long tradition of thinking about slavery and marriage as companion institutions. In Roman law, the authority of the paterfamilias over his wife and children was absolute, even to the point of death. In European societies derived from Roman law, this absolute right may not have extended to the point of death, but it was fairly extensive: if you read Darrin McMahon's recent Enemies of the Enlightenment, you see how much the Catholic reactionaries opposed the idea of women and children having independent rights and insisted that puissance paternelle (the absolute power of the father) was rooted in nature. Curiously, if you read David Kertzer's marvelous account of the Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara - i.e., the 19th-c. kidnapping by the Vatican authorities of a little Jewish boy surreptitiously baptized by his parents' vengeful gentile servant - you see the tables turned: the same liberal republicans now insist that, in fact, a father does have absolute authority over his child; hence the Church can't keep him. (These are not as contradictory as they seem on the surface: free-market liberals are often not liberal.)

In any case, the idea of marriage as "one man and one woman" is a true rupture and innovation in the tradition. The tradition in nearly every major ancient culture - at least, for those players who had power and thus for those whose marriages we have written records of - has been polygyny: one male who owns several (or many) females. The Jesuits in China found that they had difficulty reconciling two major cultural differences with their European Christianity: ancestor worship and polygyny. [It endured into the very recent period. My personal favorite image of this is in the movie "Raise the Red Lantern": here, First Wife warns Third Wife about Second Wife: "She has the face of a Buddha but the heart of a scorpion."] In India, Hinduism's long-time association with polygyny was blamed by modernizers for India's alleged decrepitude. In Persia (as all Western Civilization students know from being forced to read the Persian Letters or listen to Mozart's Escape from the Seraglio), they had harems. Montesquieu used the institution as a metaphor for the lack of human liberty during the absolutist monarchy at Versailles: in the end, the heroine performs the only genuinely free action she is capable of, i.e., suicide.

In Judaism, polygyny is found throughout the Old Testament until the inter-testamental period: among the many examples that could be cited are Abraham, David, Elkanah, Esau, Gideon, Jacob, Lamech, and, of course, "Solomon and his many wives." I've always felt the most poignant story is Jacob's: after Jacob serves seven years thinking he has now earned Rachel, Laban gives him his daughter Leah in the dark of night; Jacob doesn't know the difference or that he has been deceived until the morning. Laban acquiesces and agrees to given him his second daughter as well for another seven years' wages: "Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years." Understandably, Leah and Rachel develop angry feelings in this arrangement, just as Sarah and Hagar did two generations earlier: whose son, Isaac or Ishmael (later, symbolically, the Jews or the Muslims) will be Abraham's true descendent? In an act of enormous injustice, the founding patriarch exiles his first-born for the sake of marital harmony - and this original injustice begins the genealogical bloodline of Jesus. As for poor Onan, saddled with the dubious honor of being the prime example of "onanism": "Onan's sin" has been traditionally taken as coitus interruptus, later simplified to any act of masturbation. However, it was Onan's refusal to follow the law and have intercourse with brother's widow's wife; his not wanting to produce a son who would carry his brother's name and not his own was seen as selfish. For this God smote him. In general, a survey of traditional Old Testament marriage makes the reader very grateful that we are not bound to follow its precedents or precepts.

For the New Testament /Christian period, I have attached with this letter the handout I use in class which I admit is very quick and sketchy. Still, I do think there are very valuable things worth noting. The first is that early Christianity was really not into marriage, and it takes quite a leap of the imagination to spin biblical Christianity as somehow being the party of "family values." St. Paul thought the world was ending the day after tomorrow; understandably, since there were perhaps only weeks, days, hours or minutes to live, he counseled his followers: "It is better not to marry." (Martin Luther, with the retrospective advantage of sixteen centuries, did not follow Paul in this matter.) On the other hand, if sexual desire meant that one would face the rapture in a state of sin, then it was better to marry in order to fulfill sexual desire legitimately and avoid damnation.

For various reasons, as Peter Brown's marvelous Body and Society: Men, Women, and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity shows, other early Christians (influenced by Stoicism, Gnosticism, and Manicheanism) also thought it better not to marry‹ largely because to marry meant to reproduce, and to reproduce meant to mess oneself up in and perpetuate the endless cycle of the polluted world of matter. When Christianity was transformed overnight from being an outlaw sect to being the Empire's religion, several shifts took place: one was that Christians went from being anti-imperialist pacifists to serving as infantrymen and officers in the Christian Emperor's military; another was St. Augustine's many ways of transforming Christianity into a religion that no longer looked for the rapture but had rather faced the fact that they were in the world for the long haul.

Although he himself fairly ruthlessly exiled his own concubine after his conversion, Augustine did (following St. Paul) counsel marriage for others as a remedy for concupiscence - i.e., satisfying male sexual desire in a non-sinful way - even though it was the means of transmitting the Original Sin. In general, during the early medieval Church, all sex is a problem, and all sex is equally a problem. In the sixth-century penitentials, the penalties imposed on monks for having sex with a man and a woman are equal: three years of penitential activities. On the other hand, the penalties imposed on monks for having sex with an animal was a third of this! In the seventh-century life of St. Samson, we are told that his sanctity was obvious to everyone because no one ever saw him drunk, and he never gave into his lust for either man or woman!

Marriage, both in the Roman and the early medieval periods, was the moment that marked the passing of the rights over a woman from her father to her husband; not just rights over her property, but her mund (protection / brideprice), that is, both the obligations to protect her and, if something bad happened, rights to any fines that accrued from her death or injury. In other words, she wasn't a person under the law: instead, she was first her father in law, and then her husband. Thus, when a man and a woman committed adultery, the woman was executed (for committing a sin) and the man paid a fine to the husband for violating his property rights.

It should also be noted that serial polygyny was regularly practiced by early medieval kings famous for their Christian piety. Their marital practices - Charlemagne, for example, and Cnut the Great (whose polygyny wasn't even serial) - did not trouble the Church. Concubinage was also widely practiced among the European elite, and this practice was unproblematic, even in the eleventh century. Divorce was also completely unproblematic until the twelfth century.

In the twelfth century and beyond, rights over aristocratic heiresses (that is, women without fathers, inheriting brothers, or husbands) belonged to their fathers' lords, usually the king. The king, in turn, who was often strapped for cash, sold the rights to heiresses to followers he wished to patronize. They, then, got rights to the profits of her lands. Under King John, that practice is so damaging to male family members of heiresses that a number of clauses in Magna Carta try to address this issue.

In the twelfth century, the idea of marriage as a "sacrament" - i.e., as something fundamentally regulated by the Church - was established along with priestly celibacy and primogeniture. The simultaneous appearance of these practices shows the way in which the preservation of property suddenly became an issue of great anxiety: celibacy prevented church property from passing on to priests' wives and children; primogeniture insured that property remain intact as it passed on to only the eldest son; and Church surveillance of marriages made sure that an authority larger than, say, the most powerful warrior / aristocratic families on the block, was overseeing the passing on of dowries - e.g., Eleanor's region of the Aquitaine. Women became the means of medieval corporate mergers: families consolidated power and property, both by means of dowries as well as by being the producers of male heirs. (This could prove a dangerous gamble, as Henry VIII's wives discovered. It could also prove enormously depressing, as Catherine d'Medici was dragged up from sunny Italy to dreary France in order to make a political alliance, only to have her husband die on her and leave her to govern a fragmented foreign people. With help from a Cardinal and his terrorist practice of assassinations, she managed fairly well.) Small wonder that women in the Middle Ages might have found more freedom to develop their talents and personalities in nunneries rather than in marriage, an institution that made them fundamentally the vessels of male property.

Marriage as an "emotional unit" as opposed to an "economic unit" was largely an invention of the early nineteenth century - not coincidentally, along with the idea of a warm safe "family" or private sphere, the invention of "childhood," "birthdays," Victoria and Albert's Christmas toys, trees, and cards, and everything else Charles Dickens. In this new arrangement, bourgeois women stayed at home in the "private sphere" and made it a cozy refuge for their husbands to return to after a long day in the cold-hearted public sphere of risk, finance and politics. Bourgeois marriage was a classbound arrangement: as I tell the students, please note that it is not Hedda Gabbler's maid who puts the gun to her head. The maid has no time to be bored out of her mind; on the contrary, she would probably be grateful for a day off of cooking, cleaning, and washing. Nor, in Dickens and Zola, are the wives and children of the proletarian class bored out of their minds - they are working 12-16 hours a day in coal mines. It is rather the newly-invented middle-class idea of "marriage" as an emotional refuge for the male that gives rise to the kinds of boredom and infantilization of women that provokes Hedda Gabbler, Madame Bovary, and Shakespeare's fictional sister (in Virginia Woolf's Room of One's Own) to see suicide as the only escape.

Conversely, for the males, prostitution is seen as an integral part of the new arrangement of marriage. Prostitutes are seen as the necessary "sewers" which serve as the outlets for male sexual desires that are incompatible with the safe harbor at home. Since the end-game must be the safe transfer of bourgeois property on to a new generation, the state takes over the task of regulation. Alain Corbin's Women for Hire shows the state regularly screening prostitutes for STD's - the 19th-c. bourgeois terror being the inheritance of property by mentally or physically "degenerate" children, especially those damaged by syphilis (nicely portrayed in the movie "From Hell" about Jack the Ripper) - and licenses them as we would today regulate the safety of elevators or ground beef. (Along with prostitution, sibling incest also seems to have been a common component of 19th-c. family life; Freud wasn't so far off as once thought.) Divorce, finally legalized again in France in the 1880s, emancipated men but perhaps not women unless they had reserved some independent means. It too was part of the new emotional understanding of marriage, i.e., as something not arranged by parents but rather entered into partly because of emotional desires. When those desires waned, divorce provided males with an out. Bourgeois women - without social security, unemployment benefits, alimony, or gainful means of employment - were not quite so lucky.

It is hardly coincidental: this is also the period during which the idea of "homosexuality" - and then, later, "heterosexuality" - was invented. It is also the moment in which bestiality appears to decline. One country curate's mid-century report to his bishop on the state of his parish records with excitement that confessions of bestiality had begun to drop. Anti-gay activists like to predict with apocalyptic fervor that gay-rights legislation will somehow spike an explosion in humans seeking out animals for sex. But I like to remind my students that the opposite is the case: humans have already been there and done the barnyard animal thing, and historically speaking, bestiality declined in popularity as industrialization and urbanization (and later, automobiles) provided people with opportunities for sex with other persons.

Today's concept of marriage, in which a conservative figure of a 40% divorce rate is part of the package, would have been unthinkable a century ago. On the other hand, statistics seem to show that the average longevity of today's marriage is identical to those a century ago. The difference is that a century ago people (mostly women) died - i.e., often died from childbirth, too many pregnancies, or dangerous deliveries. Thus, whereas the people of the mid-19th century could not have imagined 21st-c. marriage/divorce rates, likewise, we cannot really imagine the marriage/death rates of the mid- 19th century. Antibiotics have fundamentally altered our expectations of reality.

The Catholic Church lobbied strenuously in every country- as it is doing at the present moment in Latin America - against the legalization of divorce. Moreover, the Church only came to allow for state authority over marriage after a century. The Rev. Peter Gomes' article in the Globe recently told about the case of the first "civil marriage" in New England, necessity having been the mother of invention. In France, before the Revolution, the idea of there being a marriage that was not a church marriage would have made no sense - after the Revolution, the Church continued to rail against what Pius XI called (as late as 1930) "civil matrimony, as it is called."

In fact, it seems more correct to say that the idea of a "civil marriage" - between anyone whomsoever - was the genuine modern innovation in marriage practice, and that its transformation from a Christian sacrament (or at least a church ceremony, since many Protestants recognize only Baptism and Eucharist as "sacraments") to a civil union has been incomplete, messy, and perhaps incoherent. (Cf. all the talk about the "sanctity of marriage" in the civic sphere.) American practice blurs these boundaries between Church and State: a Catholic priest simultaneously serve as the State's "marriage" authority. Generally speaking, European practice separates these functions and maintains clearer boundaries between Church and State.

Catholic canon law is complicated and fuzzy about these distinctions, and Catholic politicians who know almost nothing about Catholicism (like Rick Santorum and Bill Frist) do not help matters by pretending that they do understand it. In canon law, a marriage is a "sacrament" if it was contracted by two baptized persons: e.g., a Catholic and a Lutheran, or two Lutherans, or two Baptists; it is not sacramental but rather "natural" if one of the parties is not baptized: e.g., two non-baptized persons, or a Catholic and a non-baptized person (even in a Catholic ceremony). The matter is more complicated for Catholics: the Church does not recognize as valid the marriage of a Catholic who attempts to marry without the proper form (in a Catholic church, before a priest, with the proper preparation) or, in the absence of that, without having obtained the proper dispensations, e.g., a Catholic who marries a Lutheran in a Lutheran ceremony and has obtained the proper dispensations has contracted a valid marriage; without the dispensation, it is not. These distinctions come into play mostly in cases of annulments and (re-)marriage: a "natural" marriage can more easily be declared null than a "sacramental" one if, in favor of the faith, the marriage of a newly-converted Catholic requires the nullity of an earlier marriage (i.e., the Pauline and Petrine privileges).

In addition to all of this, a longer history of modern marriage would have to trace the ways in which marriage came to be deregulated between societal estates - e.g., once forbidden between aristocracy and peasantry; once demanded between members of the same artisan guild (a butcher's son marries a butcher's daughter and they produce a number of little future butchers belonging to the same guild and living within the same quartier) - and between races, i.e., anti-miscegenation laws done away without only very recently.

In short: this mantra of "3,000 years of unchanging history" can and ought to be summarily dismissed.

* * * * *


As a postscript: since, if I am right, gay marriage has already been legalized in both Belgium and the Netherlands, the idea that Massachusetts would be "changing 3,000 years of history" is plausible only to those who believe that Boston truly is the "Hub of the Universe."

Catholic ideas about marriage / sexuality:

As the examples of early Christianity show, Catholic ideas about marriage and sexuality are in constant conversation with the wider society/culture's evolving values and needs. The 12th-c. institutions of priestly celibacy and sacramental marriage are good examples. So are the demands after the Council of Trent that became increasingly stringent about announcing weddings long in advance and having witnesses present so that the free consent of the marriage partners be guaranteed from all coercion (and also to avoid the "Romeo and Juliet" scenario in which Friar Laurence surreptitiously end-runs the families, "marries" the couple in secret, and everyone on stage ends up dead).

Throughout the 20th century as well, Catholic ideas about marriage/sexuality have been rapidly changing in subtle but important ways. As late as the Code of Canon Law of 1917, the official position continued to be depressingly materialist: the purpose of marriage was considered to be "procreation," while a secondary end was a "remedy for concupiscence."

This genuinely two-millennia-old view changed on New Year's Eve, 1930: on that day, responding to the 1930 Anglican Lambeth Conference's decision to allow the use of the newly-emerging means of contraception, the papal encyclical Casti Connubii introduced a fairly shocking innovation: one of marriage's "second ends" was the "unity" between the spouses. In other words: the 19th-c. invention of marriage as an "emotional unit" in which two persons came together not merely to procreate but in order to form a sphere of emotional support - a thoroughly modern meaning of marriage - was accepted by the papacy. This has often been overlooked because readers concentrate on the main aim of the encyclical which was, indeed, to state in the strongest terms possible a condemnation of newly-invented contraceptive technologies and, implicitly, of the Anglicans' shift in position.

This particular encyclical has had a mixed reception: it was retrograde in the extreme in its unqualified condemnation of women working outside the home - ironically, this at the beginning of the Great Depression during which many families were about to survive solely on the wages earned by the female partner. On the other hand, the encyclical now seems prophetic in its condemnation of two other practices: it condemned anti-miscegenation laws, increasingly popular in the USA after World War I, especially against both African-Americans and Japanese-Americans (and about to be imitated in Hitler's Germany); and it condemned forced sterilization, recently ruled constitutional by the USA Supreme Court. Both practices were seen as violating the "integrity" or the body or soul.

On October 29, 1951 came a second important innovation in Catholic views. In one of the most insignificant settings possible - i.e., not an encyclical or synod but rather an address to Italian midwives - Pius XII suggested that couples, as long as they did not use "artificial" contraception, could arrive at a moral decision to be sexually active in a way that did not lead to procreation. As the debates on the floor of the Vatican Council a decade later show (recorded, for example, in Xavier Rynne, Vatican Council II), true conservatives (like Cardinal Ottaviani) realized that the distinction between "artificial and natural means" was relatively minor when compared to the one that Pius XII had in fact permitted: i.e., the distinction between sexual activity and procreation. In conjunction with his predecessor's 1931 teaching that marriage had a "unitive" (i.e., emotionally supportive) function as well as a procreative one, this 1951 speech shows the way in which Catholicism was coming to accept the modern invention of marriage as an emotional unit.

Between the years of approximately 1948 to 1963, the Catholic bishops of New England lobbied furiously against the legalization of contraception. This story is told in John McGreevy's brilliant new Catholicism and American Freedom, and if I could recommend one book to every Massachusetts Catholic senator / representative, this would be it. McGreevy's survey of the archives has found letters and memos in which the bishops acknowledged that they had to throw in the towel; they simply couldn't find Catholic legislators willing to go back into the ring and fight anymore.

John Ford, a Jesuit moral theologian who was the most aggressive proponent of the anticontraception stance (and taught in Weston, Mass.) admitted letter that the "natural law" argument had failed; if the point of "natural law" arguments was to convince any "rational person" (unlike, e.g., Scripture, which would convince only a religious believer), and if all these rational persons were rejecting the Catholic position, then what did that say about the law's "natural" aspect?

Eventually, the bishops abandoned this fight and made a distinction between public policy and personal religious practice. While Catholics themselves might be forbidden to use contraception, it was not necessary that this be imposed on public policy in a democracy. The implications for current events of this distinction made by the New England bishops in the early 1960s are instructive. In the end, Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) rendered the point moot and established the principle of a "right to privacy." As McGreevy points out, the New England bishops' intransigence on the contraception issue led, unexpectedly, to the establishment of the principle by which Roe v. Wade would legalize abortion. Once again, the episode proves that there is only one law of history: the law of unintended consequences.

At the Second Vatican Council, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) led many Catholics in 1965 to expect that contraception would be permitted for Catholics. In its emphases on both the urgency of population control and also on the freedom of conscience ‹ as well as some poignant passages on marriage as a unit of emotional support, acknowledging the value of marriage even when procreation was not a physical possibility for the couple - the document seemed to point in the direction of a reversal. As is now well-known, the Papal Birth Control Commission did in fact arrive at its decision that contraception was morally permissible; but that Paul VI in the end did not accept its findings and, in his encyclical Humanae Vitae re-stated the prohibition against contraception as "intrinsically disordered." (The "order" refers to the Catholic metaphysical idea that every act is "ordered" to its intrinsically given end - here, the act is ordered toward the union of egg and sperm.)

What is most interesting about the 1968 encyclical, at least to my mind, is that Paul VI rejected the admonitions of both the conservatives and the progressives: on the one hand, against the progressives, he did reaffirm Pius XI's prohibition of contraception; on the other hand, against the conservatives, he also reaffirmed Pius XI's idea that the "unitive" end of marriage is a constitutive element, and Pius XII's idea that couples can limit the number of children. In addition, he wiped out the distinction between "primary" and "secondary" ends, so that for the first time in two millennia of Catholic teaching, the modern idea of marriage as an emotional unit was not made "secondary" to the "procreative." Of course, this opened up an unprecedented can of worms: if the two ends conflicted, how could one now reconcile them? This unsettled quandary has been the lingering legacy of that decision.

Like other forms of law, Catholic canon law is produced incrementally by decisions and precedents. In 1969, a very important decision set a precedent for Catholic marriages: the Rota ruled that when two people consent to a lifelong union in marriage, what they are consenting to is not merely the "right to the body" (ius in corpus) for sexual acts, but rather "the right to the community of the whole life." It was not unprecedented but rather flowed out of statements in Gaudium et Spes like this from paragraph 50: Marriage to be sure is not instituted solely for procreation; rather, its very nature as an unbreakable compact between persons, and the welfare of the children, both demand that the mutual love grow and ripen. Therefore, marriage persists as a whole manner and communion of life, and maintains its value and indissolubility, even when despite the often intense desire of the couple, offspring are lacking.

Language defining marriage as something made "between persons" reflected the strong influence of the philosophy of "Personalism" at the Council, especially in one of its major thinkers, Karol Wojtyla, now the present Pope John Paul II. As in Pius XI's condemnation of anti-miscegenation laws, the emphasis was not on the bodily traits - e.g., race - but rather on the fact that the person was, first and foremost, a "person" endowed with dignity.

I do think this emphasis deserves a pause: one of the photographs coming out of the San Francisco Chronicle this past week - one in which an anti-gay marriage protestor carries a sign saying "I Want to Marry This Tree" - shows a fundamental problem in the thinking of anti-gay marriage arguments. The protestor obviously thought he was visually making an argument reductio ad absurdum - that to include in the idea of marriage the union of a person with another person of the same gender is as arbitrary as the idea of uniting a person and a plant - but obviously, the absurdity is his category confusion, not the idea of gay marriage. A tree is not a person - it is the idea that marriage is a contract between two persons, not primarily between two biological entities (plant or animal) capable of reproduction, that has led to the present debate in marriage legislation. The overall narrative has been an evolution from a traditional notion of marriage as a male's possession of rights over a female - a biological view - to a contract between two persons, equal in dignity by virtue of their humanity -a personalist view - for the purpose of a common life. The absurdity is not in the idea of legalizing the union of two persons for the purpose of a communion of life - it is with those who equate such a union with pursuing sexual activity with animals, California redwoods, and Robert Frost's beloved birches.

Returning to the Catholic Rota ruling: when it decided that Catholic marital consent is not merely the right to engage in intercourse but rather the "right to the community of the whole life," it was quoting the Church's highest authority as a precedent, an ecumenical Council: marriage is a whole manner and communion of life - even when offspring are lacking.

The practical implications of this were many and immediate: whereas before the Council and the 1969 ruling the grounds for ruling a marriage "null and void" had been narrowly limited, they now became many. What could impede one's free consent to an unbreakable lifelong union in a whole manner and communion of life? Obviously, we can all think of many such impediments, ranging from schizophrenia to chemical addiction to emotional immaturity and extreme narcissism. And in fact, this is what happened: the 1970s and 1980s saw an explosion in the processing of Catholic annulment cases based on this new understanding of what marriage was and what a truly free consent to it required. (Every time I read this list of possible impediments in class to students it makes me extremely uneasy - uncomfortably aware of the impediments in myself!) As one of my non- Catholics students said to me last semester after one class, "I don't know if you're aware of this, but your religion really has a lot of loopholes."

To summarize: when one compares the 1917 Catholic view of marriage - "procreation" as a primary end, "a remedy for concupiscence" as a secondary end - with the 1969 view expressed in both the Vatican Council and encoded in canon law - "the community of the whole life" that includes both the "unbreakable compact between persons" as well as the "welfare of the children," one can see that the change in Catholic doctrine and law has been nothing short of astonishing. It has also resulted in what, to me at least, is a very appealing (if perhaps sometimes unattainable) Catholic ideal of marriage: the creation of a lifelong communion which allows the flourishing of the two persons who have made their compact as well as of their children, biological and/or adopted. Certainly, legalized divorce tempers the (explicitly stated) "lifelong" aspect; and legalized marriage between two persons of the same gender would temper the (implicit but not stated) assumption that the children have been reproduced by the couple themselves. Still, the actual words of the Catholic documents themselves are instructive in what they emphasize as being essential: human flourishing. In this, they echo St. Thomas Aquinas: "Whatever is a means of preserving human life, and of warding off its obstacles, belongs to the natural law." (S.T., I-II 94, 3)

Catholicism and Homosexuality:

As with all aspects of Catholic teaching, Catholic views on homosexuality have been in dialogue with the evolving culture of the late 19th, 20th, and now 21st centuries. The idea of "homosexuality" as a condition, orientation, or state of being - however one approaches it - was unknown before the 1880s. "Sodomy" was a form of sexual intercourse; those who engaged in it were "sodomites." The works of Mark Jordan (The Invention of Sodomy) and John Boswell (Christianity, Homosexuality and Social Tolerance) are now-standard accounts of multiple transitions in Christianity's thinking about the catch-all "sodomy." Historically speaking, there is relatively little said throughout the ages about sexual activity between females. The principle anxiety throughout the ages seems to have been the transmission of male fluids. (This may due to the fact, told with a flair in Thomas Laqueur's Making Sex, that the discovery that women made a contribution to reproduction over-and-above their warm body-as-incubator - i.e., an egg - was extremely recent.) In Britain, sodomy (as Oscar Wilde discovered) was a capital crime and remained so until its decriminalization in the 1960s. In E.M. Forster's 1913-1914 novel Maurice, published only posthumously in 1971, the psycho-hypnotist encourages the protagonist to move to a Mediterranean country that would be more forgiving of his homosexual tendencies. "England," says the doctor, "has always been disinclined to accept human nature."

The first Vatican document ever devoted to the question of "homosexuality" - i.e., homosexuality as the condition / orientation / being of a person and not as the act of sodomy - in 1975. The language used to condemn a non-procreative sexual act between members of the same sex (the implication is that they are males) is identical to that in the 1968 Humanae Vitae - i.e., both contraception and same-sexual activity are "intrinsically disordered."

The condemnation of the sexual act is, at least to a historian, not of much interest here or in any other Catholic documents. What is more interesting is the way in which the Church, in a fairly undramatic way, came to accept the modern notion of "homosexuality" (as being and not action) practically overnight. In each of its documents, from the 1975 Vatican document through the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Conference pastoral letter ("Always Our Children") through the June 3rd, 2003 Vatican letter against gay civil unions/marriage, people tend to miss the fundamental (and fundamentally amazing) innovation: namely, that the Church accepted the wider culture's evolving presupposition that there is such a thing as a "sexual orientation" - a condition, preference, or "being." This fundamental leap from action to being was made, perhaps too quickly - because it seems to be incompatible with the other half of the Church's stance: namely, that a person might be constitutionally "homosexual," and yet that person is forbidden to act in accordance with his/her being. This is not logically coherent, and my sense is that the incoherence comes from having accepted the modern leap (from action to being) - which was an enormous admission from which the Church cannot now retreat - without really having thought through the consequences of this paradigm shift. When the U.S. Bishops in their letter encouraged young people to "accept their sexual orientation" and encouraged their parents to accept this orientation as a constituent part of their children, they did something analogous to Pius XII's 1951 allocution when he said that parents could morally and legitimately regulate the number of children they bear. They opened doors to another chapter of ongoing reflection and theological synthesis. It is still going on.

To summarize: Catholic thought is not dead and lifeless; it is neither a museum nor a mausoleum. It is a vibrant, living, and extremely creative thing, always in dialogue with the culture surrounding it, sometimes challenging it, sometimes adapting it, always in a dialectical process of change. How to be both Catholic and Modern: Last semester, I taught a course entitled "Catholicism Confronts Modernity, 1789-1968." I have to say that I myself learned a great deal in the process of having to read and re-read, sort things through, and try to present them in a logical manner. A couple lessons from that experience stand out for me as I consider the position of conflict in which a Catholic who is deeply involved in the American democratic process stands today.

It struck me, as I reflected on things at the end of the course...

that the best elements of Catholic teaching in Vatican II probably owed themselves to Voltaire and Marx - both rabidly condemned as bitter enemies of Catholicism in their day - and perhaps Abraham Lincoln. To Voltaire we owe the concept of "tolerance" (to Locke too, perhaps, but his notion of "toleration" was meant to delegitimate Catholicism as being irrational and hence not to be tolerated) and, along with the other Enlightenment thinkers, everything once condemned as anathema: freedom of the press, freedom of speech, democratic suffrage, and so on. To Marx we owe the most trenchant advocacy of workers' dignity - liberalism was shown to be thoroughly illiberal in its mistreatment of the masses, and progressivist socialism became a profoundly ethical force against both economic liberals and religious conservatives. As for Abraham Lincoln: just as the Holy Office of the Inquisition (today's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the author of similar documents on homosexuality) was ruling about 1865 that slavery was not incompatible with either the "natural" nor the "revealed" law (i.e., Scripture), Lincoln's second inaugural address took the opposite stand: perhaps the bloody catastrophe of the Civil War should be seen as God's just punishment for the enslavement of Africans. (The Catholic Church definitively reversed its position and condemned slavery as an abomination before the Creator in 1965.) The first thing that struck me in this course, then, is that Catholicism owes a great deal, perhaps even its best, to its one-time enemies: they have often been its best and most moral teachers. At least in modern times, the Church has tended to be the slow one in the class on issues of human rights and dignity.

The second thing I came away with: a great admiration for the "little people" who are, when all is said and done, the true Catholic heroes. After the nationalist dissolution of the Papal States and the invention of "Italy," Pius IX forbade Catholics to participate in the national government. The result? There were no Catholics in the Italian government... Similarly, in 1905, Pius X excommunicated every French member of parliament who voted for the Act of Separation of Church and State. The result? There were no Catholics in the French government... Today, the same thing is being tried in Wisconsin ‹ and perhaps (subtly) Massachusetts. The result? To be announced... In the words of the eminent old Belgian church historian, Msgr. Roger Aubert, it was precisely this ecclesiastical "bungling" that led to the catastrophe of 20th-c. French Catholicism. Hopefully, American bishops will see the value in lay people being both Catholic and a player in the democratic process. But if they cannot see this, others shouldn't wait for them to catch up.

I was also able to read Owen Chadwick's Secularization of the European Mind in the 19th Century for about the fifteenth time, and I came to see the great historian/philosopher Lord Acton as something of a hero. Fiercely 19th-c., Liberal, and Roman Catholic, Acton vehemently resented the Roman Pope's presumption in condemning modern democratic civilization, e.g., the freedom of the press as a "pestilence" and universal suffrage as "the horrible plague which afflicts human society."

Of course, there was a bit of Victorian chauvinism here: if the Pope wanted to do that in his own minuscule territory, that was just fine; but to presume that his judgments applied to those in the land of Magna Carta - this Acton could not abide.

After Acton visited Rome in 1867, he had harsh words for the continuance of papal monarchical power over the Papal States. "I pray to God that I may live to see the whole of this Fabric destroyed," he said, "and the Tiber flow with the blood of the massacred priests." Asked for clarification, Acton replied: "I want the liberty of the press to destroy the Inquisition and to control the morals of priests..."

No doubt, today Acton would be dismissed by some Catholics as a "dissenter," i.e., not truly Catholic. However, history is not on their side. In 1965, the Church vehemently affirmed all the human rights that it had condemned a hundred years earlier, and, following Pope John XXIII's megalist in Pacem in Terris, added so many more progressive demands that a free-market capitalist must blush with shame: the right to full employment, to universal health care, etc. Acton was the quick kid in class; it took awhile for his clerical superiors to catch up.

Another hero from last semester came through the reading of reading Michael Phayer's The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1933-1965 for the first time this past semester, I found another hero: Gertrud Luckner. Luckner had herself narrowly escaped death in a concentration camp. After the war, she and her Freiburg Circle worked heroically to try and bring the German bishops around to seeing that Catholic anti-Semitism had contributed to the Holocaust and that it needed to be officially condemned. A Jesuit (eventually Cardinal) Augustin Bea was sent by Pius XII to investigate this outspoken group and see whether they didn't need an official admonishment for their flirtations with heresy. Bea went to visit them and, on the contrary, was converted to their view ‹ and he almost single-handedly was later responsible for Vatican II's document that apologized for centuries of anti- Semitism and condemned it in absolute terms. This woman, whose name has been practically lost to us later in history, was the true driving (and obstinate) force behind what has now become official Catholic doctrine. She refused to be sidelined by even a Vatican inquisitor.

Reading her story, and the story of so many 20th-c. figures first condemned or silenced as heterodox, only later to be rehabilitated and then rewrite Catholic doctrine, I came to understand that this is the way a human Church walks the path of history. These are crooked, not straight lines... and yet, eventually, truth wins out - but sometimes at enormous cost to the little people who face the condemnation of powerful magisterial authorities.

A final thing I got from last semester that I had never sufficiently grasped: I had to re-read for about the eighth time in my life John Stuart Mill's essay On Liberty. The first time I read it was in 1978 as a college sophomore: I remember telling my professor (himself a huge fan of Leo Strauss) that it was the most important thing I had ever read. My professor replied that he could see if might have a certain adolescent appeal... Regardless, even at the tender age of 20, the terror of the "tyranny of the majority" was already in me. And yet, reading it last semester yet once again in review for class, it struck me as never before: Mill's enormous effort to protect democracy from itself - i.e., majority suffrage from becoming the majority's tyranny over minority populations - was a modern reading of all that is best in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. That's to say: the idea, over and over, that "You were once yourselves in an alien land" and that the duty is now to "treat the alien with dignity." Or the prophets: that it is always to the orphan, the widow, and the alien that one should be defending since they are the ones who need it.

In light of Mill (and James Madison before him), the recent rhetoric about how "four justices" are "activists" and somehow contravening the "separation of powers" seems to me absolute nonsense, and a fundamental misunderstanding of the genius of the Founding Fathers. For some time now, there has been, in the field of French history, an ongoing debate about the merits of the crystalline and centralized politics engendered by Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "general will," and the clunky gridlock system of checks and balances gridlock built in by Alexander Hamilton. I'll take Hamilton. The fact that the executive branch can, with the flourish of a pen, desegregate the armed forces as Harry Truman and check the majority will; or that the judiciary in Brown v. Board of Education could recognize the equal rights of minority citizens over and against the will of the majority; this ability of the separation of powers to unilaterally, when necessary, make sure that majority rule does not impose a tyranny on the minority - this is what is best about the American system.

It is also what is best about our religious tradition. When all is said and done, and all the details of this and that have been shaken out, what is truly valuable about Judaeo-Christianity is this conscious decision - preferential option - to take the side of those who need it, the weak, the insignificant, the numerically inferior, in imitation of God's own conscious decision. And what seems most valuable to me about Roman Catholic social teaching, at least as it has finally been articulated in this late modern period, is precisely the way in which it takes the side of those whom the great forces of the world grind down and leave behind. As Bishop Riley said in remarks to the press, if the issue is one of "distributive justice," then of course Catholics must engage the question of rights for all. Or to quote the passionate words of Pius XI's Quadragesimo Anno, in 1931 just as the Great Depression began, on the fortieth anniversary of the first great encyclical on the rights of workers (Rerum Novarum): To each, therefore, must be given his own share of goods, and the distribution of created goods, which, as every discerning person knows, is laboring today under the gravest evils due to the huge disparity between the few exceedingly rich and the unnumbered propertyless, must be effectively called back to and brought into conformity with the norms of the common good, that is, social justice. [¶ 58]

In Catholic church history, as in all history, who is heroic and what is the right thing to do often diverges significantly from the stories told by authorities. That's why it's important to keep telling those stories from another point of view.

In conclusion,

I would just observe something about the radical innovation that was Enlightenment thought and the French Revolution: it inverted time-honored values. The idea of "generations" came into vogue, reversing the basic idea of traditional societies in which age and wisdom go together. The idea of a "generation," as the French historian Pierre Nora writes, inverted the "prestige pyramid" of age, and suggested that perhaps the young have it together more than their elders - i.e., that a new "generation" might be seeing in advance what an older "generation" might never come to see. Thus, in his text of the 1793 Declaration of the Rights of Man, Condorcet inserted the line that "a generation has no right to subject any future generation to its laws" (Article 30). Saint-Just used the same language in summarizing the revolutionary measures, "You have therefore decided that one generation cannot place another in chains."

In a very different setting, during my own studies (which are about the traumatic effects of the First World War on the 1920s in France), I came across this marvelous book title: De la gérontocratie ou abus de la sagesse des vieillards dans le gouvernement de la France (Paris, 1928) ‹ On Gerontocracy, or, On the Abuse of the Wisdom of the Old Men in the Government of France. It was written out of the rage that one sees throughout this period. The poetry of Wilfred Owen, the surrealism of André Breton, All Quiet on the Western Front of Remarque: they are all expressions of rage at a gerontocracy that had ruined the lives of a younger generation.

Looking at the polls on the issue of gay marriage, one can't escape noticing the generational divides. Those 60 years and older have a difficult time coming to terms with gay marriage; those 35-60 seem fairly evenly divided; for those 35 and under, it is barely an issue. To those who would add an amendment to the constitution - a genuinely radical act - Condorcet's line is worth recalling: "A generation has no right to subject any future generation to its laws."

Senator Walsh, I respect enormously the efforts you have made to wrestle with the details in this debate. It cannot have been easy for you, and I know that you will have to continue to do so as the second round approaches in March - a round for which both sides not doubt will arrive doubly prepared since they have had time to rally forces. I know that you will be subjected to many more claims "X has always held this" and "Y has always taught that" and "Z has always been this way." Historians -well, certain types of historians - are profoundly skeptical of the word always. One of my teachers was fond of this aphorism: "We study history - not in order to render what is unfamiliar familiar - but to render what is familiar unfamiliar." Another one liked to say: "You show me what you think is the most stable thing imaginable, and I will show you how horribly contingent it really is." And a colleague of mine quotes her own teacher as having described herself as a "historian of hope," showing that things haven't always been "this way" and won't always continue to be "this way." One of the great delights and intellectual pleasures of studying history is precisely the experience of seeing that word always quietly and subtly (yet surely) subverted. I've come to think that this is a matter of temperament: some people tend to like to see continuity and stability in things; others (like historians) enjoy the bumpy ride.

Beyond personal temperament and intellectual delight, however, I do think of history as an enterprise that eventually has profoundly ethical implications. When people employ the word always - as when they use the word natural, intrinsically, unchanging, traditional - or any other word whose use is meant to seal all the exits, close out the options, and imprison people, then deconstruction becomes, at least speaking for myself, a moral activity as well as intellectual. I was prodded by colleagues to write you and encourage you to continue being suspicious of the forces that like to say always. I hope that some of this will be been helpful in the coming days.

Thank you very much for all the work you do for the Commonwealth, and especially those who most need your voice and representation.

Very sincerely yours,
Stephen Schloesser, S.J.
Assistant Professor of History Boston College

* * * * *

S473: Christian / Catholic Attitudes towards Marriage/Procreation

1. Jesus sayings: no divorce permissible ‹ among the few sayings of Jesus scholars agree are his own.

2. Letters of St. Paul: the end-time is near. Christians should not marry. If, however, you need a remedy for concupiscence, then you should marry.

3. Primitive Church [Evangelists / Paul / Peter]: introduce exceptions to divorce prohibition: porneia ["lewd conduct"? "adultery"?]; "Pauline privilege"; "Petrine privilege"

4. Pre-325 Church: Christianity illegal / period of martyrdo ms: virginity is best: -
- do not add to the pollution of this world by procreating

5. Post-325: Christianity official imperial religion: Augustine: sexual intercourse passes on Original Sin Marriage is important as a remedy for concupiscence [effect of Original Sin]

6. Post- 400s: Frankish / Germanic periods: marriage is an economic unit i.e., arranged marriage is primarily a contract about property ‹ wife exchanged for dowry; she is the property of her husband

7. 12th century [1100s]: Gregorian Reform [1075]; End of Viking invasions [ca.1100]; Crusades Church concern over property inheritance

a) Introduction of priestly celibacy; priests must expel wives from household.

b) Practice of primogeniture: eldest son receives pro perty; second son into mo nastery/clergy; other sons: warriors/ knights.

c) "Marriage" codified as one of the "seven sacraments" [Peter Lombard]: Church surveillance of property / inheritance of "Second Estate" [Nobility/ Aristocrats]

- Women who wish an independent life go into nunneries: scholars; health workers

d) Scholastics (incl. Thomas): the preservation of the species is an absolute natural law Being is good; human being is goo d; therefore neither the preservation of individual being nor of the species can be alienated

8. Council of Trent [mid-1500s]: legislation makes marriage contract less clandestine / more "free" ‹ must publish three weeks of banns; must have witnesses; still "arranged" but must be "free" [against Romeo and Juliet: end of clandestine marriages; emphasis on free contract]

9. 1680s onward: anti-miscegenation laws in British colonies ‹ prohibition of marriage between races

10. 1700s: plummeting birthrates in France ‹ why??? Roger Chartier:
Hypothesis #1: Jansenism: the body is evil; don't have sex
Hypothesis #2: Birth control by means of coitus interruptus / early condoms [sheep-stomach]
Effect: marriage not necessarily about procreation

11. 1789: Divorce legislation in France: first stirrings of recognition of woman as independent person? Or yet more privilege of bourgeois males?

NB: Even after transition from Republic to Empire, Napoleon keeps in his Code of Law

12. 1800s: industrialization/urbanization
a) divo rce debates in western Europe / USA ‹ legislation back-and-forth
b) Bourgeois values: marriage shifts from an economic unit to an emotional unit
- private sphere = "safe" refuge from public
c) Public regulation of prostitution - seen as necessary part of bourgeois marriage

d) Romantic literature: the adulterous woman ‹ people in search of "love"
- moving from "arranged" marriages to free ones

e) Recorded declines of sacramental confessions of bestiality
- i.e., more available human sexual partners in urban settings

13. 1880s-1910s:
a) Mass-production / sales of condoms [colonial rubber trees]
b) Connecticut law prohibits use of contraception or aiding contraception [overturned in 1965]
c) Divorce legal in most western countries
d) Obsession with avoiding "degenerate" genes: masturbation; hygiene; syphilis; prostitution regulation
e) Abortion: a correlative of urbanization [rural solution: shotgun m arriages]
f) Invention of "homosexuality"; ten years later, "heterosexuality"
g) 1917 Catholic Code of Canon Law: still holds to the "traditional" teaching of marriage: a) primary end is procreation b) secondary end is "remedy for concupiscence"

14. 1920s-1930s:
a) Margaret Sanger: population control / eugenics movement b) Feminism: women's suffrage movements
c) Anti-miscegenation laws in USA: 1924 Virginia "Racial Integrity Act";

Supreme Court: Asians have no right to property / to marry "whites"; forced sterilization ruled constitutional
Nuremberg Laws: anti-miscegenation extended to Jews

d) 1930: Lambeth Conference: permits contraception for Anglicans / Episcopalians
e) 1931: Casti Connubii: no to contraception, abortion, forced sterilization, anti-miscegenation

Innovation: among marriage's "second ends" is interpersonal unity
What is key about this? Recognizes marriage as an "emotional unit": i.e., "love"

15. 1950s: Invention of the suburban "white" nuclear family - end of traditional family [cf. June, Ward, the Beave]
- Contraception among Protestants: around 70%; among Catholics: 40%
- Reversal of divorce trends of 1920s-1930s: a desire for economic stability / property
- Women: forced out of workplace

- 1951: Oct. 29: Pius X II: Allocution to Italian Midwives: Innovation: Couples may regulate birth.

- 1954: Brown v. Board of Education

- 1955: Virginia anti-miscegenation laws ruled as legal: "to preserve the racial integrity of its citizens," to prevent "the corruption of blood," "a mongrel breed of citizens," "obliteration of racial pride."

- 1957: Dwight Eisenhower sends federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas

16. 1965:
- Griswold v. Connecticut: anti-contraception law (1879) ruled unconstitutional: "right of privacy"
- Gaudium et Spes: two special emphases: a) population control; b) liberty of conscience
- cites 1931 [emotional end of marriage] and 1951 [permits "natural" birth control]
- France survey: 30% of women had one or more abortions; half of women surveyed Roman Catholic
- Voting Rights Act [USA] follows 1964 Civil Rights Act; passed due to 1963 JFK assassination
- LBJ: Escalation of war in Vietnam

17. 1967: Loving v. Virginia: Supreme Court rules anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional
- sodomy laws decriminalized in United Kingdom

18. 1968:
- March: LBJ announces decision; Ap ril 4: Assassination of MLK; May: European-wide riots; June 6: Assassination of RFK
- Paul VI: July 25: Humanae Vitae:
- against "progressives": prohibits "artificial" birth control [allows "natural" birth control]
- against "conservatives":
a) ends 1931/1951 distinctions between "primary" and "secondary" ends
b) sexual intercourse cannot be "forced" [the husband does not have "right"]

New teaching: the "procreative" and "unitive" [emotional] ends of marriage are equal

Note new problem: what if these two equal ends are in conflict? How to decide?
- August: Chicago Convention Riots
- "2001: A Space Odyssey" released

19. 1969:
- Feb. 25: C. Anné, Rotal decision: the formal object of marital consent is not merely the "right to the body for heterosexual acts" (ius in corpus); but rather: "the right to the community of the whole life."

- July 6: Stonewall raid: beginning of gay rights movement

- July 20: Apollo 11 first man on the moon

1973: January 22: Roe v. Wade - decriminalization of abortion; invokes Griswold: a right to privacy

1975: First Vatican document in history on "homosexuality"
- "Veil Act": legalizes abortion in France
- April: Evacuation of Saigon / end of Vietnam War

1979: Nov. 4: Iranian Hostage Crisis begins
Dec. 25: Beginning of USSR occupation of Afghanistan

1981: January: Hostages released after Reagan inauguration

1983: April 18: U.S. Embassy in Beirut bombed

1989: End of the Cold War: Democracy v. Communism

1990-1991: Persian Gulf War

1992: Clinton decade / Dotcom years begin

2000: July 1: gay civil unions recognized in Vermont

2000: Sept. 12: gay marriage legalized in Netherlands

2000: Dec. 01: gay marriage legalized in Germany

2001: World Trade Center Bombings USA attacks Afghanistan

2003: France: gay civil unions pacte civil de solidarité (PACS): economic rights recognized across EU

2003: March 26: US Supreme Court strikes down anti-sodomy laws; invokes Griswold: right to privacy

2003: June 3: Vatican letter against gay civil union / marriage
- Aug. 28: Poland introduces gay civil union bill

2003: Nov. 18: Mass. Supreme Court rules anti-gay marriage legislation unconstitutional


Por Dragonfly
La vida de una persona está compuesta de una serie de eventos que aún cuando a simple vista uno cree que no tienen relación, sí la tienen. Nada ocurre por casualidad y sí causalidad. Cada evento dispara otro y así sucesivamente.
Por ejemplo, temprano en la mañana tienes una discusión con tú cónyuge, que no esperabas. Te montas en el automóvil mal humorado(a) y ya la actitud en el manejo del auto te cambió. Te encuentras en el mismo tapón de todas las mañana y ahora todos estos desgraciados estúpidos no saben conducir y son todos unos morones. Odias a las mujeres que no piensan y a los hombres porque todos son unos cerdos machistas. Sí tienes suerte no chocaras y si tienes un accidente se jodió todo. Pero al llegar a tú sitio de trabajo llegas totalmente lleno(a) de ira y odio hacia la humanidad y terminas teniendo un miserable día discutiendo y quizás hasta gritándole a tus compañeros de trabajo. Nada el efecto del domino tomó su curso de acción y termina jodiendote el día y tu terminas jodiendote. Esto es un ejemplo de efecto de causalidad, un evento causó otros eventos que te llevaron al desastre.
Así es todo en la vida de los Seres Humanos y a menor conocimiento mayor es la pasión que nos lleva al desastre. La pasión es una droga muy poderosa que mal utilizada causa desastres. Eso fue lo que los apologistas trataron de hacer con la sociedad existente durante los siglos I y II. Estos hombres trataron de mezclar la filosofía griega y la romana con la judía. A su manera y con sus limitaciones lo lograron. El mayor logro de estos individuos fue el lograr la fusión de esta ensarta o mejunje llamado cristiandad para los más incautos e ignorantes teniendo un éxito estelar. Ese éxito se debió a la masiva dosis de miedo hacia lo que supuestamente sucedería después de la muerte. Pues, dependiendo de sus actos terrenales se ganarían la gloria o el infierno.
Así se inventaron un excelente y magistral mecanismo de control de las masas, sin tener que masificar la educación. De aquí es que surgen los modelos educativos utilizados durante los últimos dos mil años. Ahora la pregunta que surge es, ¿Son las bases de nuestra civilización y nuestras creencias religiosas ciertas? ¿Pudo haber existido una sociedad más humana y con menos sangre derramada? ¿Pudo existir un mundo libre de maldad? ¿Pudo el hombre haber logrado más?
Esas son preguntas que me hago todos los días. Aquí trato de exponer un poco de lo que yo he descubierto y que muchos pelafustanes no quieren que salga a la luz pública porque nos quieren mantener como payos para su uso y disfrute. Ejemplo de todo esto es que somos ¿educados? dentro de un modelo educativo llamado el Modelo Napoleónico. Este Modelo persigue educar las masas serviles para que sirvan de soldados y de burócratas del gobierno. O sea nos adiestran para ser esclavos del sistema y para seguir solamente las instrucciones del estado. A su vez el estado está compuesto de una camarilla de personas que son los representantes de personas y de sus familias ultra millonarias que viven por encima de las leyes. Esos que viajan en jets privados, tienen mega yates y múltiples residencias alrededor del mundo. Esos son los actuales patricios del remanente del imperio romano.
Si estudiamos los textos no canónicos encontraremos una historia muy diferente a la de los textos canónicos. Según Tony Bushby, el nacimiento de Jesús fue un parto de gemelos uno se llamó Yeshua y el otro Judas. Estos niños eran hijos de un soldado romano llamado (Tiberio) Ben Pantera que a su vez era el hijo del emperador Augusto y futuro emperador del Imperio Romano. Por el otro lado su madre María era de la familia de los Hasmodeos, la familia que controlaba el pueblo judío. Por lo tanto los niños eran intocables. Eran la culminación de la realeza romana y judía en uno.
Jesús no era pobre ni era poca cosa, él pertenecía a la alta realeza romana y judía. Su padrastro, José era un contratista, pues construía edificios. Por lo tanto era un hombre adinerado que también era realeza judía. ¡José provenía de la casa de David!
Durante el transcurso de la vida de Jesús este trascendió y tuvo una evolución mental sin paralelo en el mundo de aquella época. Según los escritos de no canónicos de Judas Tomás (Tomás en arameo significa gemelo) sobre los dichos de Jesús se puede observar que era un creyente en la libertad, el amor y la paz. Jesús deambulaba por los campos y poblados con su séquito que incluía muchas mujeres. Pues el trataba las mujeres con igualdad y cariño, cosa que no existía para ellas en su mundo actual. La mujer valía lo mismo que una bestia de trabajo. Solo basta estudiar con detenimiento el Proverbio 31 en donde se describe una buena mujer. La mujer es quién mantiene el hogar, la que produce dinero y atiende las concubinas mientras el hombre se dedica a hablar con los otros hombres del pueblo. Esto es lo que Jesús les daba, pero ellas eran quién mantenían a Jesús. ¡Pues Jesús nunca trabajó!
Debido a la revolución que Jesús estaba creando fue que los fariseos decidieron eliminarlo. Ahora uno de los fariseos estaba bien molesto porque su hija María Magdalena se había ido con Jesús. Según un antiguo escrito no canónico, "Ella corrió de los sacerdotes, encontrando la erudición con un hombre, y ellos se intercambiaron las bandas (aros). Se sujetaban ambos de las manos y se fueron a vivir en la entrada del Monte Carmelo. Nosotros lo mataremos y haremos que Miryai (María Magdalena) sea castigada en Jerusalén. Una estaca (la Cruz) será preparada por nosotros para el hombre que ha arruinado (desflorado) a Miryai (María Magdalena) y la ha llevado lejos. No habrá ningún día en el mundo cuando un extraño (Nazareno) entre a Jerusalén.”
Por otro lado una de las referencias más tempranas de Jesús el Nazareno de parte de un no-Cristiano fue la de Aurelius Cornelius Celsus, filósofo y médico, que vivió hasta el año 38 después de Cristo, que escribió lo siguiente; "La principal razón por la que los gentiles y los filósofos persiguieron a Jesús Cristo fue porque él tenía muchas esposas; Entre ellas estaban Elizabeth y Maria Magdalena y otras más que lo siguieron."
Nada que la historia canoníca no es real. Sobre la vida de Jesús hay mucho que no se sabe porque fue sepultado, escondido y quemado. En realidad nada se hubiera sabido de él sino hubiera sido por los hallazgos de las Cuevas del Qumran y por los textos de de Nag Hammadi. Esto es confirmado por una carta de Clemente de Alejandría a un tal Teodoro encontrada en el Monasterio de Mar Saba en las cercanías de Jerusalén que contiene lo que conocemos del Evangelio Secreto de Marcos. Sobre ésta más adelante será retocada.
Después de la supuesta muerte de Jesús, sus discípulos se encontraron abandonados y decepcionados. No existe ningún documento canónico escrito por estos. Según los grandes estudiosos los textos conocidos como los evangelios fueron escritos entre el año 60 y 120 después de Cristo. Ya para ese momento todos los discípulos habían muerto y ninguno de ellos en realidad sabía leer y escribir. Eran meros obreros recogidos en el camino que quizás tenían una inteligencia superior al promedio.
No obstante eran personas carismáticas que podían levantar las masas y entretenerlas. Estos seres supuestamente fueron por el mundo llevando las buenas nuevas y Jaime, el hermano mayor se quedo a cargo del grupo.
Según Jaime y Pedro, los secretos de las buenas nuevas eran para los judíos solamente. No era para los gentiles y por lo tanto nunca buscaron expandir la diseminación de los secretos de las buenas nuevas.
En ese ínterin surge un buscón conocido como Saulo de Tarso. Este individuo, judío no deseado por los fariseos fue enviado fuera de Jerusalén y en el camino a Damasco que se inventa la idea de llevar el supuesto mensaje de Jesús a los gentiles.
Sí estudiamos con detenimiento las epístolas de Pablo, el nunca mencionó un solo dicho de Jesús, nunca en realidad habló de Jesús. Lo que hizo fue recoger lo que pudo y mezclarlo con los conceptos filosóficos helenísticos y romanos. Así creó un mejunje de mierda filosófica que pretendía alterar la naturaleza humana. La problemática de Pablo llega al nivel que este se reunió con Pedro y con Jaime y estos le negaron el conocimiento de Jesús.
Por lo tanto Pablo se dedicó a decir lo que él creía que era y no lo que verdaderamente era. De la filosofía de Jesús es muy poco lo que tenemos. Ya que en esa época eran pocos los que sabían escribir y los escritos que existían fueron quemados por órdenes de la Iglesia Católica Apostólica y Romana. Al morir todos los de la generación de Jesús, surgieron otros individuos que son comúnmente llamados los Padres de la Iglesia.
Esos son los que con sus escritos crearon la religión cristiana. La primera persona en mencionar los evangelios fue Justino el Mártir en el Siglo II (155) cuando dice en su 1 Apología 66, “…los apóstoles compusieron sus memorias, que son llamadas los evangelios.” Si Marcos fue escrito entre el año 68 y 73, Mateo fue escrito entre el año 70 y 100, Lucas fue escrito entre el año 80 y 100, y Juan fue escrito entre el año 90 y 110; Justino Mártir nos dijo una mentira. Sí él nos mintió y ya es aceptado por los estudiosos que los evangelios no fueron escritos por los apóstoles ni fueron dictados por los apóstoles. Estos fueron fabricaciones de hombres listos que los crearon para controlar las masas.
Basta con estudiar los escritos de Iraneus, de Tertuliano, de Agustín de Hippo y otros y veremos cómo estos locos disparatados usurparon los derechos básicos del ser humano a una vida llena de felicidad y plenitud. Para estás bestias manipuladoras todo acto natural era contra-natura. Estos charlatanes enfatizaron el pecado y forzaron la teoría paulina del pecado la cual Pablo se inventó y expresó en Romanos 5:12-21 and 1 Corintios 15:22. De ahí se inventan el pecado y el infierno.
Según Elaine Pagels en su Libro, “Origins of Satan”, la figura de Satán y el concepto de infierno que hoy en día tenemos es sacado directamente de la Divina Comedia, que fue escrita por Dante Alighieri entre el 1308 y el 1321.
Ahora la Iglesia se basa en que con la Crucifixión Dios derrotó al Diablo y este fue encerrado en el infierno, aparte de limpiar y eliminar todos los pecados del hombre. ¿Cómo éste todavía anda suelto por el mundo? Nada que para el libro del Apocalipsis había que soltarlo y hacerlo igual o más poderoso que Dios. De hecho el libro del Apocalipsis es un calco del libro llamado “Los Misterios de Isis y Osiris” que corresponden a las profecías Sibil de Tarquín. Por lo tanto Juan de Patmos es un plagiador y el documento en el cual tantas iglesias basan su fe en el final de los tiempos es falso.
Toda esta historia de falsedades y asquerosidades fueron concretizadas en el Primer Concilio de Nicea. Allí el Emperador Constantino crea la Iglesia Católica Apostólica y Romana el 21 de junio del año 325 (solsticio de verano). La primera biblia fue creada por Jerónimo a petición de Constantino y de ahí han salido innumerables versiones con más o menos libros. Incluyendo el Código Sináitico que no incluye el parto viginal ni la ascensión a los cielos.
Durante casi dos mil años la Iglesia Católica Apostólica y Romana y sus derribados han tratado de controlar al hombre. El profeta islámico Abu’l-Ala al Ma’arri durante el Siglo X dijo,”En la Tierra existen dos tipos de hombres, aquellos con mente y sin religión y aquellos con religión y sin mente.” Sus palabras hoy en día se sostienen y no han podido se borradas. A medida que el ser humano se educa más se aleja de los imposible y de las inconsciencias de las religiones.
El reverendo Jesús M. Colón escribió un libro titulado “Los Pecados del Cristianismo, Fábula y Psicosis en Cristo”. Este nos expone los siguientes puntos.
• La vida y la libertad son derechos naturales del ser humano; es decir, no son dadivas de ninguna deidad, como se le supone y nos atosiga el credo romano.
• Ese derecho a existir y a ser libre es inviolable, porque como advierte el gran pensador puertorriqueño Edgar Martínez Masdeu “la libertad pertenece al conjunto de los derechos naturales y se inspira en el desarrollo de la conciencia de lo justo y lo injusto. Y solo el Ser libre, interiormente libre, puede exigir, luchar y alcanzar otras libertades.”
• Rhawn J. Joseph postula que tenemos neuronas espirituales en el cerebro y que las experiencias espirituales se originan en nuestro sistema límbico. (Rhawn J. Joseph: Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, and Clinical Neuroscience, Second Edition, 1996.)
• La Iglesia y sus deidades nos han violado la virginidad existencial, con sus enseñanzas y unas predicas ajenas a nosotros, que no han hecho otra cosa que castrarnos la mismidad existencial, con una supuesta recompensa de salvación que ni siquiera esa iglesia, ni esas deidades, podrán obtener para sí mismas.
• Él, Espíritu Verbo en vez del dios castrante que nos han impuesto; el que nos permite ser dioses libres como Él, porque nos hizo a Su imagen y semejanza.”
• La Iglesia y sus deidades importadas, en contubernio con los blancos y los ricos, se han convertido en una institución extremadamente rica y poderosa, a la que hay que rendirle culto. Sus jerarcas viven como dioses y reyes; sin embargo, son unos meros mediocres ignorantes, “Mercaderes del Templo.”
• Pastores protestantes, Sacerdotes católicos y Jerarcas religiosos de otras posturas cristianas, se abrazan y se besan con los políticos, en un esfuerzo combinado para lograr su tajada de la riqueza y el presupuesto del país. Unos y otros se buscan como “Hermanos en la Fe” para predicar la ignorancia, manteniendo colonizada la mente pueblerina para seguir chupando como la sanguijuela.
• Éramos libres y la tierra era de nosotros; vivíamos de lo que ella nos daba y todos comíamos en abundancia. Sin embargo, vino la iglesia y sus deidades y plantaron la espada y la cruz y con ellas fuimos crucificados. Nos robaron no solamente el oro-la riqueza material- sino que también el alma –la riqueza existencial. ¿Y a cambio de qué? A cambio de nada; solo miseria espiritual.

Nada que este hombre puertorriqueño residente de Trujillo Alto y en el ocaso de su vida nos ha presentado las verdades que no quieren ser habladas ni escuchadas. Tuve el placer de hablar por vía telefónica con él y a su edad todavía conserva mente lúcida.
Debido a que cuando veo una monja vieja, o un cura viejo, o una persona muy religiosa en el ocaso de su vida me encuentro con que en su rostro solo hay dureza parquedad. En fin no veo la cara de una persona feliz ni iluminada. ¿Por qué? Creo que es porque nunca vivieron una vida a plenitud ni fueron felices. Vivieron una vida llena de temores y limitaciones como la vive una bestia salvaje dentro de una jaula del zoológico. Nada, que botaron su vida en nada. Vivieron una vida reprimida pensando que sus deseos incluyendo los sexuales eran pecados y actos contra natura. La juventud se les fue y no vivieron su vida. ¡Qué pena!
El reverendo Jesús M. Colón además nos dice que el Ser Humano debe optar por ser el único Autor y Actor Exclusivo de su propia existencia y de su propia vida. Porque el vivir con verdades erróneas es una condición disfuncional conocida como “vivir a medias,” porque no se existe ni se vive propiamente dicho; solamente se coexiste y se convive con otro, como el virus, que no tiene vida propia. Según él la religión se origina a nivel del cerebro primitivo y rudimentario ‘reptiliano.’ Es un mecanismo para encubrir la ignorancia, al no poderse explicar las cosas que no se entienden. A esos hechos que no se entienden porque solo se tiene un cerebro elemental o rudimentario, los llamamos milagros. Por eso es que los religiosos creen en milagros; porque su cerebro no logra entender los hechos que observan. El campo de la religión solo lo estudian los baturros intelectuales; los que todavía creen en milagros y en falacias y, desde luego, aquellos ‘listos’ y ‘viciosos’ que solo desean manipular a los demás, aprovechándose de su ignorancia.
Debido a esto es que en el libro de Jeremías 8:8 dice, “8:8 ¿Cómo ustedes se atreven a decir: "Somos sabios y la Ley del Señor está con nosotros", siendo así que la ha falsificado la pluma engañosa de los escribas? Es que podemos entender la falsedad de las leyes de la Biblia. Nada que se les pasó la verdad por las narices y no la vieron.
Según Clemente en su carta a un tal Teodoro encontrada en el Monasterio de Mar Saba en las cercanías de Jerusalén, “No todas las cosas verdaderas son para dárselas a todo hombre. Por ésta razón la sabiduría de Dios a través de Salomón nos aconseja,” “Contestar al necio con su propia necedad”, enseñándonos que la luz de la verdad se debe esconder de aquellos que son mentalmente ciegos. De nuevo dice, "El que tiene no se le quitará,” y "Permitió que el tonto camine en la oscuridad". Pero nosotros somos "niños de Luz", se ha iluminado el camino por "reflejo" del espíritu del Señor "de las alturas", y "Donde el Espíritu del Señor es", dice, hay libertad", porque "Todas las cosas son puras al puro".
En otras palabras para el que sabe no existe el pecado y nada le es prohibido. Ese es el mensaje secreto suprimido por la Iglesia para controlar las masas. No existe nada malo mientras no se le haga daño a otros. Por esta razón Tertuliano dijo, “La Cristiandad es cierta porque es absurda. Yo creo en ella porque es imposible.
Según los filósofos uno debe hacer las siguientes cosas,
1- Disfrutar los placeres carnales.
2- Disfrutar de la contemplación y del intelecto.
3- Participar de la política.
4- No hacerle daño a nadie.
5- Vivir en paz.
6- Amar y ser amado.
7- Ser libre y soberano.
Entiendo que para vivir felizmente uno debe seguir esta formula la cual va en contra de los preceptos de las iglesias pero no de la figura Cristica. Ser cristiano es no tener pensamiento propio, no disfrutar los placeres de la vida, sostener el acto de la continencia que es contra natura y vivir una vida llena de temor. El ser cristiano significa ser esclavo de una iglesia y de su filosofía hueca que nos hace estar en guerra constante con los otros ser humanos.
Según el Libro titulado, “Abandon To Lust, Sexual Slander and Early Christianity” escrito por Jennifer Wright Knust y publicado en el 2006 por Columbia University Press; Desde los apologistas cristianos en adelante la cristiandad ha utilizado la difamación sexual en contra de sus adversarios sin importar si era cierto o no. Es fascinante ver como los llamados campeones de la verdad utilizan la mentira y la falsedad sin importar las consecuencias para los otros. Esto son los que piden que uno sea bueno, bondadosos y que se gane el cielo. No obstante estas ratas pueden utilizar toda artimaña en contra de los que ellos no desean. Con razón estaban de acuerdo con la esclavitud, con el machismo extremo, con las cruzadas y con el exterminio de los judíos. Estos son los verdaderos y decentes cristianos, intolerantes con todo aquel que no acepte sus pensamientos. Los mismos que desean un gobierno cristiano sin derechos para los no cristianos. Ser cristiano es no respetar la democracia ni los derechos ajenos, igual que una república islámica.

Sí, son los mismos que no viven ni dejan vivir.

miércoles, 23 de abril de 2008

Internacional Carta Árabe tiene como objetivo International Arab Charter Aims To Restrict Satellite Channels Oxford Analytica 04.23.08, 6:00 AM ET

Carta Árabe tiene como objetivo limitar los canales por satélite
Oxford Analytica 04.23.08, 6:00 AM ET

En febrero, la Liga Árabe información ministros aprobaron la radiodifusión vía satélite árabes Carta, un acuerdo para imponer restricciones a los canales por satélite, que parece estar dirigida principalmente a Al Jazeera y su marca de polémicas noticias y cobertura política. La carta también tiene como objetivo el sexo y los canales de "inmoral" actos como beber, fumar y la violencia. Hasta el momento, sólo Qatar y el Líbano no han firmado el documento.

Carta de impacto. El egipcio-saudí patrocinado carta, una vez aprobado por las legislaturas nacionales, permitirá a los gobiernos a suspender o revocar las licencias de radiodifusión por motivos muy generales. Esto afectará a las estaciones existentes, tales Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya y Alhurra, que permiten freewheeling debates, censura la palabra-ins y la cobertura en directo que con frecuencia transgreden tradicionales líneas rojas y draconianas leyes de prensa nacionales y códigos penales:

-- Arabia Saudita ya prohibió vivir en programas de televisión estatal a principios de este mes, y Egipto ha represalias por la libertad de prensa durante el pasado año, aunque algunos espectáculos llenos de vida.

-- Estos dos países son particularmente hostiles a los llamamientos en favor de la democracia y la reforma, por lo que no es sorprendente que, patrocinado la carta.

-- Egipcio de propiedad estatal Nilesat ha disminuido recientemente con base en Londres Al-canal Hewar, la primera víctima de la carta.

Al Jazeera impacto. Hace una década, Al Jazeera desencadenó la nueva revolución de los medios de comunicación desafiando el status quo a través del desarrollo de un foro público donde la política, la cultura y la sociedad podría ser discutido. Es pionero en la creación de un nuevo periodismo árabe centrado en las personas en una región donde el proceso político ofrece mínimas posibilidades de expresión.

Su periodismo prácticas han filtrado en el resto del sector, procedentes de otras estaciones de satélite para estatales de redes terrestres, e incluso en los medios de comunicación impresos, elevar los niveles y las expectativas del público. Terrestre administrado por el Estado estaciones han sufrido en consecuencia:

-- Los funcionarios del Gobierno deben ahora defender sus políticas en el aire mientras la gente común tiene la oportunidad de presentar sus observaciones sobre los acontecimientos.

-- Los periodistas cada vez más desea adherirse a las normas internacionales y ser respetados como profesionales.

-- En vista de la competencia de Al Jazeera y el otro pan-árabe de noticias estaciones, incluso de propiedad estatal de noticias estaciones están sintiendo la presión a que se adhieran a las normas básicas periodística.

-- Por lo tanto, en Egipto y Jordania, el gobierno estaciones de cubrir los temas que han sido tabú en el pasado con el fin de mantener su legitimidad.

Esto ha puesto en duda la capacidad de los gobiernos de la región para controlar la información. El público árabe también ha acostumbrado a tener noticias reales y sistemáticamente a su vez a Al Jazeera como la mayor parte de su fuente de confianza, dolor en punto con los gobiernos árabes, que han tratado de castigar a la estación de Qatar y su patrocinador. Esta carta es sólo el último intento.

Media ciudades. Sin embargo, los gobiernos árabes también se dan cuenta de que deben formar parte de la revolución de los medios de comunicación y se beneficien económicamente de la pluma. Prueba de ello puede observarse en el desarrollo de las ciudades los medios de comunicación en varios países. Su creación en Dubai, Jordania, Siria y Egipto crea la percepción de una mayor libertad y ha sido responsable de la disminución de Londres como un centro de medios de comunicación árabes. Sin embargo, gran parte ofrecen la libertad de los impuestos en lugar de la libertad editorial.

Reglamento argumentos. La industria de satélites árabes es relativamente no regulado, y por satélite, los periodistas, hasta ahora, han sido relativamente menos sujetos a la censura que sus homólogos nacionales (aunque varios países árabes han arrestado o detenido de Al Jazeera periodistas). Los proponentes de la carta sostienen que la industria de satélites árabes debe ser regulado tal y como están regulados los medios de comunicación en Occidente:

-- Se basan falso paralelismo con la Unión Europea y EE.UU. a los organismos reguladores sostienen que incluso el Oeste impone directrices sobre el contenido televisivo.

-- En realidad, la Carta no crea un órgano regulador, sino simplemente lugares graves restricciones a la libertad de expresión.

La censura. La carta prohíbe insultar a los jefes de Estado y de los valores árabes y exige que los medios de comunicación para defender "los intereses supremos de los países árabes," o el statu quo.

Esa redacción rehashes idioma ya en la mayoría de las leyes de prensa nacionales y los códigos penales. También prohíbe la radiodifusión que socava "la paz social, la unidad nacional, el orden público y decoro general", critica a las religiones; difame o políticos, nacionales y dirigentes religiosos. Sin embargo, a los panders general amor por el deporte de garantizar el derecho a ver los acontecimientos deportivos más importantes, independientemente de los derechos de propiedad.

Entretenimiento muestra. La carta se centra asimismo en la programación de entretenimiento, centrándose en "inmoralidad" y "no islámicos" actividades:

-- Estos programas se han creado nuevos espacios de participación y de expresión que desafían tabúes sociales y la frontera entre la vida pública y privada.

-- La realidad muestra la televisión son también espacios de expresión política, que han sido uno de los económicamente más formatos de éxito.

-- Hable muestra se encuentran entre los más populares formatos porque son relativamente baratos de producir, pero son de riesgo porque viven de la palabra-ins.

Esa muestra que las mujeres puedan participar en el debate público, incluso en sociedades donde son generalmente excluidos o aislada. Entretenimiento es también uno de los sectores más rentables de la industria de satélites.

Para leer una versión ampliada de este artículo, acceder a Oxford Analytica del sitio Web.

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Arab Charter Aims To Restrict Satellite Channels
Oxford Analytica 04.23.08, 6:00 AM ET

In February, Arab League information ministers adopted the Arab Satellite Broadcasting Charter, an agreement to impose restrictions on satellite channels, which seems to be aimed primarily at Al Jazeera and its brand of contentious news and political coverage. The charter also takes aim at sex channels and "immoral" acts such as drinking, smoking and violence. So far, only Qatar and Lebanon have failed to sign the document.

Charter impact. The Egyptian-Saudi sponsored charter, once approved by national legislatures, will allow governments to suspend or revoke broadcasting licenses on very general grounds. This will affect existing stations such Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and Alhurra, which allow freewheeling debates, uncensored call-ins and live coverage that often transgress traditional red lines and draconian domestic press laws and penal codes:

--Saudi Arabia already banned live programs on state TV earlier this month, and Egypt has cracked down on press freedom over the past year, though some lively shows continue.

--These two countries are especially hostile to calls for democracy and reform, so it is not surprising that they sponsored the charter.

--Egyptian state-owned Nilesat has recently dropped London-based channel Al-Hewar, the first casualty of the charter.

Al Jazeera impact. A decade ago, Al Jazeera sparked the new media revolution by challenging the status quo through the development of a public forum where politics, culture and society could be discussed. It pioneered the creation of a new Arab journalism focused on the people in a region where the political process offers minimal chance for expression.

Its journalism practices have seeped into the rest of the sector, from other satellite stations to state-run terrestrial networks, and even into the print media, raising standards and public expectations. Terrestrial state-run stations have suffered accordingly:

--Government officials must now defend their policies on air while ordinary people have the opportunity to comment on events.

--Journalists increasingly want to adhere to international norms and be respected as professionals.

--In view of competition from Al Jazeera and the other pan-Arab news stations, even state-owned news stations are feeling pressure to adhere to basic journalistic standards.

--Therefore, in Egypt and Jordan, government stations cover items that would have been taboo in the past in order to maintain their legitimacy.

This has challenged the ability of governments in the region to control information. The Arab public has also become accustomed to having real news and routinely turn to Al Jazeera as their most-trusted source, a sore point with Arab governments, which have sought to punish the station and its Qatari sponsor. This charter is only the latest attempt.

Media cities. However, Arab governments also realize they need to be part of the media revolution and benefit economically from the boom. Evidence of this can be seen in the development of media cities in several countries. Their creation in Dubai, Jordan, Syria and Egypt creates the perception of greater freedom and has been responsible for London's decline as an Arab media hub. However, they largely offer freedom from taxes rather than editorial freedom.

Regulation arguments. The Arab satellite industry is relatively unregulated, and transnational satellite journalists, until now, have been relatively less subject to censorship than their domestic counterparts (though several Arab countries have arrested or detained Al Jazeera's journalists). Proponents of the charter argue that the Arab satellite industry needs to be regulated just as media are regulated in the West:

--They draw disingenuous parallels with the European Union and U.S. regulatory bodies to argue that even the West imposes guidelines on televisual content.

--In reality, the charter does not create a regulatory body, but simply places severe restraints on freedom of expression.

Censorship. The charter prohibits insulting heads of state and Arab values and requires the media to uphold "the supreme interests of the Arab countries," or the status quo.

Such wording rehashes language already in most domestic press laws and penal codes. It also bans broadcasting that undermines "social peace, national unity, public order and general propriety"; criticizes religions; or defames political, national and religious leaders. However, it panders to the general love of sport by guaranteeing the right to view major sporting events regardless of ownership rights.

Entertainment shows. The charter also targets entertainment programming, focusing on "immorality" and "un-Islamic" activities:

--Such programs have created new forums for participation and expression that challenge social taboos and the boundary between public and private life.

--Reality television shows are also forums for political expression; these have been one of the most economically successfully formats.

--Talk shows are among the most popular formats because they are relatively inexpensive to produce, but they're risky because of live call-ins.

Such shows enable women to participate in public debate even in societies where they are typically excluded or secluded. Entertainment is also one of the most profitable sectors of the satellite industry.

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ويهدف الميثاق العربي للحد من القنوات الفضاءيه
اوكسفورد اناليتيكا 04.23.08 ، 6:00 صباحا et

وفي شباط / فبراير ، جامعة الدول العربية الذي اعتمد وزراء الاعلام الفضاءيه العربية بث الميثاق ، الى اتفاق لفرض قيود على القنوات الفضاءيه ، التي يبدو ان تستهدف في المقام الأول الجزيرة والعلامه التجارية للجدل والاخبار والتغطيه السياسية. كما يأخذ الميثاق يهدف الى قنوات الجنس و "اللااخلاقيه" اعمال مثل الشرب والتدخين والعنف. حتى الآن ، سوى لبنان وقطر والتي لم توقع على الوثيقة.

اثر الميثاق. المصري السعودي في رعايه الميثاق ، بعد ان توافق عليها الهيئات التشريعيه الوطنية ، وسوف تسمح للحكومات تعليق او الغاء تراخيص البث الاذاعي على اسس عامة للغاية. ذلك سيؤثر على مثل هذه المحطات القائمة والجزيرة وقناة العربية الفضاءيه وقناة الحرة ، التي تسمح للمناقشات حرة ، غير مراقب الدعوة - داءره الهجره والتجنيس والتغطيه الحيه التي كثيرا ما انتهك الخطوط الحمراء التقليديه والمحلية في منتهى القسوه وقوانين الصحافة ، وقوانين العقوبات :

-- المملكه العربية السعودية بالفعل حظرا على برامج الهواء التي تبث مباشرة على تلفزيون الدولة فى وقت سابق من هذا الشهر ، ومصر اجراءات صارمه ضد حرية الصحافة خلال العام الماضي ، على الرغم من ان بعض بالحيويه وتبين ان يستمر.

-- هذين البلدين ولا سيما المعاديه للدعوة الى الديمقراطيه والاصلاح ، ولذلك فإنه ليس من المستغرب انها تبنت الميثاق.

-- المصري نايل سات المملوكه للدولة انخفض في الآونة الأخيرة يوجد مقرها في لندن قناة Al - hewar ، الضحيه الاولى من ميثاق الامم المتحدة.

الجزيرة اثر. قبل عقد من الزمن والجزيرة وأشعل الثورة وسائط الإعلام الجديدة من جانب تحدي الوضع الراهن من خلال انشاء المنتدى العام حيث السياسة والثقافة والمجتمع يمكن ان تناقش. انها رائدة في انشاء نظام جديد لالصحافة العربية تركز على الناس في المنطقة حيث توفر الحد الأدنى من العملية السياسية فرصة للتعبير.

الصحافة عن الممارسات التي تسرب الى باقي القطاع ، من قمر صناعي آخر المحطات التى تديرها الدولة الى الشبكات الارضيه ، بل وحتى في وسائل الاعلام المطبوعه ، ورفع المعايير والتوقعات العامة. الارضيه التي تديرها الدولة وبناء محطات عانى :

-- مسؤولي الحكومة الآن يجب ان تدافع عن سياساتها على الهواء فى حين ان الناس العاديين لديهم الفرصة للتعليق على الأحداث.

-- متزايد من الصحفيين تريد ان تلتزم بالقواعد الدولية واحترام كمحترفين.

-- بالنظر الى المنافسة من الجزيرة والعربية وغيرها من محطات الاخبار ، حتى المملوكه للدولة اخبار المحطات شعور الضغط على التقيد بالمعايير الاساسية الصحفيه.

-- ولذلك ، في مصر والأردن ، والمحطات الحكوميه تشمل المواد التي كانت من المحرمات في الماضي من أجل الحفاظ على شرعيتها.

هذه تمثل تحديا لقدرة الحكومات في المنطقة للسيطره على المعلومات. الرأي العام العربي كما اصبحت معتاده على الأخبار الحقيقية وبعد ان انتقل الى وروتيني الجزيرة حيث معظم مصدر موثوق بها ، ماسة الى هذه النقطه مع الحكومات العربية ، التي سعت الى معاقبة المحطة القطري وتقديمه. هذا الميثاق هو إلا آخر محاولة.

وسائل الاعلام المدن. بيد ان الحكومات العربية تدرك ايضا انها بحاجة الى وسائل الاعلام جزءا من الثورة والاستفادة اقتصاديا من الازدهار. والدليل على ذلك يمكن ملاحظه ذلك في تطوير المدن وسائل الاعلام في عدة بلدان. انشاؤهما في دبي والاردن وسوريا ومصر تصور يخلق المزيد من الحرية وكان مسؤولا عن لندن تراجع عربي المحور الاعلامي. غير انها تتيح حرية الى حد كبير من الضرائب بدلا من التحرير والحرية.

تنظيم الحجج. الصناعة الفضاءيه العربية نسبيا وغير المنظم ، عبر السواتل والصحفيين ، حتى الآن ، كانت أقل نسبيا تخضع للرقابة من نظرائها المحليين (رغم ان العديد من البلدان العربية قد اعتقلوا او احتجزوا الجزيرة للصحفيين). أنصار من الميثاق ان نقول ان الصناعة الفضاءيه العربية تحتاج الى ان تنظم كما تنظم وسائل الإعلام في الغرب :

-- وهي تعتمد الخداع ويتوازى مع الاتحاد الاوروبي والولايات المتحدة والهيئات التنظيمية الى القول بأن الغرب حتى يفرض على televisual محتوى المبادئ التوجيهيه.

-- فى واقع الأمر ، فإن الميثاق لا تنشأ هيئة تنظيمية ، وانما مجرد اماكن قيود شديدة على حرية التعبير.

الرقابة. ويحظر ميثاق اهانة لرؤساء الدول والقيم العربية وتحتاج الى دعم وسائل الاعلام الى "المصالح العليا للبلدان العربية ،" او على الوضع الراهن.

هذه الصيغة سبق ان يعيد قولبة اللغة المحلية في معظم قوانين الصحافة وقانون العقوبات. كما حظر البث ان يقوض "السلام الاجتماعي والوحدة الوطنية والنظام العام واللياقه العامة" ؛ ينتقد الأديان ، أو يطعن به السياسية والوطنية والزعماء الدينيين. ومع ذلك ، القوادون الى الحب العام للرياضة من خلال ضمان الحق في النظر الى الأحداث الرياضية الكبرى بغض النظر عن حقوق الملكيه.

وتبين وسائل الترفيه. أهداف الميثاق ايضا وسائل الترفيه والبرمجه ، مع التركيز على "الفجور" و "غير اسلامية" الانشطه :

-- مثل هذه البرامج قد خلقت منتديات جديدة للمشاركة والتعبير عن ذلك التحدي المحرمات الاجتماعية والحد الفاصل بين الحياة العامة والخاصة.

-- واقع التلفزيون وتبين ايضا منتديات للتعبير السياسي ؛ لقد كانت هذه واحدة من اكثر الاشكال من الناحية الاقتصادية بنجاح.

-- الحديث يظهر من بين الاشكال الاكثر شعبية لأنها غير مكلفه نسبيا لانتاج ، ولكنه ينطوي على مخاطر بسبب انهم يعيشون الدعوة - من داءره الهجره والتجنيس.

مثل هذه المعارض تمكين المراه من المشاركة في النقاش العام وحتى في المجتمعات حيث انها عادة ما تكون مستبعده أو معزول. وسائل الترفيه ايضا واحدا من اكثر القطاعات المربحه للصناعة السواتل.

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