Quips and Quotes

Churches Bar Straight Marriages in Ban Protest

“Nashville (AP) — Suzanne Prince married Hunter Allen at a friend’s home. That wasn’t the plan, but the couple had no choice because their church — Edgehill United Methodist doesn’t allow marriage ceremonies.

“The Edgehill congregation decided that until the United Methodist Church allows gay marriages, no marriage cer- emonies of any kind will be performed in their chapel.

“‘If the United Methodist Church wasn’t going to allow gay people to get married in the church, I agree that straight people shouldn’t either,’ said Prince, who’s been married nine months.

“. . . The National Council of Churches has no information on how many individual churches perform gay marriage ceremonies, or refuse to allow traditional marriages to protest bans on gay marriages.

“Edgehill’s policy was drafted when a pastor in Atlanta was disciplined for blessing a homosexual couple’s wedding, said Kathryn Mitchem, who chaired Edgehill’s Administra- tive Council that adopted the policy.

“‘We didn’t feel we were taking something away, more that we were making a public witness to the denomination,’ she said.

“. . . ‘By every standard we know, marriage is a union of a male and a female, made valid in the sight of God by bless- ing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,’ said the Rev. Riley Case, pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Kokomo, Ind.

“Case is a member of the United Methodist Church Good

News, a group that supports traditional scriptural views. 

“‘If your primary loyalty is to the gay and lesbian agenda and not to the scripture or the care of persons who want marriage . . . I would question if they should call themselves Christians,’ he said” (The Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle [No- vember 11, 1997], B4). 

Real Adults Don’t Commit Adultery, Psychiatrist Says

“The Orlando Sentinel — If you’re a married person con- templating a dalliance, don’t tell Dr. Frank Pittman.

“The Atlanta psychiatrist and author of several books — including Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy — has had it up to here with adultery in particular and with Americans’ notions of romantic love in general.

“Pittman enjoys dispelling what he calls the ‘myths of adultery.’

“Among them: ‘The idea that adultery is normal, expect- able behavior, that everybody does it, and that affairs can revive a dull marriage.’

“. . . given his own statistics — that one-half of married men and one-third of married women commit adultery — is there any way to forestall all this dallying?

“‘We’d do well to choose a better class of celebrities as role models,’ Pitmann says. The folks in People magazine, as well as ‘politicians, TV evangelists and other kinds of people who need to be celebrities are just not normal,’ he says.

“In addition, ‘It would be very nice if we saw movies about marriage that were not ridiculing it, or making it seem boring and silly,’ he says. Oh, and ‘stop justifying adultery with romance.’ Stop rationalizing irresponsible, destructive behavior with the idea that ‘if you’re in love, then it’s OK.’

“. . . ‘Children need to see courageous adults holding marriages together whether they’re in love or not” (The Indianapolis Star [November 20, 1997], A1).

Woodward Trial Sparks Criticism of Absentee Child-Rearing 

“Mark Patinkin, Providence Journal Bulletin — The real issue in the Louise Woodward au pair case, says Richard Gelles, isn’t whether the verdict and sentence were justified.

“‘It’s about how American parents raise children. Most,’ he says, ‘don’t: More than ever, adults delegate their most important job.’

“‘A generation,’ he says, ‘is being parented by parents who are not there, and cared for by caretakers who are often children themselves.’

“Gelles, a University of Rhode Island professor often called as an expert in child-abuse trials, has written 21 books on children’s welfare and directs a research program on family violence.

“Part of him, says Gelles, hesitates to question two-career couples who struggle nobly to balance work and family. But as a social scientist, he can’t ignore what his research tells him. 

“‘Having one parent there, present, that’s nature’s plan. That’s what kids need.’ 

“‘I think we’re playing with fire in a society that provides as little parental supervision for children as we do.’ 

“. . . ‘The one thing we know in the child development litera- ture,’ he says, ‘is that kids do best with a primary caretaker who’s truly there for them in every way.’ 

“. . . ‘The people I admire are those who make tough sacrifices for their kids, who say, “I could be a star, but I have something more important to take care of”’”(The Indianapolis Star [November 14, 1997], E1). 

Where The Ethical Line Is Drawn 

“Cal Thomas — The birth of the McCaughey septuplets produced joy and thanksgiving for the couple and their families. It has also produced a debate among medical ethicists, some of whom argue that Bobbi McCaughey should have aborted (euphemistically a ‘fetal reduction’) in order to limit the risk to the babies and reduce the cost to the taxpayers of giving birth to so many children.

“First, a definition. ‘Ethics’ is ‘the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation.’ This implies a standard by which an ethic may be measured. The McCaugheys accepted such a standard when they said that God had a plan for their children, and they never considered killing one or more of them.

“Medical ethicists abandoned such a standard when they endorsed abortion ‘choice.’ That Bobbi McCaughey made a choice favoring life over death isn’t enough for them. They have other concerns.

“Where the ethical line is drawn with indelible or disappear- ing ink, is relevant to what the medical profession will be allowed to do to the rest of us in the future. As medicine costs more, it will be necessary to consider whether life’s value can depreciate, like a car.

“. . . Some ethicists and commentators question the ‘right’ of women to have multiple births, suggesting the government may wish to regulate the practice. This sounds disturbingly like China’s policy of limiting couples to one child, with forced abortion for those who attempt to violate the law. Do we want to go there?

“. . . One category of life cannot be declassified without endangering others. If the unborn can be aborted, individually or ‘selectively,’ then why not kill the newly born and the elderly if they become ‘inconvenient’? If there is no God to govern in the affairs of men, then why shouldn’t government or medical ethicists or public opinion be our god?

“On the eve of the 25th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, we are quickly regressing to a raw, purely arbitrary utilitarian- ism increasingly hostile to the notion that life is sacred and unique among living things” (The Indianapolis Star [November 30, 1997], D2).