Johns Hopkins Becomes Latest Battleground On Same-Sex Marriage

There’s controversy brewing at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University over remarks made by designated commencement speaker Dr. Ben Carson. Already a noted critic of the Obama Administration, Carson has compared same-sex marriage to bestiality and pedophilia, and his status as commencement speaker is now in doubt.

Carson has sort-of apologized for his remarks. The pseudo-apology was admirable on two counts—he acknowledged that his wording was poorly chosen, but made no backtracking on the fundamental principle itself.

I would agree that the wording was poorly chosen, and not just for PR-related reasons. There’s no automatic linkage of same-sex marriage to pedophilia and other aberrant practices. The path from Barney Frank to Jerry Sandusky is not inevitable. At least it doesn’t have to be. In a recent post on the redefining of marriage, I said that when same-sex marriage supporters say that don’t want this practice extended further, I’m inclined to believe them.

But in that same post, I added another question, which is relevant again here in the Johns Hopkins case, and it’s this—on what basis do you stop the redefinition of marriage as just being between two people, regardless of gender? The entire crux of the same-sex marriage push has been that these are people in love, and it’s hateful  and intolerant to draw a line at them marrying.

Well then, why is not hateful and intolerant to stop a man from being with a 16-year-old if they’re both “in love”? Why is not hateful and intolerant to stop someone from having four or five wives if everybody’s in love? In short, what is your basis for drawing the line? Or do you believe there is no line? If same-sex marriage supporters believe there is a line, let’s hear it. Or if they believe that all boundaries are hateful and intolerant, let’s hear that.

If there is no line, then the downward path into all kinds of sexual aberrations that I think most same-sex marriage supporters would be horrified by, becomes all too realistic.

In my earlier post, I laid out the case for the line being at a man and a woman, one I believe stands up on non-religious grounds. I won’t reiterate it all here. I will point out that this breaking of boundaries did not start with the same-sex marriage movement. Monsignor Charles Pope, in a thoughtful article, says that the roots of the current crisis were planted long ago, when pleasure started to become the exclusive basis for heterosexual relationships.

Once “being happy” and “being in love” become the accepted norm between a man and a woman, what basis was there to stop the same from being extended to those who experience attraction to those of the same gender? There was none, and to borrow Msgr. Pope’s words, we are now “reaping the whirlwind” of what was sowed long ago. I suspect there are very among us who can claim innocence in this regard.

But in acknowledging that the current climate was prepared for long ago, going back at least to the late 1960s and arguably before, we can find hope. The cultural victories of 2040 and 2050 will be won by laying the groundwork today and regardless of how this plays out in the short-term, that’s where the focus needs to be.



  • Ginny

    He tries to skirt around the issue by not commenting on the fact that his very argument undermines the Marks of the Church, in particular the “holy” aspect. While the Church defines holiness as communion with God, self, others, and nature, his very position opposes this due to the marginalization and broken relationships between the Church and those seeking same-sex marriage. The Church cannot fulfill holiness while it maintains these broken relationships; Jesus’ very mission (by extension, the Church’s mission) would directly oppose his argument.

  • Seanzie

    This article seems to deny the characteristic of the church being ONE. THe church likes to seems like they are a community and yet they do not seem to support same sex marriage.

  • Colleen

    The four marks of the church state that we are one holy, Catholic, and apostilic church. This article denies this notion because it discusses how same-sex marriage is rejected which prohibits the Church from affirming the idea of being “one.”

    • Joe M

      Colleen. The Catholic Church is based centrally on the Bible. The Bible is pretty clear that same-sex relationships (let alone marriage) should not be accepted.

  • Magic Man

    I feel that this is an important issue to handle in the Church, because so many people feel strongly about Gay Marriage. In my opinion, Dr. Carlson was out of place to say what he did, however it is not permitted in the Catholic Church. The church should implement Catholic Social Teaching to show some love towards those who are gay, but I am not in favor of gay marriage.

  • Nate Amer

    How could anyone compare any form of love to pedophilia or beastiality? how can we be the ones to judge what is right and wrong. The Church preaches love and understanding. The Churches mission is to be like Christ in every time and every place, so how can we fullfil that mission if we do not extend our hand out to those who are considered outcasts and the margalinzied?

    • Joe M

      Maybe I’m not reading the correct statement. But, from what I’ve read, it doesn’t look like Dr. Carson did compare those things to each other.

      He was listing examples of groups that all want to change marriage laws.

      Is that not true? Do the groups that he lists all not want to change marriage laws?

  • Patrick

    The real question is why do you refuse to make a concise argument against civil gay marriage without changing the subject to red herrings like child brides and polygamy?

    Such obfuscation doesn’t deserve an answer, but here it is anyway: (1) We dont allow child brides in this country because in its essence a marriage is a contract and we conclude that children are unable to understand what they’re getting into when they sign a contract. (2) We dont allow polygamy in this country because we’ve seen it operate eslewhere and we conclude that it is unamerican as it ALWAYS bears the stench of coercion, abuse and misogyny.

    Come on, Dan, you already knew both (1) and (2) above.

    So why write an article that serves only to mislead and detract from the actual issue?

    • Joe M


      You haven’t escaped the logical problem that some people don’t agree with your answers.

      The gay marriage movement is arguing that the opinions resulting in Prop 8 don’t count. So, why wouldn’t polygamists be able to argue exactly the same thing? That your opinion about what is unamerican is not enough to not include them in the definition of marriage?

      And couldn’t someone else also say that they think gay marriage is unamerican? Historically speaking, isn’t that basically true?

      • Dan Flaherty

        @Joe M–Joe, from this and your other comments, I think you understand even better than I do, what I was trying to say. Thanks as always, for your helpful remarks.

        • Joe M

          Dan. Thank you for saying. I enjoy yours and other articles here at CV and often can’t resist adding my 10 cents to the comments. :)

        • Patrick

          J, M, and Holy Saint J! The point is that reasonable restrictions on marriage are constitutionally appropriate. Unreasonable restrictions are not. Laws against child brides and multiple wives are reasonable restrictions on marriage. Laws preventing Jim and Larry from having a civil marraige license serve no state interest.



Receive our updates via email.