Two Quick Things for Sunday, September 21

1. Silliness from the Catholic Right

I don’t visit much these days, but I stopped by last week and, oh, man, do I have some silliness to report back. Joshua Bowman has a list of “Five Ways Gay Marriage Affects You—Even if You’re Not Gay or Married.”

All five “ways” on the list are pretty bad, but the first one takes the cake. Bowman says gay marriage threatens your freedom of worship, and he cites as precedents what’s happened to the state churches of England and Denmark:

In 2012, the legislature of Denmark passed a law requiring churches in that country to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. Last year, a gay couple in Britain announced they were suing the Church of England even though the recently passed law there was drafted with strong religious freedom protections. If they win their legal battle, England will join Denmark in requiring state-sponsored churches to endorse same-sex marriage.

Ooh. That sounds scary!

What’s that you say? England and Denmark are in a fundamentally different situation than the US, because they have established state churches? Well, don’t be so quick to dismiss the danger. I have it on good authority the Queen of the USA is considering forcing our state church to perform gay marriages, too. She’ll get to it right after she’s done taxing Santa Claus and putting a speed limit on the Easter Bunny.

2. Leonard Cohen’s “Almost Like the Blues”

A couple of months ago, I compared the knowledge of faith to the experience of “understanding” we get when listening to a blues song:

The Creeds don’t “answer” the questions of faith the way a mathematics teacher demonstrates arithmetic. They “answer” them the way the return to the tonic in a blues progression answers the tensions raised by the sub-dominant and the dominant chords.

And we don’t assent to them the way we assent to our mathematics teacher after she shows us how to count on our fingers. We assent to them the way our heads start nodding to a blues song. When you say “Amen,” it is, or should be, the way you answer Freddie King when he says, “Let me hear you say yeah.”

It’s not 1 + 1 = 2. It’s I-IV-V-I.

I’m not the first person to make that comparison, by any stretch of the imagination, but it was cool to hear, via David Zahl at, these lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s new album:

There is no G-d in heaven
And there is no Hell below
So says the great professor
Of all there is to know
But I’ve had the invitation
That a sinner can’t refuse
And it’s almost like salvation
It’s almost like the blues

Have a good week, everybody! Posts on Robert Reilly’s Making Gay Okay and Anthony Esolen’s Defending Marriage are coming soon.

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