Five Reasons Drone Assassinations are Illegal

Dear Folks,

Below is an article, “Five Reasons Drone Assassinations are Illegal,” that
recently appeared in the Pax Christi USA website.

“I think the difference between me and some people is that I’m content to do
my little bit.  Sometimes people think they have to do big things in order to make change.  But if each one would light a candle, we’d have a tremendous light.”
–Sr. Thea Bowman

Peace and good will,
Deacon Jim

Five Reasons Drone Assassinations are Illegal

By Bill Quigley, Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace


U.S. civilian and military employees regularly target and fire lethal unmanned drone-guided missiles  at people across the world.  Some of those killed were rescuers and mourners.  These killings would be criminal acts if they occurred inside the U.S.  Does it make legal sense that these killings would be legal outside the U.S.?

The U.S. has used drones to kill thousands of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.  But the government routinely refuses to provide any official information on local reports of civilian deaths or of the identities of most of those killed.  In Pakistan alone, the New America Foundation reports U.S. forces have launched 297 drone strikes killing at least 1800 people, 3-400 of whom were not even combatants.  Other investigative  journalists report four to eight hundred civilians killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan.

Very few of the drone strikes kill high level leaders of terror groups.  A recent article in FOREIGN AFFAIRS estimated “only one out of every seven drone attacks in Pakistan kills a militant leader.  The majority of those kills in such strikes are not important insurgent commanders but rather low level fighters, together with a small number of civilians.”  An investigation by the Wall Street Journal in November 2011 revealed that most of the time the U.S. did not even know the identities of the people being killed by drones in Pakistan.  The WSJ reported there are two types of drone strikes.  Personality strikes target known terrorist leaders.  Signature strikes target groups of men believed to be militants but are people whose identities are not known.  Most of the drone strikes are signature strikes. …

Civilian deaths in drone strikes are reported, but more chilling is the practice of firing a second set of drone strikes at the scene once people have come to find out what happened or to give aid.  Glen Greenwald of Salon, a leading critic of the increasing use of drones, recently pointed out that drones routinely kill civilians who are in the vicinity of people thought to be “militants” and are thus
“incidental” killings.  But the U.S. also frequently fires drones again at people who show up at the scene of an attack, thus deliberately targeting rescuers and mourners.

Here are five reasons why these drone assassinations are illegal.

            One.  Assassination by the U.S. government has been illegal since  1976.  Drone killings are acts of premeditated murder.  Premeditated murder is a crime in all fifty states and under federal criminal law.  These murders are also the textbook definition of assassination, which is murder by sudden or secret attack for political reasons.  In 1976 U.S. President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order 11905, Section 5(g), which states, “No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or, conspire to engage in, political assassination.”  President Reagan followed up to make the ban clearer in Executive Order 12333.  Section 2.11 of that Order states, “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.”  Section 2.12 further includes “indirect participation.” …This ban still stands.

The reason for the ban on assassinations was the CIA was involved in attempts to assassinate national leaders opposed by the U.S.  Among others, U.S. forces sought to kill Fidel Castro of Cuba, Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, and Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam.

Two.  United Nations report directly questions the legality of U.S. drone killings.  The UN (did so) in a May 2010 report by NYU law professor Philip Alston.  Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, said drone killings may be lawful in the context of authorized armed conflict (e.g., Afghanistan where the U.S. sought and received international approval to invade and wage war on another country).  However, the use of drones “far from the battle zone” is highly questionable legally.  “Outside the context of armed conflict, the use of drones for targeted killing is almost never likely to be legal.”  Can drone killings be justified as anticipatory self-defense?  “Applying such a scenario to targeted killings threatens to eviscerate the human rights law prohibition against arbitrary deprivation of life.”  Likewise, countries which engage in such killings must provide transparency and accountability, which no country has done.  “The refusal by States who conduct targeted killings to provide transparency about their policies violates the international law framework that limits the unlawful use of lethal force against individuals.”

Three.  International law experts condemn U.S. drone killings.  Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international affairs and politics at Princeton University thinks the widespread killing of civilians in drone strikes may well constitute war crimes.  “There are two fundamental concerns.  One is embarking on this sort of automated warfare in ways that further dehumanize the process of armed conflict in ways that I think have disturbing implications for the future,” Falk said.  “Related to that are the concerns I’ve had recently with my preoccupation with the occupation of Gaza of a one-sided warfare where the high-tech side decides how to inflict pain and suffering on the other side that is, essentially, helpless.”

Human rights groups in Pakistan challenge the legality of U.S. drone strikes there and assert that Pakistan can prosecute military and civilians involved for murder.  While stopping short of direct condemnation, international law expert Notre Dame Professor Mary Ellen O’Connell seriously questions the legality of drone attacks in Pakistan.  In  powerful testimony before Congress and in an article in America magazine, she points out that under the charter of the United Nations, international law authorizes nations to kill people in other countries only in self-defense to an armed attack, if authorized by the UN, or if assisting another country in their lawful use of force.  Outside of war, she writes, the full body of human rights applies,   including the prohibition on killing without warning.  Because the U.S. is not at war with Pakistan, using the justification of war to authorize the killings is “to violate fundamental human rights principles.”

Four.  Military law of war does not authorize widespread drone killing of civilians.  According t the current U.S.. Military Law of War Deskbook, the Law of war allows killing only when consistent with four key principles: military necessity, distinction, proportionality, and humanity.  These principles preclude both direct targeting of civilians and medical personnel but also set out how much “incidental” loss fo human life is allowed.  Some argue precision-guided weapons llike drones can be used only when there is no probable cause of civilian deaths.  But the U.S. military disputes that burden and instead directs “all practicable precautions” be taken to weight the anticipated loss of civilian life against the advantages expected to be gained by the strike.  Even using the more lenient standard, there is little legal justification of deliberately allowing the killing of civilians who are “incidental” to the killing of people whose identities are unknown.

Five.  Retired high-ranking military and CIA veterans challenge the legality and efficacy of drone killings.  Retired U.S. Army Colonel Ann Wright squarely denies the legality of drone warfare, telling Democracy Now: “These drones, you might as well just call them assassination machines.  That is what these drones are used for: targeted assassination, extrajudicial ultimate death of people who have not been convicted of anything.”

Drone strikes are also counterproductive.  Robert Grenier, recently retired Director of the CIA Counter-Terrorism Center, wrote, “One wonders how may Yemenis may be moved in the future to violent extremism in reaction to carelessly targeted missile strikes, and how many Yemeni militants with strictly local agenda will become dedicated enemies of the West in response to U.S. military action against them.

Recent polls of the Pakistan people show high levels of anger in Pakistan at U.S. military attacks there.  This anger in turn leads to high support for suicide attacks against U.S. military targets

Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer who teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans and works with the Center for Constitutional Rights.  He is a Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace.  A longer version of this article is available on the PCUSA website (


A Shining Star: St Teresa of Avila

Dear Folks,

Celebrating the 450th anniversary of the Carmel Reform movement,
Pope Benedict recently reflected on the spirituality of Teresa of Avila.

Peace and good will,
Deacon Jim


A Shining Star:

St Teresa of Avila


The following is a reflection that Pope Benedict XVI sent to  Bishop Jesus Garcia Burillo of Avila, Spain on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the Monastery of San Jose in Avila and the beginning of the reform of Carmel by St Teresa of Jesus.  It was dated 16 July 2012.


To my Venerable Brother Bishop Jesus Garcia Burillo of Avila,

1.  Resplendens stella: “a star shining in great splendour” (Libro de la Vida 32,11).  With these words the Lord encouraged St Teresa of Jesus to found the Monastery of San Jose in Avila.  This was the beginning of the Reform of Carmel which will be celebrating its 450 anniversary next 24 August.  On this happy occasion I would like to join the rejoicing of the beloved Diocese of Avila, of the Order of Discalced Carmelites and of the People of God on pilgrimage in Spain, as well as of all those in the universal Church who have found in Teresian spirituality a sure light for men and women to attain a true renewal of their life through Christ.  In love with the Lord, this illustrious woman did not want anything other than to please him in all things.  Indeed, it is not those who do great things based on the excellence of their human qualities who are holy, on the contrary, holy people are those who humbly let Christ penetrate their soul and act through them, who truly allow him to play th lead in all their actions ad aspirations, inspiring every project and sustaining every silence (emphasis added).

2. Only those who have an intense prayer life are able to let Christ lead them in this manner (emphasis added).  The Saint of Avila says that a life of prayer consists in “being on terms of friendship with God, frequently conversing in secret with him who, we know, loves us” (Libro de la Vida 8, 5; emphasis added). The reform of Carmel whose anniversary fills us with inner joy was born from prayer and is inclines to prayer.  By distancing herself from the Mitigated Rule in order to further a radical return to the primitive Rule, St Teresa of Jesus wished to encourage a form of life that would favour the personal encounter with the Lord, for which “we have only to find a place where we can be alone and look upon him present within us.  Nor need we feel strange in the presence of so kind a Guest (Camino de perfeccion, 28,2).  The Monastery of San Jose came into being precisely in order that all its daughters might have the best possible conditions for speaking to god and establishing a profound and intimate relationship with him.

3. St Teresa proposed a new way of being a Carmelite in a world that was also new.  The “times were dangerous” (Libro de la Vida, 33, 5) and in these times, as this spiritual teacher said, “the friends of God should be strong, in order that they may support the weak” (ibid., 15, 5; emphasis added).  And she eloquently insists: “the world is on fire.  Men try to condemn Christ once again, as it were, for they bring a thousand false witnesses against him.  The would raze his Church to the ground…No, my sisters, this is no time to treat with God for things of little importance (Camino de perfeccion, 1,5).  Does not this most luminous and challenging reflection made by the holy mystic more than four centuries ago seem familiar to us in the situation in which we are living?

The ultimate aim of the Teresian Reform and of the creation of new monasteries in the midst of a world devoid of spiritual  values was to strengthen apostolic work with prayer; and to propose an evangelical lifestyle that might serve as a model to those in quest of a way of perfection, based on the conviction that every authentic personal and ecclesial reform passes through the reproducing, ever more faithfully, the “form” of Christ (cf. Gal 4:19) within us.  The Saint and her daughters strove to do exactly this and this was the exact commitment of her Carmelite sons who endeavoured solely to “advance in virtue” (Libro de la vida, 31, 18).  In this regard Teresa writes: “He (Our Lord) prizes one soul which of his mercy we have gained for him by our prayer and labour more than all the service we may render him” (Libro de las  Fundaciones, 1, 7).  In the face of forgetfulness of God the Holy Doctor encourages prayerful communities that protect their fervour those who proclaim Christ’s name everywhere, so that they may pray for the Church’s needs and bring the cry of all the peoples to the Saviour’s heart.

4. Today, too, as in the 16th century and also among rapid changes, trusting prayer must be the soul of the apostolate so that the redemptive message of Jesus Christ rings out with deep clarity and vigorous dynamism.  It is urgently necessary that the Word of life be harmoniously vibrant in souls with resonant and attractive tones.

Teresa of Avila’s example is a great help to us in this exciting task.  We can say that in her time the Saint evangelized without mincing her words, with unfailing ardour, with methods foreign to inertia and with expressions haloed with light.  Her example keeps all its freshness at the crossroads of our time.  It is here that we feel the urgent need for the baptized to renew their hearts through personal prayer which, in accordance with the dictates of the Mystic of Avila, is also centered on contemplation    of the Most Holy Humanity of Christ as the only way onwhich to   find God’s glory (cf. Libro de la Vida, 6, 7).  Thus they will be able to form authentic families which discover in the Gospel the fire of their hearths; lively and united Christian communities cemented on Christ as their corner-stone and which thirst after a life of generous and brotherly service.  It should also be hoped that  ceaseless prayer will foster priority attention to the vocations ministry, emphasizing in particular the beauty of the consecrated  life which, as a treasure of the Church and an outpouring of graces, must be duly accompanied in both its active and contemplative dimensions.

The power of Christ will likewise lead to the multiplication   of projects to enable the People of God to recover its strength in the only possible way: by making room within us for the  sentiments of the Lord Jesus (cf. Phil 2:5), seeking in every  circumstance a radical experience of his Gospel.  This means, first of all, allowing the Holy Spirit to make us friends of the Teacher and to conform us to him.  It also means accepting his mandates in all things and adopting such criteria as humility in behavior, the renunciation of the superfluous and giving no offence to others or proceeding with simplicity and a docile heart.  Those who    surround s will thus perceive the joy that is born from our adherence to the Lord and see that we put nothing before his love, being ever ready to account for our hope (cf. 1 Pet 3;15) and like Teresa of Jesus, living in filial obedience to our Holy Mother, the Church.

5.  Today, this most illustrious daughter of the Diocese of Avila  invites us to this radicalism and faithfulness.  Accepting her beautiful legacy at this moment in history, the Pope asks all the members of this particular Church, and especially youth, to take seriously the common voction to holiness.  Following in the footsteps of Teresa of Jesus allow me to say to all who have  their future before them: may you too, aspire to belong totally to Jesus.  Do not be afraid to say to Our Lord, s she did,  “I am yours; I was born for you, what do you want to do with me?” (Poems 2; emphasis added).  And I ask him to obtain that you may also be able to respond to his call, illuminated by divine grace with “determined resolve” in order to offer “that little” which is in you, trusting in the fact that God never abandons those who leave everything for his glory (cf. Camino di perfeccion 21, 2; 1, 2).

6.  St Teresa knew how to honour with deep devotion the Most Holy Virgin, whom she invoked with the sweet name of Carmel.  I place under her motherly protection the apostolic aspiration of the Church of Avila so that rejuvenated by the Holy Spirit she may find appropriate ways for proclaiming the Gospel with enthusiasm and courage.  May Mary, Star of Evangelization, and her chaste spouse, St Joseph intercede so that the Church, this “star” which the Lord set alight in the universe with the Teresian Reform, may continue to shine with the great splendour of the   love and truth of Christ for all humankind.  With this wish, Venerable Brother in the Episcopate, I send you this message.  I ask you to make it known to the flock entrusted to your pastoral care and, especially, to the beloved Discalced Carmelites of the Convent of San Jose in Avila so that they mayperpetuate in time the spirit of their Foundress.  I am ever grateful to them for their  fervent prayers  for the Successor of Peter.  To them, to you and to  all the faithful of Avila I impart the Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of abundant heavenly favours.

From the Vatican, 16 July 2012

Benedict XVI (published in L’Osservatore Romano; 18 July 2012, #29)

“Gay Marriage” Is Not Marriage. Here’s Why. By Monica Migliorino Miller

Dear Folks,

Below is a reflection, “‘Gay Marriage’ is Not Marriage.  Here’s Why”, that
originally appeared in the “New Oxford Review.”

The author, Monica Migliorino Miller, concludes here thoughtful and extensive
piece by noting, “We must speak the truth in love, recognizing that homosexual
persons have God-given dignity and basic human rights that must never be denied.
But they simply do not have the right to marry…” 

During this profound cultural shift we are experiencing, a cogent treatment of the
topic is welcome.

Peace and good will,
Deacon Jim


“Gay Marriage” Is Not Marriage.

Here’s Why.

Monica Migliorino Miller


            On May 9, 2012, President Barack Obama sat before Robin Roberts on ABC’s Good Morning America and announced that he is in favor of giving homosexuals the legal right to marry once another.  “I’ve been going through an evolution on this issue,” the President explained in this nationally televised interview.  He told Roberts that he initially hesitated to support gay marriage: “I thought civil unions would be sufficient…that it would give people hospital visitation rights and other elements we take for granted.  And I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word ‘marriage’ was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth.”  He ended by saying, “At a certain point I’ve just concludes that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

Obama’s statement came only three days after Vice President Joe Biden revealed on Meet the Press  that he was “absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all of the civil rights, all the civil liberties.  And, quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.”  Biden, who identifies himself as a Catholic, is also “absolutely comfortable” with the legalized killing of the unborn.  Thus, no one should be too shocked that he would also have a distorted view of marriage.

Many political commentators believe that it was Biden’s disclosure that made it imperative that Obama follow suit.  According to he online magazine Politico, for example, “Biden’s statement of personal support for same-sex marriage….did indeed force the hand of the administration to let the cat out of the bag early.  The Obama administration initially tried to tamp down Biden’s remarks, but the distancing angered gay rights activist groups that are a key constituency for the Democratic party.  Thus, Obama went ahead and pulled the trigger on his epiphany.”

Obama placed his support for gay marriage within the context of a personal evolution.  This evolution, however, has taken an odd path, with twists, turns, and retracing of steps, such that one could easily conclude that Obama ahs always believed that he law should sanction gay marriage., but that he held his tongue when it was politically expedient to do so.  He was pro-gay marriage back in 1996 when he ran for the Illinois State Senate, but he claimed to be against it during his 2008 bid for  the presidency.  Apparently, Obama’s views on gay marriage, up until now, depended on what political office he hoped to secure.  We can safely conclude, therefore, that his thinking has not undergone any real evolution, that his 1996 and 2012 views have been his real views all along.

It is one thing to believe something privately, but quite another to make one’s views known to an entire nation.  In this case, Obama’s support for gay marriage carries enormous moral and social weight, and such advocacy will serve to further the gay-rights movement’s mission to legally redefine the meaning of marriage.  Newsweek, for example, celebrated the moment by featuring on the cover of its May 21 issue an image of Obama crowned by a rainbow halo, with the caption, “The First Gay President.”  The cover story, written by gay pundit Andrew Sullivan, is titled “The President of the United States Shifted the Mainstream in One Interview.”

Imagine if President Jimmy Carter had sat down with a reporter in 1976 and declared his support for the right to life of the unborn—and his opposition to the then only three-year old Roe v. Wade decision.  We would be dealing with a vastly different Democratic Party today.  Instead, his successor has solidified their party’s embrace of moral and social chaos.

By legally recognizing homosexual couplings as marital bonds, we as a society would ultimately be saying that gender, human sexuality, being a husband or a wife, a mother or a father, have no objective moral meaning.  We would be saying that the family itself has no objective moral meaning.  The moral law rooted in nature would be, for us, completely dissolved.  There would no longer be any natural familial bonds and thus no longer any natural moral ties or innate moral responsibilities arising form the very nature of the family (emphasis added).

If the bond between two men or two women can be considered the equivalent of the one-flesh marital unity between a man and woman, a bond that gives  rise to children and the family, then we are saying that all human ties are strictly a matter of the will: Only when persons choose to be connected to one another—by emotional, legal, or artificial contrivance—are they then connected.  If the fundamental building block of society—namely, the family—is essentially a matter of choice, those choices can also be undone  by mere personal volition.  The family is simply a fragile arrangement of the will, and no on is in essence a mother, a father, a husband, or a wife.  Indeed, being a husband or wife, mother or father, is nominal, not real.  The family is no longer a unit cemented by innate natural bonds that cause persons to  be mother and child, brother and sister—essential identities imbedded in nature itself that produce inherent responsibilities to which persons who have such identities must be held accountable.

Nothing here should be interpreted to mean that infertile couples who adopt children are not parents.  Their heterosexual marital unity, unlike homosexual pairings, participates in the truth of marriage and is a public sign of that truth.  Married couples who, due to some pathology, are incapable of procreating children, are nonetheless still capable of honoring the life-giving meaning  of their sexual intimacy.  Their bonds still contribute to the public support of the cultural, social, and moral meaning of marriage.  Their sexual unity is orientated toward life and the family in a way that gay sexual activity can never be.

It is simply a lie that homosexual acts are equivalent to sexual activity between a wedded man and a woman.  Any attempt to equate them is an insult to the very meaning of marriage and the family.  Gay sex is self-enclosed, sterile, and a societal dead end.  Since a family cannot arise from such sex, the government does not have a compelling interest in protecting those bonds.

Why must the law protect marriage—meaning, of course, the lifelong bond between a man and a woman, upon which the family is built?  Sex between a married man and woman is categorically different from gay sex.  It is sex that confirms the meaning of masculinity and femininity; it is sex that confers responsibilities that rise from the commitment of husbands and wives, especially when, from such sexual acts, new human beings are conceived.  Society—indeed, the entire future of the world—depends on these kinds of stable sexual unions, which provide the necessary innate security for children.  For this reason alone, the government has an interest in protecting marriage.

If someone needs a cogent argument as to why theh government must make a distinction between homosexual bonds and marriage, it is this: When a man and a woman commit themselves to life long unity of their persons, their unity leads to the begetting of children.  The state has an interest in recognizing and protecting the unity of spouses and the natural blood relationships that are created by marital sexual activity.  We need to take very seriously the importance of blood ties in the building of society and culture.  Societies depend on these innate blood ties for moral order and structure—beginning with the bond between a man and a woman that creates the natural bonds of blood within the family itself.   There is simply no substitution for this kind of cultural/societal building block.  The state must support and protect marriage because it creates the dynamic of the family unit, the unit that gives society to most sure, built-in, stable set of human identities and responsibilities.

Society is not the consequence of arbitrary self-willed human relationships.  Yes, engaged couples do “choose” each other, but they do not “decide for themselves” what it is they are about to enter.  The meaning of marriage precedes them.  As stated above, marriage, as it relates to the building of the family, not only produces identities and responsibilities within the “limited” nuclear family, but it gives rise to future marriages that produce cousins, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, grandfathers, grandmothers, great-grandfathers and mothers, as well as great-uncles and aunts, and so on.  Laws do not create these worlds—worlds that of themselves cause human identities and human responsibilities.  Absolutely nothing can replace such natural world-building!  The law cannot create the moral responsibilities that come from such bonds—it can only call persons to live up to them.  For these reasons, government has an interest in protecting marriage.

            How did we come to the point that homosexual bonds should be considered the equivalent of marriage?  Truth be told, it is the heterosexual community that is to blame,  not homosexuals.  Heterosexuals  have given up on the meaning of human sexuality  Heterosexuals are the ones who no longer believe in marriage (emphasis added).   We have said so with fifty years of contraception, routine sexual activity outside of marriage, living together without marriage, rampant divorce (including no-fault divorce), epidemic out-of-wedlock pregnancy rates, artificial reproduction—and, on top of all this, forty years of legalized abortion.  Heterosexuals have already said that sex, marriage, and the family have no meaning.  These have become what we subjectively, privately, by a sheer matter of the will, say they are, and nothing more.  We simply have no moral, cultural ground on which to stand and say that homosexuals can’t call what they do “marriage.”  After all, most heterosexual sex isn’t marriage either.  It too is dead-end sex that cannot carry the world into the future (emphasis added). We would do well to consider the words of the late British philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe who, way back in 1972, already saw where sex made deliberately sterile would lead:

If you can turn intercourse into something other than the repro-

ductive type of act, then why, if you can change it, should it be

restricted to the married?  Restricted, that is, to partners bound

in a formal, legal, union whose fundamental purpose is the bring-

ing up of children?  For if that is not its fundamental purpose

there is no reason why for example “marriage” should have to be

between people of opposite sexes.  But then, of course, it becomes

unclear why you should have a ceremony, why you should have a

formality at all.  And so we must grant that children are in this

general way the main point of the existence of such an arrange-

ment.  But if sexual union can be deliberately and totally divorced

from fertility, then we may wonder why sexual union has got to be

married union.  If the expression of love between the partners is

the point, then it shouldn’t be so narrowly confined

(Contraception and Chastity).


What, then, is the answer?  If we really want to fight a battle against “gay marriage,” the heterosexual community needs to get its act together.  We can’t carry on the way we have—we cannot privatize our sexual ethical behavior and then claim that the government needs to protect publicly what is left of the institution of marriage, which we’ve virtually demolished.  The needed healing of our sexual ethic is primarily the work of the Church—a Church that greatly contributed to the moral degeneration of the culture by remaining silent on contraception and by allowing Catholic politicians to support legalized abortion with impunity (emphasis added).Is it any wonder that the likes of Nancy Pelosi, another self-proclaimed Catholic who supports legalized killing of the unborn, lauds Obama’s support of gay marriage, both of which are contrary to the teachings of the Church,  and, who, like Obama, has the audacity to say that this is the Christian thing to do.

In some ways, this is the most odious and insulting aspect of the entire Obama “gay marriage” debacle.  Obama justified his position that gay marriage should be legally recognized by wrapping it in the mantle of the Christian religion (emphasis added).  He said that the so-called evolution of his thinking on the subject was the consequence of his Christian faith.  As he said on Good Morning America, “It’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.”  So, with such deep critical thinking, how can we deny homosexuals access to a right that heterosexuals enjoy?  It just doesn’t seem fair.

Unfortunately, Obama failed to quote Christ’s own doctrine on marriage: “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and declared: ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become one.’ Thus they are no longer two, but one flesh.  ‘Therefore, let no man separate what God as joined”  (Mt 19:4-6).

If the President is going to credit Christianity in an attempt to dismantle the God-given meaning of marriage, it would be truly fair and honest of him to acknowledge Christ’s specific view on the subject.  But for Obama, the Golden Rule is the real doctrine and Christ’s view on marriage merely an opinion that may be set aside.

If society seriously accepted Obama’s invocation of the Golden Rule, then we would have to advocate all sorts of irrationalities.  Saying that gays have the right to marry would require an end to all rational distinctions.  For example, we would have to believe that not only those who excel at running the 100 meters but even poor runners have just as much right to compete in the Olympics, since all that matters is that the poor runners love the sport and wish to participate in it as much as the good runners.  We would likewise have to say that those who are tone deaf should be allowed to sing at major concert halls, since such persons may actually love and have an appreciation for music, perhaps even more than those who have the ability to sing well. Obama’s Golden Rule has nothing to do with love and acceptance; rather, it’s a means by which to distort the truth.  Obama’s gospel is not the wisdom of Christ but an invitation to insanity.

            We are in a war for the truth.  This is not the time to be afraid to speak out on behalf of the truth.  But we must speak the truth in love, recognizing that homosexual have God-given dignity and basic human rights that must never be denied.  But they simply do not have the right to marry—nor do they have the rights to the privileges of marriage. Those who publicly defend marriage are going to be misunderstood, called names, mocked, belittled, and derided.  Nonetheless, those who understand what is at stake cannot hold back.  The truth must be defended and marriage fought for.  Civilization itself depends upon this sacred institution

(emphasis added).

Monica Migliorino Miller is Associate Professor of Theology at Madonna University in Michigan, founded of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, and author of Sexuality and Authority in the Catholic Church and Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars, to be published soon by St. Benedict Press.

This article originally appeared in the New Oxford Review (1069 Kains Ave., Berkeley, CA 94706-2260).