How do I defend traditional marriage and the unborn without sounding like the bad guy


I work with a lot of people who are of a very liberal bent and who are not shy about giving their opinions on moral issues like abortion and gay marriage. My coworker is gay and very active in pride parades, etc. A lot of times these issues will come up at lunch time and a lot of times I just freeze, because I can’t think of anything to say that doesn’t make me sound like the bad guy. As far as gay marriage is concerned I can say that this is not in God’s design or plan or that Jesus calls us to take up our cross and follow Him, but then it can be argued that if being gay is not God’s plan then why are people born with same sex attraction? What are they to do? We can ask them to live a life of celibacy but that sounds very restrictive, and I feel like a hypocrite as I am getting married soon and to tell someone who is gay that they need to live a life of celibacy sounds very hypocritical. I am having a hard time thinking of something to offer people who do not agree with the Church’s teaching on sexuality. Abortion is also hard to talk about because of how inflammatory it is. If you have these discussions, how do you approach them? Are these topics I should be avoiding in the workplace altogether?


It is not easy to be a witness to the Christian faith. There is a conflict between desire and moral behavior and also an lack of absolute moral standard which may be replaced with moral relativism. I have noticed that this conflict comes up often in conversations.

1954 Man participates in the wisdom and goodness of the Creator who gives him mastery over his acts and the ability to govern himself with a view to the true and the good. The natural law expresses the original moral sense which enables man to discern by reason the good and the evil, the truth and the lie:
[INDENT]The natural law is written and engraved in the soul of each and every man, because it is human reason ordaining him to do good and forbidding him to sin . . . But this command of human reason would not have the force of law if it were not the voice and interpreter of a higher reason to which our spirit and our freedom must be submitted.5
1963 According to Christian tradition, the Law is holy, spiritual, and good,14 yet still imperfect. Like a tutor15 it shows what must be done, but does not of itself give the strength, the grace of the Spirit, to fulfill it. Because of sin, which it cannot remove, it remains a law of bondage. According to St. Paul, its special function is to denounce and disclose sin, which constitutes a “law of concupiscence” in the human heart.16 However, the Law remains the first stage on the way to the kingdom. It prepares and disposes the chosen people and each Christian for conversion and faith in the Savior God. It provides a teaching which endures for ever, like the Word of God.
[/INDENT]Veritatis Splendor
This obedience is not always easy. As a result of that mysterious original sin, committed at the prompting of Satan, the one who is “a liar and the father of lies” (Jn 8:44), man is constantly tempted to turn his gaze away from the living and true God in order to direct it towards idols (cf. 1 Thes 1:9), exchanging “the truth about God for a lie” (Rom 1:25). Man’s capacity to know the truth is also darkened, and his will to submit to it is weakened. Thus, giving himself over to relativism and scepticism (cf.* Jn* 18:38), he goes off in search of an illusory freedom apart from truth itself.


My experience from being an unbeliever before is that when Catholics tell me ‘their rules’, it’s a big turn off. One hot day I had something skimpy on and they told me that they would never let their daughter out of the house in such a thing. I rolled my eyes and thought it was hot out, what’s the big deal? It just seemed like stupid rules by someone who thought the tooth fairy was real.

What got my attention more was when they were kind when I thought I would have lost my patience long ago. Or when they offered to help when everyone else was too busy. No off color jokes or maybe saying something kind about a person that other people liked to make fun of. Then I could see something different in them. They functioned on a higher plain.

So in the workplace, if a topic about gay rights should come up, I would quietly leave the room. There is a battle to be won but for me, strategy means finding a way to walk along side for a while rather than butting heads. What that accomplishes is that they would never hear anything else I might have to say later on. Think strategy and how to move forward gently, with small steps. My prayers go with you.


What a terrible commentary on our time that to take the position “We shouldn’t be killing babies” is seen by so many as “being the bad guy.” The world turned upside-down.


Ask yourself if the teachings of Jesus are hypocritical. What protestants of all kinds do is separate Jesus from His Church, the Catholic Church. That way they can blame the Church ‘rules’. We as Catholics are complicite in this by always referring to the teachings of Jesus as ‘Church teachings’. When you say the Church’s teaching on sexuality what you really mean is Jesus’s teaching on sexuality.


CompSciGuy, why not fight fire with fire and take the line of… "free speech and tolerance"?

You are no doubt expected to tolerate it when they express their (disagreeable) ideas so why should there be a double-standard which prevents you from saying stuff they dont agree with?
Demand some of that ‘equality’ they are always on about.

If they are as ‘liberal’ and ‘tolerant’ as they claim, then your point of view - whether in the minority or majority - should be entitled to the EXACT SAME freedom of expression as theirs.

Who are THEY to decide that the traditional definition of marriage must change? Who made them the boss of the public square? The world is run by those who show up.

And in a democracy, the highest expression of EQUALITY is at the ballot box where 1 vote equals 1 value. The opinions/votes of those who support traditional marriage are of EQUAL standing.


…and as for the rights of the unborn, I think you will find that the tide is shifting back in our (their) favor.


Ask yourself if the teachings of Jesus are hypocritical. What protestants of all kinds do is separate Jesus from His Church, the Catholic Church. That way they can blame the Church ‘rules’. We as Catholics are complicite in this by always referring to the teachings of Jesus as ‘Church teachings’. When you say the Church’s teaching on sexuality what you really mean is Jesus’s teaching on sexuality.


It really should help to know the Truth is on your side. The other positions are just loaded with excuses and personal selfishness.



There are many ways to try to present your case {the case of the Church} and you can and should strive to be as decent and civil as possible, but in the end, as in most cases, you will probably be demonized anyway.

Unfortunately, it comes with the territory.

Those who seek to undermine the church have the prevailing culture on their side. any strong position is easily attacked as block-headed, holier-than-thou, hypocritical and mean spirited.

Many will call names or ridicule you. Get used to it.



As someone who supports gay marriage on a civil level, the church’s stance on homosexuality was initially one of the things I had a hard time with when I first considered converting. (Honestly, I still am not a huge fan, but it is what it is … )

Anyway, the point that finally stuck in my head as something I could accept as church teaching without feeling like a bigot is this: The church doesn’t ask anything more of gay people than it does of straight single people. It has a very narrowly defined view of marriage that is predicated on procreation, and strict expectations of chastity outside of marriage. Gay couples can not reproduce, therefore their unions can never meet the Catholic definition of marriage, and as unmarried people they are expected to refrain from sex in the same way that all unmarried people are.

The real problem, as I see it, is that conservative society tends to unfairly point the finger at gay couples for “living in sin” to a much greater extent than they do others engaging in premarital sex. Also, for what it’s worth, I’m fine with the idea of gay marriage outside of the Catholic Church, because the church’s rules for marriage are already vastly different from the civil rules for marriage, and our impediments should not be their impediments if they have different beliefs.


Avoid controversial topics at work. The best thing yo can do for your co-workers is to pray for them. Anything you preach to them will fall on deaf ears, and probably turn around to bite you on the butt. Ever hear of ‘pearls before swine’? Not every aspect of your life has to be a crusade.



Can never meet Jesus’s definition of marriage.

I’m fine with the idea of gay marriage outside of the Catholic Church, because the church’s rules for marriage are already vastly different from the civil rules for marriage, and our impediments should not be their impediments if they have different beliefs.

Jesus’s ‘rules’ for marriage.


Yes we must follow Jesus’s example when He told the apostles to go out into the world and…mingle.


I have always strongly oppose same-sex marriage in the Catholic Church and on a personal level for the same reason that the Catholic Church does. The Church’s teaching on sexuality has always made sense to me since before I was ever Catholic or even knew what the Church’s teaching was. However not everyone feels the same way. I can present the cold hard facts and the reasoning behind it but like I said that tends to rub people the wrong way and I often leave feeling like the bad guy. I feel like common sense does tend to keep me on the quieter side in these discussions, especially when it seems clear that I am outnumbered. I try very hard to live my faith through charity and respecting the dignity of others, maybe I should be more obvious about it like PennyInCanada was talking about, where I deliberately stick up for the co-worker who nobody likes, etc.

LionIRC, in my experience fighting fire with fire doesn’t always seem to work out well for me. I have often found that atheists and christians butt heads and get frustrated with each other, the difference between them though is that the christian is bound by an obligation to charity, and the atheists feels no such obligation. In the end, I either end up speaking my mind (in which case I end up having to go to confession) or I end up hesitating and pausing and trying to think of the best and least inflammatory way to word things, which looks to everyone else that I can’t defend my own position and the atheist ends up “winning” the argument.


Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (2003) published this, which you may find interesting:
[size=3][LEFT]When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.[/LEFT]
[LEFT]When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician, recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter* Evangelium vitae*, “could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality”, on condition that his “absolute personal opposition” to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided.(18) This does not mean that a more restrictive law in this area could be considered just or even acceptable; rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment.

[FONT=Times][size=3]The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.[/size][/LEFT]


Well there goes my case for reconciling libertarianism with the Catholic faith…


I hear this all the time but find it utterly without validity.

Those with your positions seem eager to caricature “conservatives” in this way, but my experience is directly opposite of yours. As one of the “conservatives” you disparage, I simply do not know a single person who feels sex outside of marriage is less sinful than homosexual acts.

Homosexual acts however, do have the added degradation of being wholly unnatural. But this is a different thing than being sin or not sin. Sin is sin. Maybe this is why you are confused.

Same thing as adultery. Adultery is sin, period. But bestiality for example and homosexuality are equal in being unnatural acts. Sinful, but unnatural. As far as guilt is concerned, there is no difference between promiscuous hetero- or homo-sexual activity.


As far as abortion goes, being a 25-week premie is generally my go to response, on top of being Catholic. I think I was having a discussion with some of my friends about it once, and I simply and bluntly stated that since I was born a week after essentially the abortion cut-off, and despite needing open-heart surgery as a child ended up as healthy as I am today, supporting the killing of babies a week younger than I was would be arrogantly hypocritical. Then added that I’m Catholic on top of that. Generally if it comes up and I bring up being born at 25 weeks, people at the very least respect and understand my reasoning for being so adamantly against abortion.

I almost always avoid the topic of gay marriage if I can. If anyone directs anything at me, I say well, I’m Catholic, and then explain that for Catholics, marriage is already extremely strict, and that not everyone is called to marriage anyway, so I simply don’t see gay marriage as necessary. I believe marriage is a commitment made for you and your spouse to raise your biological children, not as a confirmation of your relationship together. Likewise, I believe that sex is intended solely for a husband and wife, as the most obvious result is a child, which a husband and wife are already committed to raise together. Usually I’ll clarify by talking about how it would be just as sinful for me if I were to have sex with my girlfriend as it would be if I had sex with a guy. When the stipulations are provided that marriage is a requirement for morally correct sex, and that capacity for genetic reproduction is a requirement for morally correct sex, and that everything outside of those criteria is immoral, it’s at least hard to argue with your reasoning, if nothing else. They may disagree, but at least the argument is internally consistent.

Also, if you have to be involved in the conversation, it’s best to ensure that you aren’t coming across as though you are right and they are wrong. It’s best to just inform people, be it of your opinion and why or Catholic teaching and why. They don’t have to agree with you, but it’s not you trying to convince them of something, you’re just providing information.


Unfortunately I don’t think this can be done. I’m reminded what our Lord told us about “the world” in John 15:18-25. If they wont listen to him…they certainly wont listen to you and you will be labelled either a misogynist or a homophobe. I fear they are too invested in this world and not the next. Pray for them.

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