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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
December 5, 1997     The Message
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December 5, 1997
 

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of southwestern Indiana Lighting the way home By PAUL R. LEINGANG Editor It was illegal, I am sure. It was stupid, too, what I did then. It was just the kind of thing a young per- son hopes parents never find out. I was driving home, alone, on Sunday night. Well over half of my 60-mile journey was complet- ed. It was a clear night, and there was little traffic on the two-lane road through southeast Missouri. Facing a busy six-day week that would start in the morning, I was eager to reach my home. Suddenly, without warning, the road ahead seemed to disappear into darkness. The headlights on my car had gone off. I had no bright lights. No low beamS. No lights at all. Afterslowing the car, and discovering that there was no traffic in sight, in front of me or behind me, I discovered that I could see just enough to find a wide shoulder area to pull safely off the road. I searched for a blown-out fuse, but every fuse seemed good. I stepped out, opened the hood, and searched for loose wires or a broken connection, and found nothing. There were no obvi6us problems, but more obviously yet, there were no lights. I stood alongside of my car and scanned the area where I was stranded. Ahead, a mile or so away, I could see a lighted building, perhaps a business of some kind. Occasionally a car came past me, but no one was willing to stop to help. So in a kind of desperation, I decided to take my chances and to drive toward the lights ahead, hoping to find there someone who could help. I eased back onto the highway, and then pulled off a fewseconds later as the headlights of another car approached. Back, safely on the shoulder, I wait- ed for the car to pass, and then I moved ahead again. Finally, I arrived at the lighted building. I got out of my car only to find it to be a store that was closed. But the store was at an intersection, and a pickup truck was approaching. In that clear, well-lighted parking area, the dri- ver of the pickup saw me in time to notice that I needed help, and he pulled up alongside of me. We talked about the problem, what I had done to try to solve it, and he had no further mechanical suggestions. But he was going to the same town as I was, and we hit upon a solution that would work. My savior drove in front, slow and steady with the promise that he would not suddenly put on the brakes. I drove behind him, as close as possible. I did not need to see the road ahead, as long as I could see him. I was protected from other travelers as long as I stayed close. They could see me in the reflected light of the vehicle ahead. We arrived at our common me at my home, my highway journey as well. Advent is the season of When have you been in darkness? of night, or the darkness of the heart? Talk with your friends or members ly. When has the light of anc safety? , Take the time today to examine your life. Take whatever actions toward the light. When have they path? Look around your your light? Who travels the same route a way to help light another's way in you have chosen. Celebrate Christmas time way -- perhaps with your faith, treasure, but certainly with helpful to one who needs you. Comments about this prleing@cfm.org or the Christian Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. Washington Leffer . How could courts justify By MARK PATTISON Catholic News Service ,- ) jt: WASHINGTON (CNS) ' -- CduM th'afne arguments that threw out all state laws against racial intermarriage 30 years ago be used again to throw out bans against same-sex mar- riage? "Is intimacy the essence? That's a wonderful question," said Brigham Young University law p mssor Lynn Wardle d.u:= The bishops contend that the historical nature of marriage, as .,b0rld between a man and a womlin: Woull be Weakened if same-sex marriage were allowed. The citizens' league takes the approach that, just as race was irrelevant in the Lov- ing case, so should sex be irrel- evant. It may be helpful tO recall the story of Richard arid Mildred Loving. ;Richer.d, wh 0,was vhite, and ing aNov: 20-21 symposium on'. Mildred; who was black, grew the interracial marriage case and its implications for today. The U.S. Catholic bishops flied a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the interracial c6u- pie in the 1967 case, ironically titled Loving vs. Virginia. So did the Japanese American Citizens' League. ' Both gir0ups also filed briefs in Hawaii's same-sex marriage case, but were on different sides. N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville. IN 47711 Weekly newspaper .E of the Diocese of 2t Evansville , .  Iast week ln Decamber  tt Ca  ot Producl "rectlaan ....... =._ ...Jo 0i Mvelisir ................................... Paul Newland Address all r..Ommur.cations to p.o. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0160 Subscription rate: $17,50 per year Single Copy Price: $50 E., er as erdca} matter at the post office rn Eansvte, IN 47731, Pulm_a.on mer 843800 Posmaster: Ftern POD or,m, s 3579 o Office of atio Goeig 197 Catholic Press of Evacsviie up near each other in rural east- efn :Virginia, where interracial sohializing happened on occa- sion: Richard otMildred pregnant and decided to marry her as the honorable thing to do. But they were refused a marriage license in Virginia due to a 1924 state law banning marriages between whites and other races, also known as miscegenation. The couple married in Wash; ington, D.C., in 1958 but were arrested, inside their Virginia home five weeks later because the state law also did not recog- nize marriage licenses from other jurisdictions for interradal couples. The Lovings moved to Washington, sometimes sneak- in g 'baCk separately to Virginia to visit relatives. In 1964, as the Civil Rights Act was being debated, a cousin of Mildred Loving urged her to write to then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, asking for help for her family's situati0h. Kennedy referred the letter to the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union. Despite losses in Virginia courts, the Lovings' attorneys won a unanimous decision at the Supreme Court. Th e v id!or, m or deny - same-sex ma wiped out miscegenation laws in the 16 states that still had the'm on the books in 1967. 'Now, 30 years later, there are an estimated 8,223 interracial couples in Virginia, said Uni- versity of Georgia law professor Robert A. Pratt, who was a play- mate of the Lovings' children on their visits to east Virginia. Had he lived in a different 6ra, 'Sffpreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas "might have "spent time in jail," Pratt noted. Thomas' wife, Virginia, is white. The high court's nine-page opinion in Loving vs. Virginia is so strong that 60 major cases since have cited it, Wardle said. "When the court knows it's right, it doesn't have to go on and on and on," added George Mason University law professor Margaret Brinig. David Coolidge, director of the Marriage Law Project at The Catholic University of America in-Washington, which hosted the symposium, said the same- sex-marriage issue is "more about politics than it is about law." Coolidge argued that same- sex marriage proponents want to link their foes with foes of interracial marriage, calling them "nothing but Jim Crow racists, and they should get out of the way and let the court decide." Their goal is to "soften up the public so that it will not mobi- lize," Coolidge said of same-sex marriage proponents in Hawaii, where Catholicism and Mor- monism are the two largest reli- gions. Same-sex marriage proPo- nents also want the court to block a vote next year on a ref- erendum to ban same-sex mar- riages. Coolidge said 70 percent of Hawaiians oppose such mar- riages, "especially if imposed by the courts." In 1993 the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled the state could not exclude same-sex couples and in 1996 a Hawaii trial court ordered it to begin issuing mar- riage licenses to same-sex cou- ples. That decision is under appeal. Regent University family law professor Lynn Marie Kohm said that the few court cases on same-sex marriage outside of Hawaii have resulted in rulings against same-sex marriage. Kohm said the reasoning applied by the Supreme Court in its unanimous decision against assisted suicide case which basically left the matter to states to decide could also be applied to same-sex mar- riage. Just as assisted suicide is not "deeply rooted in history and tradition," she said, neither is same-sex marriage. "What can we expect from the Supreme Court in the future on i this matter?" she: tices are going to up with a new riage" in order sex unions, Yale law Stephen Carter attitudes more casual ment got too deep riage business. In a 22 said, Americans people who a OK to divorce out of love. "'The stick with what with," Carter sai& you trade in a you trade in a "I'm not ha is indicative of alness which I As long as the marria ing marriage in and financial cially after death or will weaken stren Bish Lay Ministry meeting, Indianapolis, Friday, p.m. EST. Indiana Catholic Conference, 30th AnniverSarY. Indianapolis, Friday, Dec. 5, 6:30 p.m. EST. Indiana Catholic Conference Board lis, Saturday, Dec. 6, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST. Mass, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Immaculate Conception, Ferdinand, Monday, Dec. a.m. EST. Dean's meeting, Bishop's residence, Wed 1:30 p.m. CST. Staff meeting, Catholic Center, Council's day Dec. 11, 9 a.m. to noon CST.