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Getting the Marriage Conversation Right: A Guide for Effective Dialogue
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2013
I'm not Catholic, but I appreciated this small book which presents a Catholic view of traditional marriage. It seeks to focus the reader on why marriage should remain exclusively man-woman and how to frame the discussion in the public square (without using religious language). The rising tide of single mothers and the push for gay marriage are merely symptomatic of a view that marriage is a matter of personal fulfillment rather than the best-for-society arrangement for the raising of children who need the distinct influences of both a mother and father.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2013
This is a terrific, easily accessible book that brings together thoughts about the nature of marriage, who it serves, who it protects! A quick read but a real boost to those who might feel back on their heels defending marriage as it was originally intended. Thanks, Mr. May!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
In this brief booklet (a 40-page essay with 30 pages of Q&A) the president of Catholics for the Common Good lays out some helpful pointers in how to engage in the homosexual marriage debate. He shows us what the real nature of marriage is, why it is so important for children, and how it fundamentally differs from non-heterosexual relationships.

The most important aspect to this entire debate is to get a proper understanding of just what exactly marriage is. A faulty understanding of marriage will simply provide fodder to those who seek to deconstruct it for their radical purposes.

Marriage is not the mere public recognition of adults who are in a relationship for the sake of personal fulfilment. Any number of combinations could be called marriage if that were the only definition. Not only homosexual relationships, but two or more close sisters living together, or a threesome or foursome of committed, loving, adults, etc.

Marriage, properly understood, has always been about that which unites a man and a woman with each other and any children who may come from this union. Clearly all relationships are not equal. The social good of marriage is the uniting of a man and a woman and the protection of any children resulting from that union.

If marriage had nothing to do with children, then there would be no need for state and public recognition of marriage. But marriage is always about at least the possibility of children. And children have a fundamental right to know and be cared for by their own mother and father.

Marriage is that public institution which specifically unites children with their own parents. That is why talk of "same-sex marriage" is simply an oxymoron. It is not marriage and can never be marriage. It is simply a radical attempt to fully redefine the very nature and purpose of marriage.

Instead of talking about homosexual marriage, May says we should more wisely describe the issue as "redefining marriage to accommodate same-sex couples". For that is exactly what is being attempted here. And he offers a number of other pointers in how to conduct the debate on this issue, such as avoiding religious language, and so on.

In the second part of the book a number of common objections and questions are raised which are handily answered by May. He continues to offer pointers as to how best to frame the discussion. For example, instead of saying "I oppose homosexual marriage" say instead: "I oppose redefining marriage to accommodate homosexual couples".

As to the question of allowing two types of marriage to exist side by side, May replies that this would simply weaken and nullify the real institution of marriage, and governments would then enforce the public recognition and acceptance of the counterfeit.

As to the supposed "right" to homosexual marriage, May says, "Everyone is made for love, but not everyone is made for marriage". While plenty of loving relationships exist, not all of them are about marriage, nor can be. Recall that marriage unites children with their own parents.

And he deals with the claim that we all have a right to a child: "No one has a right to another person. Does anyone have a right to you? Thinking that way treats a child as property instead of a gift - a person of equal value and dignity to the adult."

He also rejects the suggestion that we allow civil unions or domestic partnerships. They simply create confusion about the real nature of marriage, and again falsely imply that any and all relationships deserve public and state recognition and approval.

As to infertile married couples, May replies: "Not all married men and women have children, but every child has a mom and a dad, and marriage is the only institution that unites them in a family. That is the primary interest of marriage."

But, some argue, "Changing marriage will not impact you". But it does of course. Anyone who disagrees with the new law changes will be regarded as discriminatory under the law and subject to prosecution of various types. And that is happening already wherever such changes have taken place. Everyone is put at jeopardy if they do not accept the redefinition taking place.

And those who argue that heterosexual marriage is already in bad shape are missing the point; making it worse by redefining it out of existence helps no one. Sure, heterosexual marriage needs to be reformed and restored, but this is not done by altering its very nature and design.

Other queries and objections are briefly looked at here. This short volume is a welcome addition to a number of books which have appeared of late making the case for marriage, and withstanding the attempt to redefine it into oblivion.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 26, 2012
I received this in the mail from the great folks at Emmaus Road Publishing. This is a great Catholic publisher that is true to the teachings of the Church and prints many great books. In exchange for this book, I just had to write an honest review.

This 70 page book is a quick read, but it packs a powerful message. In this book, we get a definition of what is going on in our current society with regards to marriage, and how society is trying to rid itself of traditional marriage. This is sad indeed, because as the book states, "Marriage unites a man and woman with each other and any children born from their union." No other societal institution does that, and if traditional marriage was compromised, an institution would need to be created to fill the requirements of the quote above.

What I like best about this book is the Question and Answer section in the back. Even after reading through documents and books such as this, I still find that I have a hard time answering frequent objections and questions that people of the opposing viewpoint have. I also like that this book tries to answer the question from more than a religious standpoint. Those who disagree with us will always disagree with us if all we have to argue them is our "faith." Overall, I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It is orthodox, authentic, helpful, and necessary, but it wouldn't be a book I would actively seek out to read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2013
William B. May challenges readers to focus on the main issue concerning the global movement to redefine marriage. He establishes a clear definition for marriage, which reflects the reality of marriage as it has been experienced, by all cultures, over millennia.

May argues that efforts to redefine marriage to merely the relationship between two adults, focuses on the private interests of two adults and contributes little to the public interest. Such redefinition also ignores the fundamental right of children to be with, and cared for, by their biological mother and father. The child's right to be with and cared for, by his/her natural parents, carries a massive public interest, which is well documented by much sociological, pedagogical and psychological research around the world. It is clear that children who are with and are cared for by their biological mother and father do much better in life, statistically, than those who do not have that experience.

May posits that to argue about the value of homosexual relationships, or the parental competencies of homosexual couples as against heterosexual couples distracts the debate from the real issue, which is that marriage is the only institution, which binds a man and a woman to each other and to the children which may be born of their union.

This book presents a very sound position, from which to discuss the debate on redefining marriage.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2013
A useful contribution to the current debate about the meaning of Marriage. This book argues the case for the traditional understanding of this unique social institution which "unites a man and a woman with each other and any children born from their union" in non-religious terms. A question and answer section further clarifies the apologetic intent of this work which carefully avoids unworthy argumentation and terminology and especially any allegation of homophobia.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2013
The premises are logical, but with compassion. The compassionate side doesn't break down into emotional outbursts. A must read for both sides of the debate, because it addresses most if not all of the popular arguments.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2013
Highly readable essay. A useful addition to any library and a quick insight into the issues, especially regarding the rights of children.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This booklet (68 small pages of text) is helpful in the discussion of what marriage really is. The entire work is based on pitting the fact of marriage as "unit[ing] a man and a woman with each other and any children born from that union" against those who wish to redefine marriage as "the public recognition of a committed relationship between a man and a woman (or two adults) for their fulfillment." This is the thread that runs through this six part booklet. The use of secular arguments for traditional marriage (the book also provides Catholic support for these arguments) is meant to allow the defender of marriage to engage the conversation without explicitly relying on religious belief. The underpinnings of author William B. May's position are laid out in part four, "common traps" to avoid when arguing for traditional marriage compose part five, but maybe the most valuable section is the last part in which May gives short but solid answers to many questions proponents of same-sex "marriage" ask of those who oppose such a concept. The repeating of key points (e.g., "Marriage is not about who can parent best.") really helps in driving important tenets home and makes them memorable. Not all answers are as complete or as extensive as I'd like to see them but, for purposes of what he is trying to accomplish, they provide a firm foundation and jumping off point for further discussion or debate.

I'm not sure anything provided here cannot be found elsewhere on internet sites promoting and defending traditional marriage, but the convenience of having a significant amount of information in a short and quick read that can be studied and referred to again and again or passed along is valuable. Volume discounts make this useful for mass distribution (e.g., parishes) or group study.

This short work is a valuable introduction to the current marriage debate and how to defend traditional marriage but, for those who want or need to go deeper, other resources (like "What is Marriage" by Girgis, Anderson, and George) will be required.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2013
There is the one issue, 'Gay Marriage', that will bring the Church to its knees with persecution and threats to its existence in the U.S. and elsewhere. Gay marriage will be used as a cudgel to crush the Church and will come down upon its head, crown and bow. Evangelization or defending the faith will be done within the focus or context of this issue. Already built into federal law, its precedents and understanding are the seperation of sex from its consequences (abortion,contraception,gender determination & equality) and 'a right to privacy' and the states involvement in every aspect of personal relationships
(marriage,divorce, custody issues,child rearing,child adoption, child education et al). The state is now the 'greater moral authority' as it sees itself, the arbiter of public and social morality, over and above religion in all of our lives. The groundwork for a Supreme Court decision defining gay marriage as a right in all states has been laid down. Our judiciary at all levels, state and federal, is infiltrated by the Left whose goal is one of radical egalitarianism. Additionally we are undergoing a generational shift in attitude and non-religiosity paving the way for such things in each state. Expect gay marriages arrival one way or another, if not today then tomorrow!

If you want to effectively engage the culture and the people about 'gay marriage', the family, then this is a relatively short, succinct and to the point book. radical egalitarianism
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