The issue of same sex marriage is very controversial to the point that it had been widely used in the field of debates. As is usual in many debates, the issue of same sex marriage has two sides of the issue. The first one holds the orthodox point of view that marriages are made only for man and woman while the other holds the liberal point of view that marriages should not be denied to gays and lesbians since all humans are created equal in the eye of God.
In this regard, an analysis of one of the debates revolving around this issue is required. Two of the articles which would be analyze in this paper which tackles the issue of same sex marriage is that of the USCCB “Between Man And Woman: Questions And Answers About Marriage And Same-Sex Unions” and the article written by Professor Daniel C. Maguire “A Catholic Defense Of Same Sex Marriage”.
To begin both articles aims to argue their point of view regarding the issue of same-sex marriage.
Even though both used of the almost the same instruments of argumentation and even though both aims to get the sympathy and understanding of those concerned with the issue, they differ on their concluding statements, use of rhetorical devices, and on the point of their argumentation. The article written by Professor Maguire for one, as the title implies, shows how unjustifiable the claims of others that same-sex marriage ought to be banned. The article issued by the USCCB on the other hand argues on the opposite side justifying their beliefs on why same-sex marriage should not be allowed. Thus, an overview of their argumentation is necessary in order to better analyze the argumentation presented by both sides.
As had been mentioned earlier, both articles gave their differing beliefs regarding the issue of same sex marriage. The first article, written by the USCCB, depicts the conventional stand of the Catholic Church while the second article made by Professor Maguire depicts the stand points of those people who see same sex marriage as a right which should not be taken away from homosexuals. Both articles have their own stand regarding the issue which they wish to spread to their readers in order to strengthen the faiths of those who are already on their sides and to persuade those who are on the opposite side to accept their points.
Both articles presented their sides and tried to convince their audience by first giving a definition of what marriage is all about. It should be noted that both sides made use of the Bible as a reference in order to justify both claims. The USCCB stand firm on their belief that everything written on the Bible is right and thus must be advocated. Professor Maguire on the other hand had not been so rigid even though he used the same source as the USCCB. In fact, whereas the orthodox view argued on the basis that marriage had been established by God as a union between man and woman who loves each other and thus would have to be married in order to bid God’s will of procreation, marriage of the same sex should not be allowed on the basis that it does not fit the description stated within the Bible. They further argued by saying that same sex marriages goes in contradictory with what is stated in the Bible and since the couple of the same sex could not engage in terms of procreation their marriage would be of no basis and thus must not be permitted. The liberal side on the other hand argued that marriage is a special union of committed friendship and it does not necessitates that couple who would undergo matrimony be of different sex.
Professor Maguire argued that the Bible is no more than a historical account of the lives led by the people from such a long time ago and thus the Bible could be a biased source for argumentation if one is not careful or open-minded enough to accept these facts. He also made it a point to show how different ideologies could be stated in the Bible and thus a person ought to be wise in order to see the distinction and thus he would have to know which of the contradictory point of view is to be believed. He also made use of slavery as an example to further justify his claims. Since the people of the ancient times lived in a century where slavery is considered right they did not see anything bad in making a slave out of other people nor did fathers saw anything wrong from selling their daughters into slave markets. However, as time changed and as cultures evolved people saw a certain immorality in making use of other people as objects and thus the earlier presuppositions of previous popes regarding slavery had been eliminated all throughout by their contemporaries.
Professor Maguire also made use of women as an example to further illustrate his point claiming that the Bible stated that women ought to be docile to their husbands and thus she must abide by all the wishes of her man to the point that the distinction between slaves and women is very minimal. Nowadays, women do not really have to be treated as a slave by her husband since rules about equality had already been implemented in contrast to the rules made by our predecessors. Using the same line of argumentation, Professor Maguire claimed that same sex marriages should be treated in the same way as slavery. Although same sex marriage is not yet accepted during this time by the Vatican, there will come a time that a new pope would be more open to the idea of same sex marriage as compared to the pope as of the moment. However, he still went as far as to pursue his belief that same sex marriages should be treated in the same level as other issues discussed within the Catholic Religion. For one, there are pacifists Catholics who believes that war should be avoided at all cost while there are those who believe that there are wars that are justifiable. Professor Maguire stated that the issue of same sex marriage should be regarded in the same manner. He said that there are now Protestants as well as Jewish theologians who believe that same sex marriages should not be prohibited. He argued on letting those who believes same sex marriage to be a sin pursue their beliefs but they should let those who believe otherwise pursue their own set of beliefs.
One could clearly see from the overview illustrated earlier in this paper that the writers of both articles made use of almost the same method in order to support their beliefs. However, one should notice the huge difference between the rhetorical strategies made by the said writers. For one point their prospective readers are very much the same, their subject matter also did not vary from one another. However, the writers of the said articles differ on some of the techniques they employed upon writing their articles.
We should all focus on the choice of words made by Professor Maguire in contrast to that of the USCCB. Whereas the USCCB made use of denotative language Professor Maguire on the other hand made use of connotative language. The basis for this particular claim is the fact that the USCCB wrote their article in a very matter of fact way pertaining directly to the knowledge of their audiences. One could also deduct from merely reading the article made by USCCB that they did not really made use of any emotional appeals in employing their argumentations. Instead of that, the USCB appealed directly to the use of logic and reason.
In contrast, the article written by Professor Maguire goes against logic on the basis that it made use of emotions in order to appeal to their audience. One should keep in mind that a connotative language is one form of rhetorical device a writer could use. A connotative language employs a method which appeals directly to the emotion of their readers. One should also take note of the way the article written by Professor Maguire reflected some religious stereotypes which goes under the requirement of a connotative language. Thus, in a way, Professor Maguire aimed not only to convey to his audiences his own set of prejudices. In a manner, Professor Maguire seemed to have assumed that his audience also shares his prejudices.
Both articles also made use of different tones in talking with their audiences. The USCCB employed a formal tone in conveying their message to the readers thus avoiding the use of delicate pronouns such as “I” and “you” in the process. (Haslam). We could also see from the tone used by the USCCB how they distanced their selves from their readers and how the use of a formal tone worked in portraying their expectation that their readers would be of the serious and of a well-educated type.
In contrast to the tone used by the USCCB, Professor Maguire made use of an informal tone employing personal pronouns such as “I” and “you” in the process. We could also see how Professor Maguire indicated on his article the things he supposed his readers would readily accept. The point of views employed by both writers is also in contrast from each other. As had been mentioned earlier the article written by the USCCB did not aimed to appeal to the emotions of their audiences rather they made use of a formal tone in conveying their message. Thus we could easily deduct that the USCCB employed an objective point of view in writing the article, in such a way that they had been very careful to employ a tactic which appeals to the emotions of the readers. This goes in great contrast to what Professor Maguire did since his article aimed to appeal to the emotions of his readers. One could also deduct from the article he wrote that he employed a rather subjective point of view, thus, including some of his own analysis and comments in the process.
In terms of the supports they used in employing their arguments the USCCB wrote their article in reference to the Bible alone. Thus, we could say that the USCCB wrote their article in reference to facts alone. One should remember that Professor Maguire also used the Bible as a reference in order to convey his beliefs. Thus, one could say that Professor Maguire also used facts in order to support his beliefs. However, he did not depend on facts alone in supporting his arguments. Rather, he made use of other types of supports such as examples, descriptions, and expert’s opinions. His use of examples had been evident when he used slavery and the treatment of women to further his beliefs that same sex marriage should not be prohibited. The use of description is also evident when he compared one pope from the other and lastly, the use of expert’s opinions is very evident based on the quotations he included upon writing his article.
Lastly, the USCCB made use of a deductive method in pursuing their argument whereas Professor Maguire made use of an inductive method. We could clearly see that Professor Maguire employed an inductive method in pursuing his argument by reading the objections he presented on the article wherein he gave various specific examples to which he based his conclusion. The USCCB on the other hand, used a deductive method by beginning with generalized instances before they moved on with specific instances.
Thus, to conclude, both writers had been similar in numerous ways such as the subject matter of their article and the reference they used in line with their arguments. However, their similarities ended there since the rhetorical devices they employed on their argumentation had been very different. There are many devices used in rhetorical argumentation however this paper not use all the available rhetorical devices in evaluating the two articles in this paper. The rhetorical devices that had been used are their choice of word, tone, point of view, types of support and argumentations. (Harris, 2005). By using the above mentioned rhetorical devices one could conclude that both writers employed different strategies and different rhetorical devices in writing their paper in that the other appealed more to pathos rather than the logos. As can be viewed from this paper, the article made by the USCCB appears more logical and preferable to that used by Maguire. The use of emotions in order to be believed by people is very fallacious and thus the rhetorical devices used by the USCCB is much preferable as compared to the other. Thus, the USCCB assumed their audience to be serious and well-educated wherein Professor Maguire assumed his audiences to be one’s who share the same set of biases he have.
Harris, Robert A. “A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices.” 2005.
Haslam, Jill. “Rhetorical Devices.”
jan.ucc.nau.edu. “Rhetorical Analysis.”
Maguire, Professor Daniel C. “A Catholic Defense of Same Sex Marriage.” 2006.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Between Man and Woman: Questions and Answers About Marriage and Same-Sex Unions.” 2003.
Cite this Debates Around Theme of Same Sex Marriage
Debates Around Theme of Same Sex Marriage. (2016, Sep 10). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/comparative-rhetorical-analysis/