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Same Sex Marriage - ‘Let No Man Put Asunder’

May 24th, 2008 | by Omnipotent Poobah |

Most religions are based on peace, love, and understanding - at least that’s the theory. Yet, many of the religious ignore that premise, or worse yet, use their chosen holy book to explain why this group or that group doesn’t fall under the Peace, Love, and Understanding Act of 10,000 BC.

Same-Sex HillaryIn the most virulent parishes, the undeserving are legion. Gays, blacks, other religions, political candidates, and those who don’t wear flag pins or say “Happy Holidays” are persona non grata. Perhaps I’m just an atheist moron, but I don’t see how these groups threaten anyone, even if they don’t share the same beliefs. Same sex marriage is a case in point.

A majority of Americans oppose same sex marriage, but a majority of those (including nearly all politicians) think legal unions are OK. The logic here - what little there is - goes something like this: I’m askeered of homos + I don’t like to be called a bigot + To protect myself from being called a bigot, I’ll say it’s OK for them to get civil unions = Problem solved. But here’s the rub: In what way is a civil union any different than being married?

‘Let No Man Put Asunder…’
Both join two people in love. Both carry legally-binding rights and responsibilities. Both can be recognized by religious institutions and can be ended by divorce, regardless of the participants’ religious affiliation. Both entail struggle and sacrifice, marital trouble, and shared joy. Both can involve children to be cared for and responsibly parented. Both even allow sexual relations - the supposed baseline of the threat itself. But despite these identical characteristics one is a threat to the “tradition” of marriage, and at least to some, a threat that can be mitigated by simply calling it something else.

It’s simple, “I’m scared of clowns, so if I call Ronald McDonald Mr. Crazy Hair my fear will melt away.”

The main argument is that one group believes the other group should be barred from living a life of their choosing, absent any rational explanation of why. The thing that people frequently don’t see is that fear is as equal opportunity as it gets.

Mr. and Mrs. Hagee and all the pious at sea, what would happen if the shoe was on the other foot? What if gays were scared of you and had the power to prevent you from marrying?

Hiding the Issue in Plain Sight
Same sex marriage falls into the same category as most seemingly intractable problems. To solve them requires an Same-Sex Bushability to put yourself in the others’ shoes. It requires real compromise instead of hiding the problem in plain sight and avoiding it. If the only difference between the two actions is semantic, where’s the percentage in making such a fuss? If a lesbian doesn’t tell the Navy she’s gay, how does she become any less so? If a gay couple wants to be married, how does it deter you from practicing your religious beliefs.

My religious upbringing taught me that the totality of a belief is only “right” up to the time when it abridges someone else’s right to their belief. We see parallels of this idea daily. Belligerent intransigence between political parties, ideologies, or neighbors solves bupkis. Wars are made of such stuff and unfortunately, some perpetuate those fears through intentional meanness or an accidental belief that they have begun reading God as a synonym for themselves.

Remember his advice, “Thou shalt hold God above all others.” Claiming you speak for God is the ultimate violation of this supposedly sacrosanct idea.

If God is as wise and omnipotent as you say, you should be quivering with fear because judgment day is going to be decidedly unpleasant when he reads about your stay in the material world.


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  1. 11 Responses to “Same Sex Marriage - ‘Let No Man Put Asunder’”

  2. By Craig R. Harmon on May 24, 2008 | Reply

    The only fear I have is that marriage, including gay marriage, having been established as a basic human right that cannot be abridged, Churches will be forced to perform gay marriages whether their religious teachings oppose it or not, that gay rights will be used to eliminate freedom of religious expression on the basis that, if a Church’s doctrine infringes upon the human rights of gays, those Churches’ doctrines must give way, at least in practice, to gays’ rights to marriage. That refusing to marry a gay couple will bring pastors and congregations and Church leaderships before courts and result in law-suits and court decisions to the effect that no Church may refuse to marry gays that assents to marrying straight couples.

    As long as Churches are free to either marry gays or to not marry gays, I’m fine with that. And I don’t really expect Churches and pastors to be hauled into court for refusing gays the right to marry in their Church. But, in the Phelpses case, where they were sued by a distraught father of a deceased service man and the Phelpses lost to a huge settlement, it seems to me that this action, where a father’s offence overrode the Phelpses’ free religious expression and free speech rights could easily be argued in favor of suing any Church that refuses, on the basis of freedom of religious expression and free assembly rights, to marry a gay couple. Thus will have dissolved not only the right of free religious expression and assembly but, as has already gone down, freedom of speech rights in the Phelps case.

    I’m all for individual gays’ right to marry; I oppose, in the most strenuous terms, the coercion of the state to force Churches to act contrary to conscience. The rights of free speech, free religious expression and free assembly are at least as vital to the continuation of liberty in this country as is the equal protections clause and no one clause of the constitution should be used to coerce the loss of another clause’s protections to anyone else. That’s another roadside stop on The Road to Serfdom.

  3. By Omnipotent Poobah on May 24, 2008 | Reply

    Craig, as usual, a level-headed comment.

    I don’t think churches should be compelled to perform the marriages. I figure that’s between the betrothed and their minister. Haing said that, I’d prefer that some religions open the doors wide to everyone, but that’s a personal preference, not a Constitutional one.

  4. By Chris Radulich on May 25, 2008 | Reply

    I can’t see how religions organizations would be force. Churches already have a perfect right to refuse to marry anyone that the deem not correct. Temples also do the same.

  5. By Craig R. Harmon on May 25, 2008 | Reply

    Omni,

    Thanks.

    Chris,

    I tried to show, via the Phelps case, how religious and speech rights could be lost. If the Phelpses cannot express their opinions in peaceable protest without the state protecting their right to speech and protest, then I see no principled objection to law suits brought by gays against Churches. On what principle? That they already enjoy the right to refuse marriage? But the Phelpses already (or at least I had so supposed) had the right to speak, protest, and express religious expression in a place normally considered to be a public place. That’s my point: the exercise of already existing rights are already falling to nothing more than the hurt feelings of a father. I can see no reason why the principle that Churches already enjoy the right to refuse marriages to any one they do not deem correct should fare any better. Can you? Surely refusing to marry a couple because one’s beliefs consider marriage to be for one man and one woman and not for gay couples, when the state has said that they do have that right, must surely hurt the couple’s feelings just as the Phelpses hurt the father’s feelings. I just don’t trust judges any longer to respect rights for those whose opinions are no longer in vogue, let alone when they oppose state recognized rights.

  6. By Craig R. Harmon on May 25, 2008 | Reply

    Chris,

    Here’s another example that is even more on point. In Massachusetts, I believe it was, as I understand it, Catholic adoption agencies, who would not adopt to gay couples, were forced by their state to do so. They chose to close down their agencies rather than do what they believed to be not in the best interest of the children in their charge according to their religious teachings. Gay rights, so it would appear in at least some states, trump religious conscience and opinion rights now.

    This illustrates perfectly how Churches who oppose gay marriage may very well be forced to marry gays. Liberal judges WILL have their vision of the just society enforced, no matter what rights they need to dispose of in order to do it.

    As I’ve said elsewhere: you can have individual liberty or enforce equality but you cannot have both. In order to enforce equality, the jack-boot of some elite with the power of the state somewhere will have to be on the neck of the rights of others.

    This is why I am a conservative and vote Republican: because I prefer that we live free of coercion from the state or from anyone else. Liberals have given us judges who will kill the rights of religious folk in order to demand that no one in society make any distinctions among their fellows.

    Now, as a personal matter, I prefer that gays not be denied adoption of children but surely there were adoption agencies in that state that have no objection to adopting to gays. The Catholic agency cannot have been that couple’s only option for adoption. The case was about forcing the Church to not only tolerate gays but to act against conscience and some judge somewhere allowed it, nay, enforced it.

    This is
    The Road to Serfdom.

  7. By Chris Radulich on May 25, 2008 | Reply

    I will look into both later. But for now remember marrage is a religous rite when performed in by the religion. No different then communion. It is only legally binding because the state says that they have the right to perform a legal ceramony. Adoption is a public function not a rite.

  8. By Chris Radulich on May 25, 2008 | Reply

    ut getting square with the church didn’t end Catholic Charities’ woes. To operate in Massachusetts, an adoption agency must be licensed by the state. And to get a license, an agency must pledge to obey state laws barring discrimination–including the decade-old ban on orientation discrimination. With the legalization of gay marriage in the state, discrimination against same-sex couples would be outlawed, too.

    While legal marriage maybe a state function, the sacrarment of marriage is not.

  9. By Craig R. Harmon on May 25, 2008 | Reply

    Chris,

    Okay. Yes, the state couldn’t forbid Churches to marry straight couples but it sounds like they could refuse to legally recognize marriages performed by Churches/pastors who refuse to marry gay couples. Is that what you’re getting at?

  10. By Paul Watson on May 26, 2008 | Reply

    Craig,
    I’m curious. If we replace “homosexual” with “black” or “Islamic” or even “Christian”, would you accept an organisation discriminating against them on the basis of conscience? I mean, would you allow a fictional KKK Adoption agency to only serve whites? If not, why should we accept discrimination against homosexuals on the basis of conscience?

  11. By Chris Radulich on May 26, 2008 | Reply

    I would say that it is possible that the churches marriages could become legally not recognized. I would consider it an extremely remote possibility, but a possibility. Here in Florida a law was recently passed that allows people to have concealed weapons in their car when they go to work and park on the employers property. This is even if the employer has expressly forbidden it. So much for the sanctity of private property.

    It would, in my opion, require that most people give up their religious affiliations for something like that to come to past.

  12. By Chris Radulich on May 26, 2008 | Reply

    As of now nobody has the right to be married in a religious ceremony or place. Priests and Rabbis can and do refuse to perform ceremonies when they feel that they are not approbriate. Mixed religious couples may or may not have the religious ceremony depending on how the winds are blowing at that time and if they can find approving religous figures to perform the ceremony.

    Divorced catholics can not get married in a church unless the church first annuls the previous marriage. I doubt if a hasidic jewish congregation would perform a marriage for a liberal jewish couple.

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