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If Marriage Laws are Religiously Based, Government Chooses Between Religions

A fair number of Americans are justifying marriage discrimination against gay and lesbian people by making references to their religious beliefs. Take fundamentalist Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, who recently sent this message to sympathetic Maine churches from his post in Washington, DC, urging them to ban same-sex marriage in the state:

Since America’s beginning, our society has defined marriage like the Bible does: a relationship between one man and one woman…. Well, you the people of Maine need to decide what constitutes marriage. Not a group of unelected judges or pandering politicians who are often quick to bow to the wishes of a radical minority bent on redefining God’s standard.

Get that? According to Tony Perkins, marriage should reflect what’s in the Bible and what God’s standard is. Well, actually, no, that’s not quite right. According to Tony Perkins, marriage should reflect what he says is in the Bible and what he says God’s standard is.

You see, there are other religious interpretations out there. Last Friday, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations issued a statement in which it declared its religious support for same-sex marriage and its religious opposition to a gay marriage ban:

I call upon supportive Mainers to reaffirm their commitment to fairness for all families by voting against repeal of the legislation recognizing same-sex marriage.

I know that Unitarian Universalists in Maine will continue to be at the forefront of the struggle for equality. Commitment to the inherent worth and dignity of every person is at the core of Unitarian Universalism, and Unitarian Universalists in Maine have a strong history of support for bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender (BGLT) rights. In 1996, the Unitarian Universalist Association called for full legal recognition for same-sex couples nationwide, and our faith community has advocated in support of marriage equality ever since. We will continue this witness in Maine in the coming months.

Unitarian Universalists will stand on the side of love. I invite you to stand with us.

Get that? According the UUA, “commitment to the inherent worth and dignity of every person is at the core of Unitarian Universalism,” and from that religious standpoint stems their NO on Question 1 stance.

So now you’ve got some religious groups against same-sex marriage, and you’ve got other religious groups in favor of same-sex marriage, and the opposing religious groups are grounding their arguments in religious terms.

If you think marriage laws in American government should be religiously grounded, then you’re going to put American government in the role of deciding which religions are right and which religions are wrong.

If you don’t want American government to be put in the role of deciding which religions are right and which religions are wrong, then marriage laws in American government should not be religiously grounded.

That means they should be grounded in something else. I suggest the Constitution:

No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

32 comments to If Marriage Laws are Religiously Based, Government Chooses Between Religions

  • ReMarker

    Marriage is a social institution that allows a person the ONLY opportunity to choose a family member. Other family members are blood relatives or relatives by marrage. Here in America our laws restrict marriages to only 2 people at a time.

    Our laws recognize and respect peoples’ right to choose their mate (marriage) and provide a law structure that allows married people to have certain special rights in their common financial and personal business. Examples: Access to a hospitalized member of a marriage. Inheritance rights.

    How can a civilized society deny “marriage rights” to anyone that has chosen a mate, just because they may be different races, different religions, different nationalities, or different than the traditional man/woman marriage?

    Who to marry, is a personal choice. Every person should have the right to make that choice. To have laws that define the race, religion, nationality, or sex of the person we choose to give those “special rights of marriage”, is to much government intrusion into our personal lives to suit me. Our marrage choices are none of the governments business. It reminds me of Nazism.

    ——————————————
    I made the above post in another thread. By the time I finished composing my comment, several people had made other posts and mine may have gotten lost in the list of comments. I think it is worth reposting in this thread. I reworded the last paragraph for clarity.

  • Jacob

    We have been over this before. The UU is not a Christian religious organization and they do not believe that the Bible is God’s word therefor they do not make statments off what they believe is in the Bible. Its like compairing athiests to Catholics. Its opposite ends of the spectrum

    • Actually, Jacob, the UUA is not a Christian religious organization, but it does include Christians, and some of them believe what you say they don’t believe. It’s kind of like how the United States is not a Christian nation, but it does include Christians.

      What you seem unable to understand about Unitarian Universalists is that they occupy many points on many spectrums.

    • Jim

      It doesn’t matter whether what you are saying is true for the contention of the current article.

      Please address the contention of the current article, Jacob: that since there are different religious viewpoints on marriage, if marriage laws are religiously based then it’s going to have to be government’s job to pick which religion is the true religion and which religions are false religions.

  • Jacob

    Which makes them by definition not Christians…

    Chris·tian (krschn)
    adj.
    1. Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
    2. Relating to or derived from Jesus or Jesus’s teachings.
    3. Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike.
    4. Relating to or characteristic of Christianity or its adherents.
    5. Showing a loving concern for others; humane.
    n.
    1. One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
    2. One who lives according to the teachings of Jesus.

    The UU is not based on the life and teachings of Jesus therefor members who attend are not Christian despite what they claim. I can claim to be a Muslim but if I follow Jesus my fruit proves that I am not a Muslim

    • Oh, think, Jacob.

      The city of Chicago is not based on the life and teachings of Jesus. Does it therefore follow that no Christians live there?

      • Jacob

        You are compairing apples to oranges… Chicago is a place of residence the UU is a rligous grouping. I can tell you that CHicago is in Illinous. Noone living permenantly in Illionous is also living at the bottom of the ocean

        • What you can’t seem to remember, Jacob, is that the Unitarian-Universalists are not grouped according to religious belief. There are Christian Unitarian-Universalists and Buddhist Unitarian-Universalists and atheist Unitarian-Universalists and Wiccan Unitarian-Univeralists.

          Unitarian-Universalist organizations don’t tell their members what they have to believe or must not believe.

          • Jacob

            You are correct. Which is why Christians would say they are not part of us. Exactly what you are saying is why they are not Christians… I am not calling them bad people or attacking them. I am telling you that by definition what they are not. Compairing a UU Bible interpratation and a Baptist is like compairing yours and mine. We are fundamentaly different which is what makes this article a blatant piece of misinformation. I am not so sure why you are offened by definitions…

            • Jacob, there’s a difference between the organization not being Christian and some of its members not being Christians.

              As for what some Christians would say, you need to remember that other Christians disagree with what you assert. So, who’s to decide who gets to declare whether someone is a Christian or not? Have you been elected President of the Who’s A Christian Advisory Council?

              I think that it’s most fair to conclude that if someone says they’re a Christian, they’re a Christian. They can be members of non-Christian religious organizations, like the Masons, if they want to be… unless we’re living under a theocratic order of excommunication by some dictator of all Christendom.

              • Jacob

                So if I called myself a vegetarian and ate steak everyday you would think that that made sense. This is in essence the same thing. I Christian is someone who follows Christ and believes that there is no other way to go to heaven. A UU member is someone that believes all roads of searching for truth lead to the same point of which we cannot know for sure. There is no heaven just the search for greater knowledge etc… I UU is in practice very close to gnostic…

              • Jacob

                Sorry should not read “no heaven”, should be “no hell”

              • Interesting. So if, for instance, Jesus tells you that you need to give to people who ask things of you, and you don’t, you’re not a Christian?

                Remember this: http://irregulartimes.com/index.php/archives/2009/09/12/will-you-meet-this-christian-challenge/

                How does it feel not to be a Christian, Jacob?

                (By the way, not all Unitarian-Universalists believe those things that you say they believe)

              • Jacob

                So what does the word Universalists mean in context with Unitarian-Universalists? Please explain how that word goes with jesus is the only way to heaven. If you can explain how those two things work together I will apologize, give every UU I meet a hug and call them brothers. On your mark… get set…(and as the great Jim would say) wiggle…

    • Jim

      I guess people who go to grocery stores aren’t Christian, either, because grocery stores don’t profess belief in Jesus as Christ.

      Pay attention to the distinction J. Clifford’s making. It’s important if you want to understand UU. But hey, maybe you don’t want to.

      In any case, UU is clearly a religious organization, whether it is Christian or not. So my contention still stands. Which side do you come down on? Do you think that government should be deciding which religion is the right and true one, and which religions are the wrong and false ones? Or do you think that marriage laws shouldn’t be instituted for religious reasons?

      • Jacob

        Why is this so confusing to you? You cant have both. You can not be against abortion and perform abortions for example. This is roughly the same idea. By going to a church that says all routes lead to heaven you have by pure definition moved away from THE fundamental Christian doctrine thereby moving so far away that you are no longer the same

        • Jim

          You don’t know your Christian history; perhaps you’ve been taught a whitewashed one. There have been, right from the beginning, a number of alternative Christian communities that believed different things about Jesus Christ and Christianity than “THE” doctrine you articulate. What you mean by “THE fundamental Christian doctrine” is “the fundamentalist Christian doctrine I am familiar with and subscribe to.”

          And yet again, I say: even if no UUs were Christian, that wouldn’t matter, because the UU organization would still be a religious body. There are religious bodies that are in favor of same-sex marriage, and religious bodies that oppose it. If you think governmental laws should be put in place because of your religious beliefs, then you are asking government to intervene and decide that your religion is the right and true one and that other religions are the wrong and false ones.

          And yet again, I ask: do you want government taking on the job of declaring which religions are true and which religions are false? Or do you believe that governments should not enact laws for religious reasons?

          • Jacob

            I believe that I should fight for what I believe is right, which is a Biblical standard. Which is what I am doing. The government cant tie its own shoes and should choose nothing. I fight to put permanat standards in place on Biblical principles.

            • Jeff

              You aren’t the one putting permanent standards in place, though. The US Government (or alternately Whatever State Government) puts these standards in place and then has “legitimate” authority to enforce them. So, the government (hopefully through the discourse of its people) must decide which standards to make permanent and which to leave by the wayside. You fight for standards based on Biblical principles (presumably because God said in the Bible they were right), Muslims fight for standards based on Quranical (How do you turn “Quran” into an adjective?) principles (presumably because God said in the Quran they were right), and I fight for humanitarian standards because so far this God character keeps sending my memos to the wrong address.

              Which do we implement? How do we come to this decision?

            • Jim

              There’s a word for that. It’s called “theocracy.”

              It’s good to know that you want a theocratic government in which everybody has to live according to your interpretation of the Bible. It helps to understand that you want the government to endorse your version of Christianity as true and real, to condemn other versions of Christianity and other religions as false and wrong, and then to push those standards down everybody else’s throats for you.

              It’s good to know you’re that kind of person. Thanks for sharing.

              • Jacob

                So because I believe in the Bible you believe I should have no say at all then? Thanks for sharing. I am also glad to know that you are that kind of person.

              • Jim

                It is obviously not true that I believe you “should have no say at all then.” Don’t be ridiculous. Not only have I not said any such thing (just as Randy never said any such thing), but, indeed, I and the other people at Irregular Times have made a forum for you to have a say, even though we are in diametric disagreement with you.

                The whiny victim act you’re putting on is especially ludicrous considering what you have explicitly stated what you want to do: use government to impose your understanding of the Bible on everyone else. You just said it. That is the dictionary definition of theocracy. And I sincerely thank you for making that explicit.

  • Kevin

    “but if I follow Jesus my fruit proves that I am not a Muslim”

    what does that even mean? how can you follow around someone who does not exist? are you wandering the streets in a hallucinogenic stupor?

    and are you a plant? what is your “fruit? are you saying you are a “fruit” or a fruitcake?

  • Jacob

    Kevin,
    Do you honestly believe that Jesus did not exist? Not trying to be mean but that would be a stupid thing to say. You can look smart and question whether he is God (you will look a fool in the end but…) but to question whether he exists doesnt make any sense. No crediable historian questions whether he lived and died…

    As far as fruit. What does your life show… Its your actions that are “fruits”

  • Kevin

    There is little evidence that the man now called “Christ” ever existed. There are a series of writings that claim he did, but they are so filled with various nonsensical claims and insane ravings that its hard to believe that any of the claims in it are true.

    http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/exist.html

  • Jacob

    So when these crazy Christians where running around like Paul, and Peter getting killed by the Romans its just that nobody ever stopped and said. “We crucifed who? What the bleep are you talking about? Here are the records for that day, there was no Jesus there…”. That is where the argument falls apart. You forget that these people where all still alive during the point this was going on. The people who crucified and saw him and walked with him and flogged him and beat him and spit on him and on and on. This was during their lifetimes so where are the people going “WTF?”

    • Jim

      So Ganesha the elephant-headed god must have really defeated Shiva. I mean, otherwise, what are you saying? That Ganesha’s army was running around saying “We’re attacking who? I don’t see any attacking army from this ‘Shiva’ character!”

      Using your bizarre argument, I’ve just “demonstrated” why you need to convert to Hinduism.

      People die all the time for fictions of which they are thoroughly convinced. If you haven’t figured this out yet, you’re not a good observer of people and not a good student of history.

  • Kevin

    Most of the stuff you have was written hundreds of years after the alledged events. It seems a fact that there was a religious sect that had odd practises and was shunned by most of society until the current ruler was convinced to support it.

    what basis there was for the wild tales told by these mystics is no very unclear, if in fact there ever was any facts behind it. Most of it seems to consist of made-up stories and meglominiacal ravings.

  • randy ray haugen

    i love how off track these posts can get. the fact is we live a country that make our laws according to the constitution. our founding fathers put a clause in separating church and state. to make laws based on one religion over another is unconstitutional. period. end of discussion.

    • Jacob

      Randy, do you realize what that clause was for? It was to keep the State out of the church. There is no clause that says religious people cant vote or be a part of the government. That doesnt mean if the Bible says to fo it we have to do the opposite. Many times when I give an opinion that garbage comes out. Realize what you are saying when you make that claim. What you are saying is religous people have less freedom and rights to involvment in the government than no religious people…

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