The Marriage Muzzle:
Same-Sex Marriage’s Threat to Religious Liberties

Religious Liberty — By on October 15, 2006 at 11:27 pm

When same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land, can the government force religious groups to treat it like traditional marriage? Will non-discrimination laws trump five thousand years of tradition? Would Christians be silenced and treated as “bigots” for refusing to accept the normalcy of gay marriages?
Those were some of the questions raised last night during Family Research Council’s “Liberty Sunday” simulcast. I was initially skeptical by the claim that same-sex marriage poses a threat to religious liberty. My doubts vanished, though, after reading Maggie Gallagher’s Weekly Standard article, “Banned in Boston.”
Gallagher asked the Becket Fund, one of the leading law firms that defend religious liberty, about the seriousness of the threat. Last December, the firm brought together ten religious liberty scholars of right and left to look at the question of the impact of gay marriage on the freedom of religion. Anthony Picarello, President of the Becket Fund, summarizes their findings: “All the scholars we got together see a problem; they all see a conflict coming. They differ on how it should be resolved and who should win, but they all see a conflict coming.”

“The impact will be severe and pervasive,” Picarello says flatly. “This is going to affect every aspect of church-state relations.” Recent years, he predicts, will be looked back on as a time of relative peace between church and state, one where people had the luxury of litigating cases about things like the Ten Commandments in courthouses. In times of relative peace, says Picarello, people don’t even notice that “the church is surrounded on all sides by the state; that church and state butt up against each other. The boundaries are usually peaceful, so it’s easy sometimes to forget they are there. But because marriage affects just about every area of the law, gay marriage is going to create a point of conflict at every point around the perimeter.”

The scholars at the Beckett Fund agreed that when traditional values clash with the homosexual agenda, religious freedoms are likely to lose. Redefining marriage will radically change such areas as housing, education, charitable giving, and employment. The speakers at Liberty Sunday testified to how this is already occurring in Massachusetts. For example, when the state demanded that adoption agencies place children with homosexual couples, Boston Catholic Charities chose to get out of the adoption business altogether. Other religious groups may be forced to make similar choices or lose their tax-exempt status for refusing to conform.
There is still time to protect our religious freedoms. Twenty states have already added constitutional amendments to protect the traditional definition of marriage; next month eight more states will vote on the issue. All Christians need to speak up now. Or we may soon find that we have no choice but to forever hold our piece.



  • http://mrclm.blogspot.com Big Chris

    Amen brother! Mainstream protestant churches haven’t been helping this cause much either.
    Big Chris

  • Eric & Lisa

    Joe,
    I can already hear the arguments. Just as they argue that at one time in this nations history white folks couldn’t marry black folks and compare that to homosexual marriage, the same will be true after it becomes law.
    Black folks couldn’t attend white church at one time but the law does not allow a church to discriminate against a person of color. So just as a church is not allowed to discriminate against a persons race, neither should a church be allowed to discriminate against a persons sexual preference (Er, sorry, orientation).
    Is there any doubt this is the arguments we will face?

  • fidelity

    This is a huge issue. Have you seen Truemarriage.net for some further thoughts on this?

  • ex-preacher

    It is truly pathetic that the Republicans are so unable to deal with any of the real issues facing the country that they are reduced to such desperate measures. Just three weeks and the long dark night of Republican rule will be over.

  • http://parableman.net Jeremy Pierce

    Aren’t churches going to be much safer in restricting marriage to male-female couples if the government doesn’t allow itself to deal in marriage to begin with? If that’s the argument, I just can’t see how it supports banning gay marriage rather than just not being in the business of telling churches what they can or can’t legally call marriage.

  • http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com Collin Brendemuehl

    I think you’ve seriously understated the situation. In the Mass. situation the rules were established in an exclusionary form, immediately removing the church (if it chose to be consistent) from participation in public life.
    It came to a head years ago with the Interchristo ruling — that they had to hire outside the faith, and that precedent will also have an affect here.
    *It used to think that the solution was simple (but not easy) — turn in your 501(c)(3), sell your building, and go back to house churches. Remove all then entanglements and then there will be no entanglements. *The shortcoming is that it would fix our part, but would not affect the government intervention issue.
    Collin
    http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com

  • Nick

    That’s a reasonably good argument, not for opposing state recognition of gay marriage, but for entirely divorcing marriage from the state. The state already controls marriage in ways that are inimical to religion. We just don’t notice, because in general the state definitions are aligned with those of our particular religion.
    The current situation seems odd to me. By focusing on state control of marriage, those opposed to gay marriage have created a situation where gay couples can’t gain state recognition of their relationship, but they can be married in religious, even Christian, ceremonies. I’d rather see the secular benefits currently restricted to marriage extended to all citizens, not just married couples, while Christians concentrate more on reforming marriage within the church.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    For example, when the state demanded that adoption agencies place children with homosexual couples, Boston Catholic Charities chose to get out of the adoption business altogether. Other religious groups may be forced to make similar choices or lose their tax-exempt status for refusing to conform.
    I’m curious, the Catholic Church is somewhat unique among Christian denominations because it has a very strict policy on divorce. If you were married, got divorced and remarried you are considered a bigamist period. It doesn’t matter if you weren’t even a Catholic or if the first marriage was not done in a Catholic Church.
    By this strict definition many marriages that are legally recognized today (including Joe’s and even including many Catholics) are not recognized by the Catholic Church. Yet isn’t it odd that there is no record of the Catholic Church’s religious liberty being threatened because of this stance on marriage despite the fact that most Catholics live in countries that explicitly reject this doctrine in their legal system.
    Nick:
    That’s a reasonably good argument, not for opposing state recognition of gay marriage, but for entirely divorcing marriage from the state
    On the contrary, it is a reasonably good argument for the Catholic Charities, if they choose to be in the adoption business (Joe’s word BTW) to choose to either conform to the standards for tax exemption or waive their exemption for that line of work. If, say, the Nation of Islam started an adoption agency that would refuse to consider white or non-Muslim parents for adoption because their religious doctrine is that such people are ‘devils’ I wouldn’t say it’s a restriction of their religious liberty if they could not enjoy tax exemption for that business.

  • LudVanB

    I suppose it was to be expected…whenever the fascist religious right sees its political poer threatened,they bring out either the tried and true “bash on gays” or the all time favorite “theyll burn our bibles!!!” propaganda. You wanna talk about freedom? how about the freedom to marry the PERSON you love without the constant interference by a bunch of demented cultists….why dont we talk about that freedom?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Black folks couldn’t attend white church at one time but the law does not allow a church to discriminate against a person of color. So just as a church is not allowed to discriminate against a persons race, neither should a church be allowed to discriminate against a persons sexual preference (Er, sorry, orientation).
    Actually churches are allowed to discriminate by race. The Jewish religion, to use an example, sets a higher (much higher) bar for those seeking to be Jewish who were not born to Jewish women. Those who are born to Jewish women, in contrast, almost have to fight not to be considered Jewish if they choose to reject the Jewish religion. There are some small Eastern religions where membership is entirely hereditary…no converts from outside are allowed.
    If you’re looking for your more every day black/white issue then look at Bob Jones Univ. and the Nation if Islam. Two religious institutions that share membership policies that discriminate based on color (to be fair Bob Jones is a bit more inclusive than the NOI but still racist).
    Where this gets dicey is when gov’t dolls out special favors for doing things it likes. Universities, for example, may be tax exempt not because that is part of religious freedom but because society has decided to encourage universities. If Pat Robertson purchased McDonalds the stores would still be subject to sales tax and income tax on their profits even if he tried to claim fast food was part of his church’s mission.
    To build this into a hypothetical, the Nation if Islam is perfectly free to reject whites both from membership and leadership roles inside it. If, however, they choose to get into a public business such as running a hotel they are subject to the same laws that everyone else is. So they could not discriminate against whites in their business. This is not an infringement on their religious liberty.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    So far I’ve only seen two arguments on this blog that legalized gay marriage would create an infringement on religious liberty.
    1. From Gordon: Churches that refuse to accept gay marriage would be attacked by speech codes that would label their rejection ‘hate speech’.
    2. From Joe: Churches that entangle themselves in public businesses may be required to recognize gay marriages or lose special exemptions or other favors.
    In both cases these arguments are red herrings. In #1 the problem is not legalized gay marriage but speech codes. One could just as easily imagine a hypothetical where those advocating gay marriages are charged with ‘hate speech’ against anti-gay churches. The answer is to reject speech codes, rejecting gay marriage does nothing to protect freedom of speech or religious liberty in a country that is considering embracing codes against ‘hate speech’.
    In #2 such problems exist whether or not gay marriage is legal. The adoption agency ran afoul not of legalized gay marriage laws but laws against discrimination against gays. Here Joe isn’t arguing a principle but just arguing for special treatment for his little club. If we read tomorrow that Mass revoked the adoption license of a Nation of Islam organization because they were refusing to place children with qualified whites I don’t believe for a second he would claim that was an infringement of religious liberty.

  • George

    I think this whole debate is silly. In the sacred sense that orthodox Christians and – I suppose though don’t really know – Jews regard marriage, gay men and women will never be able to marry. It really doesn’t matter what the state says or does.
    For example, the state could, if it wished, decide to issue “baptism” papers or offer “communion”. The communist left in the Soviet Union and other slave states more or less did the “baptismal” equivalent when the nomenklatura were established. Establishing contractual rights for gay couples and calling it “marriage” has nothing to do with the sacrament and everything to do with envy. Marriage for gay couples is a meaningless gesture from an orthodox perspective. No one complains when two people in a play or movie get “married”, do they? To paraphrase the famous quote about hypocrisy, gay “marriage” is the homage of the gay community to a sacrament in which they can never partake. So, if Romeo and Jules want to put on costumes and party hats and go through some charade, that’s their business. If it weren’t so ineffably bittersweet, it would be comedic.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Except George the religious right these days is less concerned about God than it is about controlling the state. In their minds control of the gov’t is just about the only thing worth thinking about so if the gov’t happens to ‘reject’ their view of marriage it isn’t a meaningless gesture to them.
    Hence all this hypoventillating about how legalized gay marriage will destroy civilization by next tuesday!

  • RB

    Boonytunes says:
    “Except George the religious right these days is less concerned about God than it is about controlling the state. In their minds control of the gov’t is just about the only thing worth thinking about…”
    This is the pot filled with anti-matter calling the kettle black. It is also a stark example of the prejudice toward the ‘religious right’ that is completely acceptable in Boon’s eyes. As if he knows the mind of George, and every other mind he pretends to understand…

  • George

    Boonton, I don’t disagree that a lot of the religious right, and left, want to have political power. The same is true of the atheist right and left, and, in fact, any way you want to slice and dice the demographic. To observe the lust for power within mankind is to merely open one’s eyes and look.
    In my opinion, civilization will either stand or fall on two major issues. (And, just to be sure we’re talking about the same thing, I am referring to the Judaeo-Christian version that reached its intellectual peak in the Enlightenment and whose most beautiful and flawless instantiation is the US Constitution.)
    First, is civilization willing to defend itself from outside threat? I’m not sure it is. I think civilization is tired. Tired out by war and constant attack from those who would seek to destroy it. Shar’ia is a good example of this, where a deranged ecclesiocracy trumps the rights and dignity of men and women. A global ummah is a far greater civilizational threat than a tiny percentage of homosexuals.
    Second, can it treat its own dis-ease? Its beneficiaries have been so incredibly blessed by God and the ingenuity of humankind that they have become bored, lazy, and nihilistic/solipsistic. We swim in an ocean of blessings and, like fish, never realize that the water of freedom and human dignity we live in is a fragile singularity in human history. We believe we can indulge our senses and our selfishness by wantonly killing the innocent, aged, and helpless, spend our days in the quest for attention, power, and simply more, elevate the status of language to reality, and demote reality to the status of an illusion, Truth to the status of superstition.
    For those fellow Christians who might read this, let me tell you as a brother that my heart tells me we would be much better servants of Christ if we spent more time in ghettos, hospices, and prisons – and prayer – than peering in windows ferreting out other people’s sin. As Christians, we have absolutely nothing to fear. Nothing. The Holy Spirit has preserved the body of Christ in the catacombs of Caligula’s Rome and in the house churches of the People’s Republic of China. “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you,, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” No, I’m not worried about the government.

  • The Raven

    We interrupt your regularly scheduled round of gay-bashing to bring you this important announcement:
    WASHINGTON – A former Bush aide claims that evangelical Christians were embraced for political gain at the White House but derided privately as “nuts,” “ridiculous” and “goofy.”
    Link here: http://www.dailybulletin.com/news/ci_4488523
    You’ve been used, confused, and abused by this adminstration. Why, like a pack of whipped dogs, do you keep crawling back to them for more?

  • RB

    George,
    Thank you. Very eloquent and much to think about. Though I know it was not specifically addressed to me, I appreciate the words. As someone who is tired of the political scene, and tired of the struggle for power that you discuss, it is extremely good to hear a plea for a higher plane.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    This is the pot filled with anti-matter calling the kettle black. It is also a stark example of the prejudice toward the ‘religious right’ that is completely acceptable in Boon’s eyes. As if he knows the mind of George, and every other mind he pretends to understand…
    Tsk tsk RB, I never claimed to know the mind of George. George’s post clearly disagrees with the religious right in that he states it doesn’t matter if the state has legal marriage or not for gays because religion would continue to have domain over marriage as a sacred institution.
    I’m not sure what you even mean by prejudice here except to demonstrate even more that the right (and especially the religious right) has in their brief time in power fallen victim to just about all of the flaws that the left fell victim too when it had power. Especially galling here is the scramble to embrace the victimization mentality (he disagrees with me therefore it must be prejudice!!!).
    George;
    I think you give radical Muslims too much credit. As ‘tired’ as civilization may be there is no evidence, IMO, that Islamists are getting anywhere in getting people to pledge support to a ‘global ummah’ except in places that were already backward and primitive to begin with.
    As for whether civilization can treat its own ‘dis-ease’…like many who have a thing for story lines that revolve around the decline and fall of great civilizations asserting that society is sick today implies that it was healthy yesturday. I don’t see a case that civilization in, say, 1950 or 1940 or 1930, was any less sick than it is today. In many ways it is better, more honest and less hung up with old prejudices. I’m not going to make the case for eternal optimism (such as the Star Trek idea that history is on a glorious march towards better and better…although with cheesy special effects) but I’m also not buying the ‘decline and fall’ line either.
    We tend to forget unpleasent things and remember pleasent ones so when we remember the past we often romanticize it. The society of, say, 1930, was compared to our own much more stupid and cruel in its own way. It was a society that felt a law against lynching was ‘radical’. That embraced racists and fascists and almost made them national leaders in the US and did elsewhere. There was of course great good but it’s good to take a dose of tonic to avoid falling victim to the biases of our perceptions.

  • http://braincrampsforgod.blogspot.com/ JCHFleetguy

    Raven,
    This is a popular meme at Street Prophets also, but it is actually a non-starter politically. I for one (and I know Joe isn’t) – nor any evangelicals I know – are being led around the nose by “wedge issues” by the Republican leadership. Us here Christianists are smarter than that. Really.
    The insult in this (by you) is obvious. The more the left implies we are so easily led – the more you insult folk – the less likely you are to put forward a positive platform I could support; and trust me, I do not love the Bush Administration either as a political or a religious conservative.
    So, unless you want me to believe that John Kerry would have held conservative evangelicals in higher esteem than the Republican leadership – then come up with a plan that I can support.
    Or make this clear insult the core of the next three weeks of organizing – although I think that will help the Republican Party retain a conservative Christian base I am not sure they deserve to retain.

  • RB

    Boony,
    You claimed to know the mind of every member of the religious right (and that they are more concerned about the state than God) except George. That is blatantly prejudicial. Further, in George’s response, he went on to point out exactly the truth that you continue to miss; the left and right of all religious/non religious stripe include seekers of power in the state.
    Pointing out your prejudice is simply that. I claim no stake as victim, and in fact feel that you are much more the victim of your clouded thinking demonstrated here. Tsk, tsk to you Boony, you try to represent George as in agreement with you on the whole, instead of the one issue; but this is your way… folks are used to you parsing smaller matters as more important than or instructive of the broader issue..

  • http://kevinjmiller.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    So far I’ve only seen two arguments on this blog that legalized gay marriage would create an infringement on religious liberty.
    1. From Gordon: Churches that refuse to accept gay marriage would be attacked by speech codes that would label their rejection ‘hate speech’.
    2. From Joe: Churches that entangle themselves in public businesses may be required to recognize gay marriages or lose special exemptions or other favors.

    At least 2 others come to mind:
    1. Hiring, firing and benefits. Many churches hire (and occasionally fire) employees from janiters to organists and soloists to program directors. I can see churches in effect being forced to hire gay “married” people, and pay spousal benefits for their partners.
    2. Pastorial assignments. By example, given what is going on in the Episcopal church I could see a bishop using the legalization of gay marriage and associated anti-discrimination laws (e.g., threat of suit) to force a congreagation to accept a parish to accept a pastor who’s views and practices are at odds with their own.
    In my opinion neither of these situations are the church extending involvement beyond traditional church roles. Instead they are cases of the state extending it’s rules into church affairs.

  • The Raven

    “The insult in this (by you) is obvious.”
    Actually, JCH, I truly believe that Kerry would have held Christians in higher esteem than the current administration does. I don’t think he would have pandered for your vote and then laughed at you behind your backs, as the Bush people do.
    Yet, as we see here, there seems to be some kind of necessity for supporting the GOP that comes included with every free copy of Gideon’s Bible. Which I find rather odd, since the Democrats appear to be offering a family-oriented platform of issues that speak more strongly to Christian values than the Republican machine that seeks only to drive government contracts to cronies and reward credit card companies and Big Pharma, while waging war on people halfway around the world who had nothing to do September 11.
    We’ll win the country back for America and re-dedicate our government’s respect for the Constitution with or without the support of evanglicals. It would be easier though, if you guys would recognize who your real friends (and enemies) actually are.

  • RB

    Boons,
    Just a reminder, these were your words…
    “the religious right these days is less concerned about God than it is about controlling the state”
    Prejudice: unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, esp. of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.
    From the dictionary. Plain enough. Unless of course you can support the statement that every person associated with the ‘religious right’ except for George cares more about controlling the state than concern for God.
    This statement of yours is way more than some sort of ‘he doesn’t agree with me’ thing, it’s you defining in negative terms the mindset of a whole group of people; by and large people you do not know and have not had experience with..
    Now, prove you’re an adult, and that you can judge adult behavior and admit the error of your ways…

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    You claimed to know the mind of every member of the religious right (and that they are more concerned about the state than God) except George. That is blatantly prejudicial. Further, in George’s response, he went on to point out exactly the truth that you continue to miss; the left and right of all religious/non religious stripe include seekers of power in the state.
    How is that prejudicial? You can claim that I’m wrong, that the religious right care more about God than state power but to make such a claim is not some type of prejudice against a religion or even the ‘religious right’ (which, BTW, I did not give a formal definition of so we can argue about who would or wouldn’t be included in that group).
    Tsk, tsk to you Boony, you try to represent George as in agreement with you on the whole, instead of the one issue; but this is your way…
    That’s odd since I just posted that I disagreed with George in his assessment of civilization’s vulnerability to Islamicism as well as his diagnosis of its internal vulnerabilities… While we do seem to be in agreement on the topic of this thread (legalizing gay marriage will not infringe on religious liberty) I think I made it pretty clear that we differ on the larger issues he raised.
    Kevin:
    1. Hiring, firing and benefits. Many churches hire (and occasionally fire) employees from janiters to organists and soloists to program directors. I can see churches in effect being forced to hire gay “married” people, and pay spousal benefits for their partners.
    So how would this be different than, say, a Catholic Church that hires janitors but then discovers some of them had gotten a legal divorce and remarried? They will insist upon the same spousal benefits that their never-divorced co-workers get won’t they?
    Someone else might want to chime in here on employment law but I suspect Churches are often exempt from many of the non-discrimination laws that effect a business establishment. If they weren’t then you’d have an absurd situation where, say, a Baptist Church would have to give equal consideration to non-Baptists when hiring, say, a minister.
    2. Pastorial assignments. By example, given what is going on in the Episcopal church I could see a bishop using the legalization of gay marriage and associated anti-discrimination laws (e.g., threat of suit) to force a congreagation to accept a parish to accept a pastor who’s views and practices are at odds with their own.
    I think any such suit or threat of a suit would use the organizations written bylaws as its basis rather than governmental anti-discrimination laws. For example, I believe I read there’s resistence in the Episcopal Church to appointing women as Bishops. While a congreagation may resist this the case would rest upon how the Episcopal Church has been set up as a legal entity (who owns the local Church for example, the national group or the local congreagation). If anti-discrimination laws applied then not only would the local Episcopal’s be trumped but so would the Catholic Church which refuses to have women priests.
    All in all these are just variations on the question of what degree various types of antidiscrimination laws can and should apply to churches and other religious groups. This is a different question than gay marriage. If you believe antidiscrimination laws should always be applied equally to churches then rejecting gay marriage isn’t much of an answer since there’s lot of situations where we can imagine such laws being invoked to force Churches to do things they don’t want to do. If that’s your concern as far as religious liberty is concerned then you should focus not on gay marriage but on making clear limits on the reach of antidiscrimination laws so churches have enough room to be free.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Prejudice: unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, esp. of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.
    From the dictionary. Plain enough. Unless of course you can support the statement that every person associated with the ‘religious right’ except for George cares more about controlling the state than concern for God.
    I think you should note your definition. First the ‘religious right’ is neither a racial or national group. It is also not a religious group but rather a political group. If you have ‘negative feelings’ about the group “Catholics for John Kerry for President” that is not prejudice against Catholics.
    Likewise my statement was neither hostile nor expressing an unreasonable feeling, opinion or attitude. I feel the political group that is often called the ‘religious right’ does give higher priority to getting their way on issues of state policy than it does on God. If you want to quibble then I should have technically said this is an observation of their behavior as I cannot see into their minds to know their underlying motivations so I can only evaluate their public statements and behaviors.
    Notice how this little victimization side track diverted attention from the real point that George raised? Namely that state recognition of gay marriage was irrelevant to the status of a marriage from a sacred perspective. We have been told the exact opposite by the religious right. That preventing this was vital not only to marriage but civilization itself. It’s clear that the religious right has made the exact opposite argument that George has made. That should not be lost in this attempt at a red herring.

  • RB

    Boon,
    I know you only like to quibble when it’s you that chooses the item to quibble about; but again, par for the course.
    What you did was take whole groups of people -anyone religious, and anyone politically right or conservative, and cast them both (when fused together) in an extremely negative light as more concerned with holding power in the state versus caring about their highest stated priority of faith and concern with God. I would also expect that you have been paying attention to what these groups, together and apart, are saying about God, and in what amounts, so that you could fairly weigh your inaccurate statement. (Lest we get into fantasy worlds)
    The reason that you did that was to try and draw people into thinking they (religious/right–and by the way that’s not a real group of people until I choose to define it)have nothing important to say about the gay marriage issue because they are obviously power hungry hypocrites.
    If it matters, I see some real validity to what George said on the issue; however, I think there are some serious pitfalls for the church. The church has to bow to the state in many, many respects, and the state’s decision on this issue has potential for causing the church to act in ways that would be in opposition to their moral stance..

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Joe,

    This may be a candidate for worse post ever. You don’t even try to motivate your claim that your religious freedom is threatened.

    There is still time to protect our religious freedoms.

    How would state sanction of gay marriage affect any church? You will be free to advocate and practice bigotry toward gays just like churches in Mass. can do now.

    Religious freedom does not mean freedom from being called a bigot when you practice bigotry.

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Eric & Lisa,

    Black folks couldn’t attend white church at one time but the law does not allow a church to discriminate against a person of color. So just as a church is not allowed to discriminate against a persons race, neither should a church be allowed to discriminate against a persons sexual preference (Er, sorry, orientation).

    Is there any doubt this is the arguments we will face?

    I should have addressed my comment above to you as well. You almost seem to pine for the days when one could discriminate against a person of color and not be called a racisit.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    If it matters, I see some real validity to what George said on the issue; however, I think there are some serious pitfalls for the church. The church has to bow to the state in many, many respects, and the state’s decision on this issue has potential for causing the church to act in ways that would be in opposition to their moral stance..
    On the contrary, the state bows to the Church in many ways…at least in the US. The only examples given here are highly hypothetical ones where none of us really has a good handle on the answer…(could a church insist on only hiring a janitor from among their members or must they give fair consideration to those who do not share its religion but are perfectly good janitors). The other example was a real life case not of gay marriage but of how a church can end up running afoul of antidiscrimination laws when it embarks on a business…even there though the Church wasn’t bowing to the state but only considering whether or not to change their policies to accept a goodie (tax exempt status) the state offered. Again I’d ask if the Nation of Islam was confronted by the state telling them their adoption services had to stop discriminating against whites or lose their tax exempt status would you consider it a case of the state infringing on religious liberty?

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick (gryphmon)

    To be honest Joe, the first thought that came to mind when reading your post was: “pathetic”.
    The second was “great, now Joe is turning into one of those pod-people right in front of our eyes”. The day you start believing Gallagher as a reliable source of information is same day you should also start believing in little grey aliens with anal probes.
    So Joe, did you actually have any specific actual example of a church being discriminated against on the basis of gay marriage? Was the Roman Catholic Church in any way forced to change its views on gay marriage or adoption? If so, by whom? Prior to the ruckus, it had actually placed children with gay couples. Then it decided not to. In what way did the State compel this decision? Well?
    Incidentally, if it was one of those quasi-Mormon Churches that believe in polygamy, that was running the adoption agency, would you be happy if they placed the children with a plural-marriage couple? Or would you be grateful for state interference with a religious group?
    I suggest Christians stop and REALLY THINK before they decide to jump head-first into the pool of the Culture of Victim-hood. It will destroy your religion far more easily and permanently than the apparently horrible burden of having to tolerate people you don’t like.
    Pfft!

  • RB

    “Again I’d ask if the Nation of Islam was confronted by the state telling them their adoption services had to stop discriminating against whites or lose their tax exempt status would you consider it a case of the state infringing on religious liberty?”
    I don’t know anything about the Nation of Islam’s adoption policies, and won’t pretend that I do. I do think that marriage is something that is much more intertwined between the state and the church in concept and in practice. But, I’ll reserve comment on the Nation of Islam. It would be ill informed. I know, that’s never stopped me before…at least I beat you to that one.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick (gryphmon)

    There is still time to protect our religious freedoms. Twenty states have already added constitutional amendments to protect the traditional definition of marriage; next month eight more states will vote on the issue. All Christians need to speak up now. Or we may soon find that we have no choice but to forever hold our piece.

    You shouldn’t hold your “piece” in public anyway, it frightens the pigeons.
    Really, could you possibly get more silly and hysterical? Apparently Liberty Sunday served up LSD along with its Kool-Aid. Apparently the doors were locked so tight you have suffered oxygen deprivation.
    You know, Joe, what this is really about is that the politicos that Christian Evangelicals have placed in charge of their religion in the US now, have looked at the poll numbers and have realized that using gay marriage to stoke anti-gay prejudice isn’t working quite as well as it did in the last election to move people to the polls. Since its been outlawed in so many places now, its started to run out of steam to drive voters to vote for their political masters.
    So they needed to find a new hype to try and raise the hysteria factor. So now, not only are those EVIL HOMOSEXUALS out to ruin your marriage, those same EVIL HOMOSEXUALS are coming after your religious freedoms too.
    Yes, Joe, me being able to marry my boyfriend is going prevent you from being a Christian. Puh-lease.

  • RB

    “the apparently horrible burden of having to tolerate people you don’t like”
    It should be made clear that our culture has been promoting confusion between tolerance and acceptance. Those are two distinctly different ideas.
    One can fully tolerate people they don’t agree with, without accepting the policies they wish to impose on the state and in some cases the church.

  • Moby

    It looks like Rove has his strategy set. Get people to fear gays and tell them they’re better of economically. It doesn’t pass in the blog world but on Fox and hate radio, yes.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Jeremy Aren’t churches going to be much safer in restricting marriage to male-female couples if the government doesn’t allow itself to deal in marriage to begin with?
    Initially, that was what I thought would be the worst-case scenario. Get government out of the “marriage business” and the problem goes away. But the problem is that the government can’t be extricated from marriage without removing itself from marriage-related issues such as property division in divorces, alimony, child support, family law, custody, “spousal abuse”, etc.
    Colin … immediately removing the church (if it chose to be consistent) from participation in public life.
    That is it exactly. We can still hold our views – we just can’t hold them in public.
    The Raven You’ve been used, confused, and abused by this adminstration.
    I’m confused, Raven. Does the Religious Right have so much power that we have to fear a theocracy or are we so impotent that we’re abused and dismissed by the administration? Which is it exactly because the claims seem to change to fit the latest storyline?
    AndyS You will be free to advocate and practice bigotry toward gays just like churches in Mass. can do now.
    This main concern isn’t with churches, but with individuals. Mitt Romney made some excellent points last night:

    Of course, the principal burden of this court’s ruling doesn’t fall on adults; it falls on children. We’re asked to change the state birth certificate: to prevent heterocentricity, mother and father would become Parent A and Parent B. An elementary school teacher reads to a second grader from a book titled “The King and the King” about a prince who marries a prince, and a second grader’s father is denied the right to have his child taken out of that classroom while the book is being read. Our state’s most difficult-to-place adopted children may no longer placed by Catholic Charities because they favor homes where there’s a mother and a father. The price of same-sex marriage is paid by the children. Our fight for marriage, then, should focus on the needs of children, not the rights of adults.

    Why don’t you just be honest, Andy? You would be more than happy if Christians who opposed the normalization of homosexuality were treated like racists, wouldn’t you?
    Patrick The day you start believing Gallagher as a reliable source of information is same day you should also start believing in little grey aliens with anal probes.
    If you disagree with the conclusions of the Beckett Fund (who I mainly quoted from in my post) then you are free to offer evidence to the contrary.
    So Joe, did you actually have any specific actual example of a church being discriminated against on the basis of gay marriage?
    So far the discrimination has mainly been on the individual level. The main problem—and same-sex marriage will only codify it into law is when homosexuality is treated as a protected class like race or gender. Once that is established, then Christians either have to stop speaking out about their beliefs or they have to suffer the consequences.
    For example, the Republican Governor of Maryland dismissed a Metro transit authority board member because he publicly stated that his faith teaches that homosexuality is a “deviant” behavior. Robert Smith was fired from his government job even though his position has nothing to do with hiring or other matters that would infringe on “diversity.” And in Minnesota, a psychologist was suspended from the Minneapolis Police Department because he once served on the board of the Illinois Family Institute (IFI), a group which, like FRC, advocates traditional family values.
    The same-sex marriage agenda wants to make it so that Christians are treated like racists. Those who discriminate on the basis of race are rightly shunned and have their views excluded from civil society. You can’t, for example, be a teacher in this country if you are openly racist. The same will soon be true of people who believe that homosexuality is, as Robert Smith, said, “deviant behavior.”

  • Moby

    Joe, Does the Religious Right have so much power that we have to fear a theocracy or are we so impotent that we’re abused and dismissed by the administration? Which is it exactly because the claims seem to change to fit the latest storyline?
    _____
    We’re not to fear the Theocracy because its hypocritical? They are always hypocritical. Rove and et al used the Evangelicals and they used the political power.

  • John Wyatt

    Our “born-again” president causes the deaths of approximately 1/2 million people in a war of naked agression in Iraq and tortures detainees and the religious right speaks out about the so-called “homosexual agenda”?

  • Rob Ryan

    It’s sad that of all the rights that are under assault, the right to be a bigot is the most hotly defended.

  • Dan

    I don’t understand why this isn’t an issue. Marriage is hardly the institution that it used to be. What is left to defend or gain? A license that says your married? Tax breaks? Hooray…
    Seriously though, marriage is hardly necessary this day and age. It isn’t for political or socio-economic gain; it isn’t for survival; it isn’t to produce off-spring (the average american family produces 2.5 children year…); it barely qualifies as a convenience (divorce rates are around 50%, married couples have become a minority compared to couples co-habitating). Yet, for some reason people choose to line up for standard operable insults of the day, defending a position that, quite frankly, isn’t worth defending. Homosexuals will end up treating marriage the same way as the average American family does.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Rob Ryan It’s sad that of all the rights that are under assault, the right to be a bigot is the most hotly defended.
    Ah, yes, we Christians are the bigots. Tell me, Rob, do you oppose polygamy? If so, are you also a bigot?

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick (Gryph)

    The same-sex marriage agenda wants to make it so that Christians are treated like racists. Those who discriminate on the basis of race are rightly shunned and have their views excluded from civil society. You can’t, for example, be a teacher in this country if you are openly racist. The same will soon be true of people who believe that homosexuality is, as Robert Smith, said, “deviant behavior.”

    Nonsense, you can be a racist teacher as much as you want, provided you can find a school to hire you. And some do. Bob Jones University ring a bell?
    You are confusing religion with race. Its an odd argument to make coming from a group that often thinks gay people can be fairly discriminated against because of their sexual “preference”, AKA choice.
    Isn’t religion a “choice”? For that matter, isn’t political affiliation? You do know don’t you that while I can fire you for being a Republican I can’t fire you for being a Christian. Of course in many places I could actually fire you for being heterosexual. Although not in West Hollywood.
    I’m sorry but you don’t get to have the right to express ideas, religious or otherwise, free from the burden of having to deal with other people who disagree with those ideas. America is not a “no-disagreement” zone. And I not only disagreeing with many of your ideas but I challenge them as being invalid.
    You have freedom of speech Joe, but you what you don’t have, and what no one has EVER had, is complete and total freedom from all the consequences of that speech.
    Welcome to the way it is for the rest of us Americans who don’t get to use religion as a shield for prejudice.

  • wino

    Religions have been getting away with murder, literally, for centuries. Now they are a tad upset because if the bigotry is ended and gays are allowed to marry, churches that don’t take part might have a hard time of it?
    First of all, it’s clear that churches can be as bigoted and irrational as they like. Just look at the kind of tripe they push already. There’s hardly any worry they would have problems by simply continuing to offer mushy reasoning and indulge in trite dogmas.

  • Alexander Scott

    Everyone is treating this issue like Christians have to defend their vote. I can vote for anything on the ballot that I please and for any of the choices that I please. If 50.1% of the people agree with me, I win. Otherwise, I lose. That’s democracy – so what’s your whine about? Should I not vote? Should I vote against my beliefs to satisfy other people who seem to disagree with every other belief I hold? Or should I not be allowed a choice at the ballot either?
    There are some people who offer good arguments. Unfortunately, many of the same people get wrapped up in their dislike of social conservatives and the message gets drowned out. I am open to persuasive arguments, and I’ve heard some that are reasonable. But I believe that defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman is good for individuals, families, children, society, and America as a whole. And any chance I get to vote on it, I will. I live in MN, so my side won’t win that vote, but I am still going to vote for what I believe is best.
    If you don’t like that Christians vote for their beliefs, change the Constitution to eliminate democracy. If you want judges to determine all soical policies, change the Constitution so that all social issues are decided by a panel of judges (not sarcasm; Canada seems to have this system and they remain #2 on the places I’d want to live). If you want to change the mind of voters, don’t insult our churches, religious leaders, or the President while making your argument. And you have to accept that in the end we may make a different choice than you want us to.

  • http://www.grphmon.com Patrick (Gryph)

    Everyone is treating this issue like Christians have to defend their vote. I can vote for anything on the ballot that I please and for any of the choices that I please. If 50.1% of the people agree with me, I win. Otherwise, I lose. That’s democracy – so what’s your whine about? Should I not vote? Should I vote against my beliefs to satisfy other people who seem to disagree with every other belief I hold? Or should I not be allowed a choice at the ballot either?

    You are describing mob rule, not democracy, as practiced in a constitutional republic like the United States.
    And you are free to vote however you like. But maybe you should consider not voting until you take and pass a basic civics class first.
    Sorry, but I’m tired of being told I have to respect someone’s opinion because their prejudice is based on their religion. No ideas or beliefs are sacrosanct and above criticism when criticism is due.

  • Alexander Scott

    I have taken a basic civics class (it was the national competition government course). Perhaps you would like to get out your credentials and continue to bully people you don’t agree with into not voting, all in the name of democracy!
    Sarcasm aside, I didn’t ask you to “respect” my beliefs. But if you offer no respect for my opinion and call it prejudice instead of reason, why should I listen to you? And if people like me are the majority (and consider the track-record for defense of marriage initiatives at the ballot), why is it rational for you to continue to insult and berate the majority? Do you think that you will win supporters to your side through insults? You do your “side” a disservice to insult Christians when you should be considering how best to convert them to your way of thinking.
    Of course, you can just accept that your fellow citizens are too ignorant/irrational/evil to be persuaded on SSM. Then I guess your only recourse will be to whine in forums.

  • The Raven

    “Sorry, but I’m tired of being told I have to respect someone’s opinion because their prejudice is based on their religion. No ideas or beliefs are sacrosanct and above criticism when criticism is due.”
    Hear hear! This is a sentiment that ought to become the prevailing view in this country – in every nation around the world. Ideas and those who propose them ought to be always challengable. There should be no “safe zone” or firewall behind which people can hide when they espouse lunacy. I am not required to “respect” the opinion of someone who believes in angels and demons, for instance, simply because the matter falls beneath the rubric of religious belief. It’s ignorant, foolish rubbish then it can be so labeled.
    Folk superstitions are not rational thought and deserve to be publically ridiculed when a proponent argues that they should be the basis of law and government.

  • Alexander Scott

    Assuming anyone is interested in discussing rational solutions to the divide over SSM, here is an idea.
    1. Gays and lesbians can already get unofficial church weddings, if they so desire. It is unrecognized by the state but no one is stopping anyone from getting a UCC blessing and some other denominations offer it as well.
    2. State weddings conferring the status of “married” will not be accepted by the majority of people in a majority of states. Probably not a Consitutional majority but enough that SSM will be like abortion, with people highly resistant to judicial imposition of a national standard and likely to resist for generations.
    3. Most folks are sympathetic to the argument that heartless bureaucracies in courts and health care systems necessitate some kind of standardized legal package that confers guardianship, power of attorney, and what not to a designated person. This isn’t my idea (it’s been floating for a while), but I think that it is the most likely to pass approval at the ballot box.
    This certainly doesn’t give the SSM people much of what they want, but they’re the ones trying to rewrite our culture so I think the burden rests on them to compromise. They would get:
    1. church blessings depending on the doctrine of the church
    2. easy to complete form granting legal rights applicable to any group of people (not necessarily GLBT and extending to more than 2 people).
    They don’t get:
    3. use of the word “marriage”. There are probably some things not able to be covered in point 2, like taking the fifth for your spouse.
    This is so far as I can see, the extent of what SSM can get at the ballot box. I certainly think that some states like MA could approve SSM at the ballot, but they seem to prefer their judges to do the heavy lifting for them. I know others will disagree, so my question to them is: “what more do you think you can get at the ballot, and how will you change people’s minds to achieve that goal?” An alternative is to say that some court will eventually rescind all state consitutional amendments on this issue and force everyone to accept SSM. If that’s your strategy, I’d like to hear that too.

  • Alexander Scott

    Raven -
    I’ll tell you the same thing I told P(G) – it is juvenile and counter-productive to insult an opponent whose mind you are trying to change. If you think you can set the course of America without any Christians on your team, then I doubt you will succeed. But you have every right to mock Christian beliefs, and we have every right to vote against yours. If this is your strategy, you had better hope you are the majority.
    I just don’t see where Raven and those like him are going with this argument.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I don’t know anything about the Nation of Islam’s adoption policies, and won’t pretend that I do. I do think that marriage is something that is much more intertwined between the state and the church in concept and in practice. But, I’ll reserve comment on the Nation of Islam. It would be ill informed. I know, that’s never stopped me before…at least I beat you to that one.
    Doctrine wise the NOI believes whites are devils and blacks are racially superior and that blacks should not mix with whites. While I have no idea if they have now or ever tried to run an adoption agency it doesn’t seem that hard to guess what their policy would be regarding whites seeking to adopt black children. I respect that you won’t address a hypothetical but isn’t this entire thread predicated on a hypothetical?
    Joe:
    The same-sex marriage agenda wants to make it so that Christians are treated like racists. Those who discriminate on the basis of race are rightly shunned and have their views excluded from civil society. You can’t, for example, be a teacher in this country if you are openly racist. The same will soon be true of people who believe that homosexuality is, as Robert Smith, said, “deviant behavior.”
    This has nothing to do with religious liberty. Racists like those at Bob Jones University are shunned by other Christians yet that doesn’t infringe on their liberty to be racists or claim racism is endorsed by God.
    As you should know Joe, there’s a big difference between freedom from government oppression and freedom from society’s disapproval. If gay advocates convince a large portion of society that nothing is wrong with gays then yes indeed those who maintain the opposite will feel left out. So what? That’s how a free society works. What a long slide Christianity has taken if it has gone from being proud that they were being fed to the lions for their beliefs to whining that they aren’t invited to tea parties anymore.
    Again this has nothing to do with gay marriage. Are Catholics looked down upon because they do not accept the marriages of people like Joe? No but even if they are is that an argument for outlawing Joe’s current marriage? Sorry Joe, you can’t marry because maybe someone would disrespect a Catholic if the state’s marriage laws didn’t conform to Catholic doctrine regarding divorce.

  • The Raven

    Alex: So you find the proposition that any idea can be challenged is insulting? Curious.
    For a clear illustration of what I’m talking about, take a look at the following:
    http://www.stop42colorado.org/TelevisionAds/tabid/681/Default.aspx
    I ask you – is this kosher?

  • Alexander Scott

    Raven-
    What are you talking about? I’m all for challenging ideas; I do it to myself constantly. On what basis do you claim that I think “the proposition that any idea can be challenged is insulting?” I said that you shouldn’t insult when you try to persuade. You said:
    >>”There should be no “safe zone” or firewall behind which people can hide when they espouse lunacy. I am not required to “respect” the opinion of someone who believes in angels and demons, for instance, simply because the matter falls beneath the rubric of religious belief. It’s ignorant, foolish rubbish then it can be so labeled.
    Folk superstitions are not rational thought and deserve to be publically ridiculed when a proponent argues that they should be the basis of law and government. ”

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    Joe,

    Why don’t you just be honest, Andy? You would be more than happy if Christians who opposed the normalization of homosexuality were treated like racists, wouldn’t you?

    I’ll be happy when you stop pretending you speak for all Christians. Lots of Christians accept homosexuality and are not scared of same-sex marriage.

    I believe one of the most important moral acts a person can perform is speaking out when a bigot talks and acts like a bigot.

  • http://www.cruxofthematter.com R. Stanton Scott

    Joe: “The same-sex marriage agenda wants to make it so that Christians are treated like racists.”
    The “same sex marriage agenda,” to the extent that an “agenda” can be a purposive actor, seeks only equal treatment for homosexual as for heterosexual relationships with respect to rights, obligations, and priveleges conferred by the state.
    For the state, “marriage” is little more than a contract that regulates joint property ownership and gives spouses priveleged legal positions with regard to other claimants of privelege, such as business partners or blood relatives. If it were about children, my own marriage contract would be unecessary.
    Allowing homosexual couples to secure these protections from the state has nothing to do with your “religious liberty.” It will in no way affect your ability or your right to worship as you please, unless you believe that doing so requires forcing the state to privelege your group over others simply because you interpret the Bible in a certain way. Indeed, the fact that so much of American law seems to do so (abortion, cloning, gambling, prostitution, drug prohibition, alcohol sales regulation, marriage law, tax deference for some churches but not others, religious slogans on money, state protection of religious but not sexual choices, bans on sexual activity, pornography laws) indicates that whether or not the GOP regards evangelicals as nothing more than easy votes, we may already be living in a theocracy.
    If the “religious liberty” you seek to protect is the “liberty” to discriminate and demonize those who do not share your interpretation of the Bible, then I for one support state infringement.

  • Rob Ryan

    “Tell me, Rob, do you oppose polygamy?”
    No, although as a married man I don’t see why any man would choose to place himself at the mercy of multiple women. ;-) My wife could use an extra husband, though, to do the onerous tasks I avoid, like wallpapering and talking about my “feelings”.
    I can see how polygamy might lead to legal hassles, but I’m not inclined to interfere with domestic alliances between (or among) consenting adults.
    Is the next question about bestiality? That’s the normal progression in these discussions, I believe.

  • The Raven

    Alexander: “you seem to be saying that religious belief is “lunacy”, “ignorant,foolish rubbish”, “folk superstition”, “not rational thought”, and “deserving of public ridicule”.
    Well, yes, I do say that religious belief is lunacy – but note the context! I’m not going make that statement nor will I publically ridicule anyone for their beliefs as long as they express themselves in a manner consistent with the nature of their philosophy. Perhaps an example will help. Consider two parents, Christian scientists, who refuse to allow their child needed medicine and avow that prayer alone will be efficacious. Should this become a legal matter, then in court they must assert a rationale for their decision. The fact that it is religious in nature should not be a factor in the court’s ruling.
    Another: Religious propaganda has no place in our schools. If someone thinks the Bible should be taught as fact in History 101, I’m leading the charge to refute them. But that person has every right to go to church and discuss the Bible with fellow believers – no problem there. More! That individual is totally free to conduct Sunday School lessons based on the Bible to classes of youngsters. Again – no foul whatsoever. That’s freedom in action and completely permissible.
    Do you see the difference here? It’s when the religious faith-claim of something or other, say, the assertion that we have something called a soul, is brought into the public arena and is forwarded as a point of fact, then I say it can be challenged just as can any other fact, and there is nothing protective about the fact that this particular item of dispute is a faith-claim.

  • jpe

    Same sex marriage is wholly independent of other measures to eliminate discrimination.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Joe: “The same-sex marriage agenda wants to make it so that Christians are treated like racists.”
    OHHH MY GOD!!!!! SOMEONE CALL RB!!! PREJUDICE PREJUDICE PREJUDICE!!!!
    1. How does Joe presume to ‘know the mind’ of all same-sex marriage advocates? One of the most recognized of these is Andrew Sullivan who advocates abolishing all governmental discrimination but explicitly permitting private discrimination not only by Churches and such but even by private businesses.
    2. Isn’t this “Prejudice: unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, esp. of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.” Where’s RB to jump in here and defend us????

  • RB

    Boony,
    You could be right. Is an “agenda” a group of people of the religious, racial, national sort? Perhaps it is in the manner Joe made his statement. I’m sure not ready to say that all people who support SSM are trying to say that those who oppose are equal to racists, and I think it would’ve been better to word such differently. Some here in this thread have certainly staked out that claim. What do you think, Boon, are we just like the racists? Maybe Joe will pull back on that, it does seem wrong.
    What’s clear is that you seemed to get worked up about this, to the point you were waiting for any sentence to pounce on; sort of hilarious, really. And if you look at where I was going with this, it seems rather easy to consider people who disagree with you as prejudiced, bigoted, hypocrites, fill in the blank. It’s just very hard to look within yourself, and realize that maybe you (meaning all of us) harbor unreasonable feelings about large groups of folks, too. It’s worth thinking about and worth being careful, I believe.
    On the other hand, it’s really just more fun to throw out large, negative statements against large groups…maybe I’ll have to completely reconsider this…
    Hope I helped you out, and thanks for the call, big guy..

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Is an “agenda” a group of people of the religious, racial, national sort? Perhaps it is in the manner Joe made his statement.
    Joe used the phrase “the SSM agenda” which divorces it from actual people who advocate same sex marriage. This does have the effect of dehumanizing it. In reality there is no ‘agenda’ that thinks, talks and advocates but really people who each have their own unique set of arguments. While those with similar arguments can be grouped together (those who support SSM, those who oppose it etc.). Doing so gains us simplicity but costs us information. Does simplyfing those who support SSM as “the SSM agenda” allow us to gain enough clarity on the issue to make up for the loss of understanding? I don’t think so in this case but you can disagree.
    Some here in this thread have certainly staked out that claim. What do you think, Boon, are we just like the racists? Maybe Joe will pull back on that, it does seem wrong.
    I think some opposed are very much like racists in that they are animated more by hostility towards gays than anything else. Others I think are not. I think on both sides the comparison is misleading because there seems to be a myth here that racism is illegal hence equating bigotry against gays to racism would effectively make it illegal to have religious objections to homosexuality. The fact is racism is not illegal. Certain practices that may be motivated by racism are illegal but one is free to believe in racism if they wish.
    What’s clear is that you seemed to get worked up about this, to the point you were waiting for any sentence to pounce on; sort of hilarious, really. And if you look at where I was going with this, it seems rather easy to consider people who disagree with you as prejudiced, bigoted, hypocrites, fill in the blank….
    Do you find it at all ironic that while you have choosen to spend so much time declaring yourself a victim of prejudice on this list that Joe’s entire post here basically says if you don’t accept his desired policy you are discriminating against Christians? Seriously I keep throwing up the example of the Catholic Church’s stand on divorce because I don’t think you’d take very serious a Catholic saying legalized divorce is oppression against Catholics…that advocating divorce laws is equilivant to advocating oppression of Catholicism.
    What we have here is almost a parady of left-wing political correctism. If you don’t accept opposition to SSM then you’re committing a hate crime against Christians! If some left wing professor was telling us opposing an affirmative action program was in itself racism you’d all have no trouble seeing through the logical fallacy.

  • RB

    Boon,
    “Do you find it at all ironic that while you have choosen to spend so much time declaring yourself a victim of prejudice”
    I never did that. Am I claiming victim status if I point out Joe’s prejudicial statements about leftists? In fact, I’m not sure that I would even be considered in the religious right, or if they’d want me in their club. What I was pointing out is that your language and commentary concerning that group was prejudicial, especially as it concerned their supposed views and priorities on God and the state, perhaps it would have been better of me to phrase it as a very negative overgeneralization.
    I can see what your trying to get at with the Catholic church scenario. But then, there are many things they espouse that I would reject. But, it is the state that is the big bully with the club, the tax collectors, and the policy setters. I worry way more about them than religious organizations, who can at best influence some gears in the machine..

  • John Wyatt

    I really want to know why…our “born-again” president causes the deaths of approximately 1/2 million people in a war of naked agression in Iraq and tortures detainees and the religious right speaks out about the so-called “homosexual agenda”?
    Any comments on why gay marriage is the most pressing moral issue in the world today and the deaths and torture of innocent people done on our behalf by our christian president is not?
    jwyatt1963@yahoo.com

  • jpe

    All Christians need to speak up now. Or we may soon find that we have no choice but to forever hold our piece.
    Carter must know this is bunk and that this is a scare tactic to get evangelicals to the polls. I’m less and less surprised by the moral relativism of evangelicals.

  • http://jonrowe.blogspot.com Jon Rowe

    I think Joe’s and Maggie’s argument ultimately depends on the way the issue is framed and thought of. Certainly if anti-gay animus is thought of as perfectly analogous to racism, they are right. However, one can both support gay marriage and NOT believe that religious convictions that homosexual acts are immoral are akin to racial bigotry.
    That’s what I argue in this post. (And that’s what I personally believe.)

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I can see what your trying to get at with the Catholic church scenario. But then, there are many things they espouse that I would reject. But, it is the state that is the big bully with the club, the tax collectors, and the policy setters. I worry way more about them than religious organizations, who can at best influence some gears in the machine..
    How is it the state that holds the billy club in this case? We are being told that we must accept the doctrines of a particular religion as public policy otherwise we are guilty of bullying. In fact it is Joe here who is being the bully. If you want to make sure Churches are exempt from anti-discrimination laws then advocate that (I think they are already mostly exempt anyway) but now we are being told if a state decides to have SSM that alone infringes on the religious liberty of Churches that don’t accept SSM. Well what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, perhaps we have been bullying the Catholic Church by having legal divorce. Will Joe advocate ending this infringement of religious liberty by calling fo the abolishment of legal divorce in the US starting with his own?
    Certainly if anti-gay animus is thought of as perfectly analogous to racism, they are right. However, one can both support gay marriage and NOT believe that religious convictions that homosexual acts are immoral are akin to racial bigotry
    True however this is a matter of one’s own beliefs. There is no law against racism. A Church that advocated racism would be properly shunned by the larger society but not because the government says it must be shunned but because most people would find such a Church evil. This is the result of the choices individuals make with their own freedom. The Church that was racist, though, would have no less freedom than any other Church.
    Likewise if most people believed being anti-gay was exactly like racism that too would be the result of their individual freedom. You cannot be an advocate of liberty and also argue that the state has to prevent such a thing from happening because it would be ‘unfair’ to Christians.

  • http://talkwisdom.blogspot.com/ Christinewjc

    Some points to consider from the article:
    “Reading through these and the other scholars’ papers, I noticed an odd feature. Generally speaking the scholars most opposed to gay marriage were somewhat less likely than others to foresee large conflicts ahead–perhaps because they tended to find it “inconceivable,” as Doug Kmiec of Pepperdine law school put it, that “a successful analogy will be drawn in the public mind between irrational, and morally repugnant, racial discrimination and the rational, and at least morally debatable, differentiation of traditional and same-sex marriage.” That’s a key consideration. For if orientation is like race, then people who oppose gay marriage will be treated under law like bigots who opposed interracial marriage. Sure, we don’t arrest people for being racists, but the law does intervene in powerful ways to punish and discourage racial discrimination, not only by government but also by private entities. Doug Laycock, a religious liberty expert at the University of Texas law school, similarly told me we are a “long way” from equating orientation with race in the law.”
    I sincerely hope that last comment holds true.
    Chai Feldblum gets down to the crux of the matter.
    “Not because I was caught up in the panic,” she laughs. She’d been thinking through the moral implications of nondiscrimination rules in the law, a lonely undertaking for a gay rights advocate. “Gay rights supporters often try to present these laws as purely neutral and having no moral implications. But not all discrimination is bad,” Feldblum points out. In employment law, for instance, “we allow discrimination against people who sexually abuse children, and we don’t say ‘the only question is can they type’ even if they can type really quickly.”
    To get to the point where the law prohibits discrimination, Feldblum says, “there have to be two things: one, a majority of the society believing the characteristic on which the person is being discriminated against is not morally problematic, and, two, enough of a sense of outrage to push past the normal American contract-based approach, where the government doesn’t tell you what you can do. There has to be enough outrage to bypass that basic default mode in America. Unlike some of my compatriots in the gay rights movement, I think we advance the cause of gay equality if we make clear there are moral assessments that underlie antidiscrimination laws.”
    But there was a second reason Feldblum made time for this particular conference. She was raised an Orthodox Jew. She wanted to demonstrate respect for religious people and their concerns, to show that the gay community is not monolithic in this regard.
    “It seemed to me the height of disingenuousness, absurdity, and indeed disrespect to tell someone it is okay to ‘be’ gay, but not necessarily okay to engage in gay sex. What do they think being gay means?” she writes in her Becket paper. “I have the same reaction to courts and legislatures that blithely assume a religious person can easily disengage her religious belief and self-identity from her religious practice and religious behavior. What do they think being religious means?
    To Feldblum the emerging conflicts between free exercise of religion and sexual liberty are real: “When we pass a law that says you may not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, we are burdening those who have an alternative moral assessment of gay men and lesbians.” Most of the time, the need to protect the dignity of gay people will justify burdening religious belief, she argues. But that does not make it right to pretend these burdens do not exist in the first place, or that the religious people the law is burdening don’t matter.”
    But IMO, she starts going in the wrong direction with these comments:
    “You have to stop, think, and justify the burden each time,” says Feldblum. She pauses. “Respect doesn’t mean that the religious person should prevail in the right to discriminate–it just means demonstrating a respectful awareness of the religious position.”
    Then, she sides with the “sexual liberty” gay activists here:
    Feldblum believes this sincerely and with passion, and clearly (as she reminds me) against the vast majority of opinion of her own community. And yet when push comes to shove, when religious liberty and sexual liberty conflict, she admits, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.”
    Religious liberty, freedom of association, and freedom of speech all should trump “sexual liberty.” “Sexual liberty” may be an evolving matter in secular humanist circles, but I don’t think that the framers of our Constitution meant for such a concept to trump what is already written in our founding documents!
    I think that if more evangelical Christians read that article, they will be awakened from the disingenuious mantra being espoused by the gay lobby and jolted from the slumber they are currently in regarding the morally relativistic thinking that “gay marriage can’t hurt them.”
    We can vividly see that the legalization of “gay” marriage in Massachusetts has already resulted in several dire consequences against religious liberty in that state. One consequence (I’m sure there are dozens!) is that it has already caused Catholic Charities to stop their adoption efforts there because their religious freedom of conscience, freedom of association, and freedom to conduct their work according to the Catholic church’s teachings has been eliminated from consideration based on the trumped up “rights” afforded to “sexual liberty” activists.
    I’ve read through some of the comments here and noticed that there are those here who would most likely scoff at my concerns. They are the type that would tend to dismiss my concerns because, they are most likely on the side of “gay” issues to begin with.
    Religious exemptions from “gay rights” laws are imperative (IMO)!! In the article, Stern says it well:
    “Religious groups that take government funding will almost certainly be required to play by the nondiscrimination rules, but what about groups that, while receiving no government grants, are tax-exempt? Can a group–a church or religious charity, say–that opposes gay marriage keep its tax exemption if gay marriage becomes the law? “That,” says Stern, “is the 18 trillion dollar question.”
    Twenty years ago it would have been inconceivable that a Christian or Jewish organization that opposed gay marriage might be treated as racist in the public square. Today? It’s just not clear.
    “In Massachusetts I’d be very worried,” Stern says finally. The churches themselves might have a First Amendment defense if a state government or state courts tried to withdraw their exemption, he says, but “the parachurch institutions are very much at risk and may be put out of business because of the licensing issues, or for these other reasons–it’s very unclear. None of us nonprofits can function without [state] tax exemption. As a practical matter, any large charity needs that real estate tax exemption.”
    He blames religious conservatives for adopting the wrong political strategy on gay issues. “Live and let live,” he tells me, is the only thing around the world that works. But I ask him point blank what he would say to people who dismiss the threat to free exercise of religion as evangelical hysteria. “It’s not hysteria, this is very real,” he tells me, “Boston Catholic Charities shows that.”

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Looks like Andrew Sullivan and CS Lewis are on George’s side here:

    It’s from “Mere Christianity.” I should maybe point something out here about my own writing on the subject. I have always been very clear that I am in favor of civil equality in marriage. I am not at all sure that the religious sacrament of matrimony ought to be open to gay couples. My instinct, in fact, is that it should not. The church’s view of marriage is so linked to heterosexuality and procreation that including gay couples within the same sacrament might violate its theological meaning. I’m open to debate on this theologically. But I make the same distinction Lewis makes: the civil and the religious spheres are very distinct and we need to make the distinction “quite sharp”. The great blasphemy of Christianism is that it wants to erase the boundary altogether.

    And here’s CS Lewis:

    The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question – how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mohammendans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine.

    My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, and the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought be to quite sharp, so that a man know which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.

    http://time.blogs.com/daily_dish/2006/10/cs_lewis_vs_chr.html
    Whose job is it to make this ‘sharp distinction’? The obvious answer, IMO, is not the state but the church. The Catholic Church is very clear that they do not recognize divorce. Those who are divorced and remarried are not allowed at communion because they are living in a continual ‘state of sin’. Those who are divorced are not allowed to remarry in a Catholic Church.
    I have no idea if Catholic schools apply this reasoning when, say, issuing health benefits to spouses of employees who do not have to be Catholic (such as the janitors or non-religious teachers) but even if they are required to abide by state marriage law when dealing with secular issues like employee benefits it does not infringe upon their liberty to hold marriage to a different standard than the state does.
    What I believe has happened here is that many non-Catholic churches have gotten lazy in their definition of marriage and have decided to just go along with whatever the state decides to do. Now that they see some states may decide to go with gay marriage hysteria has erupted, which thankfully seems to be finally easing…notice how lackluster the ‘stop gay marriage now’ crowd has gotten?
    For all the dirty looks ‘seperation of church and state’ gets it expresses a very good and very valid idea. The state is not an extension of the church nor the other way around. They both serve different needs and its quite proper that each should respect the other’s domain.
    The ‘religious right’ does have a problem in that they are trying to argue that the state should become an extension or ‘helper’ of the church. In reality this is an expression of the lack of confidence they have in the church (which is a voluntary organization) and opening up the temptation to abuse the power of the state (which is by definition not voluntary).

  • RB

    Boon,
    Your points are well taken. However, if something is defined as ten different things in ten different spheres, then it becomes about as valuable as a dime bouncing around on the sidewalk. It’s meaning is diminished without consistency.
    Your point about the Catholic church really seems to illustrate this. No one cares what they say, they’re edicts are laughed off, instead of their edicts being taken more seriously by everyone…

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Your point about the Catholic church really seems to illustrate this. No one cares what they say, they’re edicts are laughed off, instead of their edicts being taken more seriously by everyone…
    Their edicts are laughed off by people who don’t take the Catholic Church seriously to begin with. To those that don’t their edicts are not taken so lightly, that doesn’t mean everyone agrees with them though…you can take something seriously even if you find it wrong.
    If you think about it I believe you’ll find it is hardly the mess of relativism you think. The requirements for the state should be a lot looser than the requirements of religion because your relationship to the state should NOT be as intimate as your relationship to your religion. Consider in order to be considered a ‘good citizen’ to the state you simply have to obey the law. Religion, though, demands a lot more of you than simply obeying some general laws. It should not be upsetting that religion makes marriage more exclusive than the state does.
    Many churches, for example, not only have tighter requirements for marriage than the state does but also add additional requirements such as attending special classes or being a member of the church etc. If you argue that the state and church should not be allowed to have seperate definitions of marriage because it may ‘confuse’ some people then you’re going to end up infringing on their freedom of religion in a massive way.

  • RB

    Actually, a large portion of Catholics don’t take the edicts very seriously either. I think that might be because it is so out of alignment with society and the state and other main line churches… they end up granting paper annulments to keep pace with state laws…thus it all seems more false. My perception, anyway.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    You are correct a large portion of self-defined Catholics have in fact rejected the doctrine on divorce. That doesn’t mean, necessarily, that the church is wrong and the state is right.
    To use a more mundane example, during Lent Catholics are still supposed to refrain from eating meat on Fridays as part of fasting. That the state has no laws against selling or eating meat on Fridays does not mean the Catholic position is being persecuted or even rejected. As CS Lewis would say since most people are not really Catholic the state should not force everyone to abide by Catholic rules.

  • RB

    True enough. But the state is not in the business of Lent–thus the state would not consider Friday meat sales laws (if that’s occured in the past, I’m unaware). Both the church and the state are in the business of marriage, linked together in the enterprise for centuries..
    Given that marriage is steeped so deeply in theology, it seems better to me that unions between people outside the current lines of definition should be called something else..I guess that’s where I am at present.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Perhaps but who decides the lines? It’s clear by now even taking gay marriage totally off the table all religions add their own unique requirements to marriage that would be unacceptable for the state to mirror.
    One solution would be to give one church control in the matter. I believe in Israel all marriages must be performed by an Orthodox rabbi even if those getting married are Reform Jews or otheres (I’m not sure what Israeli Muslims and Christians do).
    This may seem a great deal if your particular sect has the political clout to set the standard but in the long run it’s a receipe for endless tensions between the religious and taken to an extreme a corruption of both church and state. It still seems proper that the state draw its lines with a broad brush while churches are free to use a finer point pen to draw their own lines.
    BTW, the state is very much involved in the business of selling meat. Try to set up a shop to sell meat either raw or cooked without intense state involvement. Even on the most local level zoning boards will tell local businesses where they can operate and even what hours they can be open.

  • RB

    Now you’ve really stumbled onto something serious. When I want a Porterhouse, there better be nobody, and I mean nobody, standing in my way..See, I told you the state is the big bully with the club, out to ruin someone’s barbecue, they are;-)

  • jprime271

    If there’s a devil, then he’s laughing his rear-end off right now, while we form up to destroy each other gay marriage, diverting attention away from the rest of the world as it falls into violence, poverty, disease, drugs, and squalor.
    The US population just hit 300 million people, of which 4%-5% are gay, of which *maybe* 20,000 are gay married couples. So we’re going to beat each other up over what 0.01% of the population are doing? Over something Christ himself never uttered a word about?