As a little Christmas present for you, I’ll wrap this up!
So. We’ve seen a few of the religious arguments against gay marriage, and the counterpoints. Ultimately though, what should we do? Like I said when I started this, legally there’s no reason to bar gay marriage. That right there makes it necessary to… legalize it? No, not really. What it does make necessary is equalizing the unions between heterosexuals and homosexuals.
The government should no longer recongize or regulate marriage.
Marriage is a religious construct. It should remain such; let the churches marry whoever they want to whoever they want, as often as they want. Let the government – the civil authority – establish civil unions for everybody. If a civil union is really equal to marriage, this shouldn’t be a problem, right?
You qualify for whatever economic benefits you might get today for being married by showing proof that you’ve got a licensure of civil union from the government. You don’t get any benefit for just being married beyond that offered by your church and the people around you. Anybody who’s already married gets grandfathered in, of course – their marriage license qualifies as a civil union license, no problems there. A civil union can be broken through the divorce courts, or based on whatever you came up with in your contract when you signed up (a basic pre-nup), and a marriage can be broken through whatever methods your religion allows/endorses.
What does this fix? Pretty much everything. Gay marriage becomes a purely reglious question, as it should be. Het marriage becomes a purely religious question… as it should be. Civil unions, as recognized by the government, become truly equal, inasmuch as the law can make anything equal. The separation between church and state becomes stronger, sealing up one of the cracks that’s always existed in it.
There are other benefits too, perhaps the most obvious one being that it allows polyamorous people to have unions with their secondaries, and has the potential to make divorces less excruciating, assuming that contracts begin to become the norm. Variant religions are free to engage in whatever marriage ceremonies they might want, since they’ve got no legal consequence.
Are there some potential problems with this? Of course, though some of them are easy to overcome (for example, a lot of places already have you sign your marriage license as part of the cceremony – something similar could be done going forward, meaning you just need to take your paperwork in – or that you could have the priest mail it in for you – to get the civil license.) The biggest problem is harder to overcome. I, for one, don’t think that this idea is about to take off with most people, and whoever proposed it would see his political career shrivel and die before his eyes, so it’s just not going to happen any time soon.
But it’s still good to start considering the option. If you’re going to insist on one group of people sticking for civil unions, everybody should have to. If you’re not going to force everybody to go with civil unions… then let everybody get hitched.
Either way, you’ve got to go for the fullest equality you can.
All explained pretty well there, but let me emphasize that what’s happening there IS NOT LEGAL. It hasn’t been since the CIVIL WAR, and they haven’t ignored that law for *prison riots* for God’s sake, let alone for traffic enforcement. Like the author says – I’m sure that everybody involved has the best of intentions.
Just remember – the best of intentions make a real good highway to Hell….
Something to tick off a few liberals.
Okay, after a bit of a break….
Gay Marriage. Nobody’s come out with any reasons – let alone good ones – why gay marriage should be illegal from a non-religious point of view, so let’s move on, shall we?
Religious reasons! I’ve seen three major ones, all Judeo-Christian in origin.
1: The Legacy of Sodom
When God wiped out Sodom and Gomorrah, according to this argument, he did it because the men of Sodom engaged in homosexual activity, particularly attempting to rape the two angels God had sent down to check on Lot and tell him to get out of Dodge.
2: The Leviticus Charge
Leviticus 18:22, according to King James’ version of the Bible. “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” Based on this, the argument goes, all homosexuality is sinful, and homosexual marriage is a greater sin yet, as it places the Church in the position of supporting it.
3: Paul at Work
Romans 1 – Paul’s Letter to the Romans includes several references to homosexuality, such as this one. “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence [sic] of their error which was meet.” Clearly, Paul is railing against homosexuality as sinful and abominable, and it can’t be allowed. As with the Leviticus argument, clearly gay marriage is similarly horrifying.
Now, taking each of the three arguments in order.
Sodom and Gomorrah.
Was the sin which the city was destroyed for really homosexuality? Remember – the angels were sent there for a reason. God was already going to trash the place if they couldn’t find sufficient ‘good men.’ Further, what is Lot’s reaction to this? To offer his daughters to the men of Sodom, after which Lot is still considered a good man.
So, the only interpretation of that is that God felt it was proper to offer his daughters to these men rather than to let them at the angels in his house. Does this mean that the Bible feels that it’s less of a sin for a father to throw his daughters to the proverbial wolves than to allow homosexual activity? Not necessarily.
Let’s break down what exactly happens in Genesis. Two angels come on down to a sinful city which God is already pretty much ready to smite. Lot invites them into his home and, knowing what the others in the city are like, presses upon them how important it is that they stay with him. When they’re getting ready for the night, things go thoroughly pear-shaped, the Angels get Lot and everybody in his family who believes him out, and the place is struck down with fire and brimstone. Points to raise:
1: The men of Sodom intended to force themselves upon the angels. Homosexuality, perhaps. Bestiality, by the definition often used by biblical scholars, definitely. Rape? Most definitely. Does it not occur to anybody that arguing that the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah is strictly about homosexuality is like arguing that it’s fine to commit rape – just don’t commit it against an animal, or against a member of the same sex, because *that* would be wrong? Of all the sins evident in Genesis 19, perhaps the most egregious one is the one that people consider last.
2: It should also be remembered that there’s another sin here that most people don’t recognize – inhospitality. These days, being inhospitable is bad manners. However, in the ancient world hospitality was one of the most critical ‘manners’ to develop – you would die yourself before letting your guests be injured, and your guests would not harm you. It was the critical factor that let people be hospitable, or visit people. The powerful taboo can be seen in several folktales of the region, where thieves would break into a house, taste a white powder they found (thinking it sugar), and after realizing they’d tasted the salt in their victim’s house – creating a bond of hospitality, even by accident – leave without taking a thing. Similarly, in the tale of Ali Baba, the bandit leader would take no salt because it would have created a hospitality bond. Killing everybody in the house? That wasn’t a problem. Killing your *host* and his family? Not even a rampaging bandit out for revenge would do that.
Considering that Lot wasn’t struck down for offering his daughters up, it becomes clear that the sin of Sodom may well have been inhospitality, not homosexuality. This argument becomes stronger when you add in Leviticus 19:34, which says that any stranger who dwells with you shall be treated as having been born among you.
The Leviticus Argument
Ah, Leviticus 18:22 – is there any more loved passage for those who are against homosexuals? (Actually, yes, as we’ll soon see). Leaving aside that Leviticus only speaks about male homosexuality, not female – and any arguments about whether or not the translation was valid – let’s look at the other things Leviticus allows and disallows, shall we?
Butchering animals as religious sacrifice: ALLOWED (Leviticus 1, 2, several others – it goes on for some time detailing how.)
Eating bread with yeast: FORBIDDEN (Leviticus 6:16-17)
Eating rabbit, pork, or shrimp: FORBIDDEN (Leviticus 11)
Spreading rumors: FORBIDDEN (Leviticus 19:16 – sorry, Enquirer!)
Slavery: ALLOWED (Leviticus 25:44-46)
Now… we’ve decided that, apparently, Leviticus was wrong about all of these things. So why is 18:22 so special, that *it* isn’t wrong, but all these others are?
Paul and the Romans
Paul’s letter to the Romans makes it pretty darned clear what he thinks of homosexuality – it’s worthy of death. But, while he goes and says this in Romans 1… let’s take a look at Romans 2, shall we?
All of Romans 2 is about man not judging man – elaborating on Christ’s “let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone.” God may judge, but man should not – MAY not – do so, for he himself is sinful.
Personally, I think there’s a line to be drawn there, and I’m really not so sure about Paul as moral compass, but that’s for reasons of my own – the fact is that even Paul is saying ‘yes, that’s bad, but let God handle it.’
Further, by making gay marriage illegal – or keeping it that way, either way – it ignores the simple fact that not everybody is a member of a faith that believes in these arguments. If you’re an atheist – or if you’re pagan – then these arguments don’t even come up, leaving the argument against gay marriage with even less of a leg to stand on.
So, what other arguments do you have, and how do you justify applying it to other people outside your faith?
Part 3, assuming nothing else comes up, will be on my ideas for what ought to be done about all this.
And thanks for your patience, people who really disagree with me – this stint pissing off social conservatives, I’ll be sure to nail the social liberals for a while next.
I frequently. disagree with the folks at TrueMajority – anybody who knows me had probably heard my grumbling about the fact that ever since Ben and Jerry’s got more heavily involved, unless you’re a liberal’s liberal you don’t often have much to gain from being a member, except ulcers.
But, once in a while, they improve on that. Which is probably why I’m still a member.
That link goes to a chance to send out messages to folks in the government, as well as in charge of US Bank, telling them to get off their duffs and free up the credit markets. I’ve got a slightly more productive (I think) message on the subject, so feel free to copy/paste this in in place of what they supply you with.
Hundreds of laid-off workers at Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago have occupied their factory and are refusing to leave without receiving the benefits they rightly deserve — they’re staying in the office day and night in their quest for justice.
Secretary Paulson was given the funds for the bailout for the purposes of purchasing distressed securities. This would free up cash assets to extend lines of credit to companies so that people could keep their jobs. Instead, he has decided to spend the money on bank stock, which may shore up the market (though it doesn’t seem to), but doesn’t free up actual cash to provide lines of credit. The end result is a gradual nationalization of the banking industry, as the government becomes a larger and larger stockholder, and no benefits to the credit market.
Make sure that the bailout is used for the purposes it was meant for – freeing up credit markets and enabling business and people to pay their bills, not making the Secretary of the Treasury the largest bank owner in the nation. Hold Secretary Paulson accountable for his bait-and-switch tactics, and use the funds for something that benefits the taxpaying public.
For once, I’ve got to say I can agree with this one whole-heartedly. Better yet, it would get assets out of a currently plunging stock market until it has a chance to recover thanks to the asset shift.
Sorry, folks, but gmarriage part 2 will have to wait (I know, I hear your collective weeping… just don’t tell me whether or not they’re tears of joy.) The real world has interrupted, presenting me with a topic of particular frustration. In particular, Pakistan vs India, Mumbai, and the US trying to keep India from turning Pakistan into a glowing crater.
And, of course, Laura Flanders.
“…when it comes to advising caution, urging diplomacy and discouraging reprisal attacks, it’s hard to imagine that Bush’s Secretary of State will be able to do any of that with a straight face. ”
Go ahead and read the whole piece, but the short version is that the current administration has no place urging restraint to another nation when they themselves haven’t demonstrated it. There’s one problem though.
The US didn’t irradiate Iraq, Afghanistan, or even Pakistan. Yes, we’re bombing suspected terrorist sites. Sadly, sometimes we end up catching civilians in the blasts – often because the terrorists are very, very good at standing in the middle of a bunch of meat shields civilians so we won’t shoot at them.
But just because you do something that isn’t right, doesn’t mean you can’t tell people not to do the worse version of what you do.
We’re (allegedly) targetting Pakistani locations where there are terrorists. With conventional weapons. And we’re already catching flak for it. India… well, to be polite, there’s a very good chance that they (1) won’t care about catching flak or (2) use conventional weapons.
India and Pakistan are both nuclear-capable countries, just like the US. Unlike the US, they both have a centuries-old hatred of each other that reaches very, very deep. It’s not (just) about religion. It’s not (just) about Cashmere Kashmir (okay, so my brain wasn’t in the right place when I wrote it the first time…). It’s not (just) about tribal tensions. It’s a dislike that has led to war before, and probably will again eventually. And, with both nations being nuclear, it could lead to a nuclear war.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is what Secretary of State Rice is hoping to prevent. Regardless of what you think about our nation’s foreign policy, can you please at least shut up long enough to let the woman keep a subcontinent from being turned into a glowing rockpile?