Sunday, August 05, 2012

Quote of the Day

. . . Being a Christian has made me long for a more just, dignified, fair, charitable, and kind world but I haven’t been and am unlikely to be able to, impose what I want onto the law of the land. In a very important sense this is the very definition of living in a society with religious freedom. All freedoms are two fold; they are both positive – freedom for something, in this case the right to worship as you choose — and a negative sense, or freedom from having to worship or conform to religious dictates outside of your own or in any form at all.

Sometimes I fear that my fellow Christians don’t understand this, believing that whichever way they (or we) experience something, or want something to be, is as it should be and therefore should be written into law. In a sense that the only perspective with validity in American legal and civic society should be the Christian and Biblical one.

But that’s not the way it is, even if elements of the Judeo-Christian perspective informed elements of our founding laws. US law is not Biblical law, and that leads us to the issue of gay marriage.

While again, I respect my fellow Christian’s rights to choose this issue from the Bible and seek to keep it for ourselves in a Biblical sense, we also must recognize that marriage has a civic element, too, from marriage licenses, to special rights conferred, to tax advantages gained.

What makes this particularly civic in origin, and not religious, is that atheists marry in the US, as do agnostics, pagans, other non-Christian religious persons, and persons indifferent to religion even if not taking an anti-religious perspective. The state’s interest is not even remotiely connected to the religious or Biblical aspect of marriage – it only wants social security numbers, maybe blood type, and dates and names.

This is where, in spite of the precious and even sacred nature of marriage in Christianity (it is one of our sacraments), there is a wholly secular element enshrined in US law and available to those (mostly heterosexual) couples who wish to pursue it. The problem with denying this same secular privilege (here I am speaking only of law and not of certain denominations) to gay couples is that under law marriage confers certain special privileges otherwise not available to unwed couples. And in our legal and civic society, giving privileges to one portion of the population while denying them to otherwise equal members of society is discrimination. . . .

– Lindsay Curren
"Chick-fil-A: Junk Food for Jesus"
Transition Voice
August 3, 2012

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Doug Mataconis on the Bishops, Religious Freedom, and Living in a Civil Society
Something to Think About – August 3, 2012
Wayne Self on the Chick-fil-A Controversy: "This Isn’t Simply About Marriage"
Responding to Whiny Catholic Bishops Who Cry Victim

Image: Kristen Solberg.

1 comment:

Phil said...

I find it quite troubling that it's Christians who seem to be leading the charge against gay marriage, under the banner of family values. Bizarre...

We in the straight community have been oppressing the gay community for hundreds of years. There's no way to erase that sin, but we could at least finally grow up and cut it the #$%^# out.

Catholics are a minority too. What if someone was calling Catholic sex perverted, and working to prevent Catholics from marrying other Catholics, all the while telling us about their Christian love for us.

Is that what it would take for us to get it?