Sunday, October 01, 2006

Marriage, Religion and AZ

Most of you know that I am not a christian -- or religious for that matter.

Well, AZ is joining the rest of the nation in taking up that critical issue of our time: two boys kissing. Forget terrorism and the debate about our civil rights in an era of proliferate WMD... each state better ensure that we don't "sanction" gay relationships or we'll be heralding the end days.

The Treasurer of the AZ Green party got it right in his response to the proposed constitutional amendment (here in AZ) defining marriage. His argument appeals to the religious amongst us -- but it is worth quoting:

We want to protect religious freedom. Either marriage is a sacred act, defined by people's religious beliefs, or it is only a government-created legal contract, and not sacred. Which do you believe?
Churches, temples and mosques have married people for thousands of years. They've done just fine, and will continue to do fine, without government defining marriage for them. Isn't it up to each faith to decide who, among them, marries, and whose marriage to bless? We've no more business voting, on who can be married, than we do in voting about who can be baptized.
And, if you don't like how your church defines either, then go to another church, or no church at all. That's religious freedom!
Legal rights, not religion, are the voters' business. When two people ask government to protect their promises to each other, it's a contract. Government should welcome such commitments, because it provides for stability and predictability. Government should be happy when people commit to take responsibility for each other, because it means fewer people needing state help. Government should welcome families forming, all kinds of families. Families are good. When we stop butting into religious concepts, like marriage, we can see that.

"And, if you don't like how your church defines either, then go to another church, or no church at all." -- isn't that the core of religious freedom?

Why the theocrats who try to define every aspect of our life cannot see this obvious truth scares me.


skip sievert said...

Marriage is a contract. All and any contracts can be broken. When it is broken you are usually fined in what is known as property, and also money. People can break this contract if they catch their spouse haveing sex with another.

In a good society people are free to do as they please. That means live with whom they please. They would not answer to a government. They also can have sex with who they please.

In our society these contracts are used to control people. It is a way to maintain a price system form of property class holders, which lets people know what level of the conspicuous consumption ladder they are on.
They call our culture modernity. I have to laugh at that.
In other words , how much money you have determines your social status and guess what ? , marriage is another thing that is a status definer.

Reign of Reason said...

Interesting points...

True -- the system of marriage supports our economic system: it provides an incentive for forming the "contract"... It really is a form of control -- as you point out.

Capt. Fogg said...

As with any argument, he who defines the terms wins. That's how Republicans get away with calling liberals tyrants and confusing liberty with obedience.

It's also true that a marriage contract provides for care of and responsibility for children for instance, or the ability to make decisions for a partner no longer able to do so. Either the government decides, or people decide for themselves and as we saw with Terry Schiavo, the Government is happy to ignore the mariage contract when it suits them.

No one is really forced into a marriage contract any more and no one is forced into a religious marriage, but one can be forced into relinquishing one's rights by not marrying. I am wary of any restructuring of society that prohibits contracts between individuals and glosses lightly over millenia of experience regarding what happens in life in favor of some grand academic scheme mandating how life should work.

The institution of marriage already is in decline, or at least is a state of constant redefinition which, in my opinion is a healthier situation than either traditional religious userpation of individual rights or similarly dogmatic redefinition of rights, responsibility and property according to some pseudoscientific and all encompassing sociao-political scheme like Communism or Fascism; things that have always been as tyrannical or more so than systems they replace. Whether it's the dictatorship of the proletariat or of some oligharchy, some elite group or some god chosen leader, it robs us all of freedom not to conform to the scheme.

It's the difference between Darwinian evolution and Doktor Frankenstein, in a way. Evolution is about constant adaptation, constant little successes and failures. Dogma - any dogma, whether it's Skip's or Lenin's is about the power of dogma and rejection of change or choice - or freedom.

Reign of Reason said...

As usual, you are right on the mark capt. In a nutshell adherence to dogma == tyranny no matter what the label.

skip sievert said...

Listen dumb ass, I won`t even argue the point with you.
I pity your wife.