Thursday, August 01, 2013

I'll Probably Make A Complete Mess Of This

     I'm going to try it anyway.

     Recently, I stopped hostessing BlogMeets and I scrubbed a couple of blogs from my blogroll.

     I hated to do it.  While my hearing and people-coping skills are barely up to the non-job of doing a BlogMeet, they were fun and I hoped Tam might set one or two up,  And I didn't want to drop the links, either; they went to guys who were (mostly) fun to read and had interesting things to say.

     But they've bought into and promote something I regard as a "Glittering Lie," a cross between a Glittering Generality and a Big Lie and their minds are quite firmly set.  And it's the kind of thing that can get people killed; it's the kind of thing that can get very bad laws made, and lead to very bad decisions.  And every time I look into one of their "irrefutable examples," the example turns out to be easily refutable.

     What is it?  Why, that gay people pressing for the right to marry one another is an attempt to destroy religion -- specifically Christianity and (per some) the Catholic Church.

     A couple of the most recent examples cited were:

    -Denmark's recognition of gay marriage; this traces back (as nearly as I could tell) to a guy speculating on a message board that clergy will be required by law to perform marriages for gay couples.  However, the law specifically allows individual clergy to refuse to perform such ceremonies.  (The Danish State Church is under a requirement to find a pastor who will if a couple's choice says nope -- but it's arguable if any other church in Denmark can be so required and has not been tested.)
     Denmark is not the United States, especially so on the notion of relations between church(es) and the State and yet even there, Just Saying No remains an acceptable response.

     -A baker in Colorado is being sued over twice turning away gay couples who wanted wedding cakes or wedding-reception cupcakes, and telling them it was on account of the owner's religion not condoning their relationships.  This is only about religion to the degree the owner chose to introduce it and in fact, they probably could've gotten away with a Bartleby-esque, "I would prefer not to," or a claim of being overbooked already.  But their particular location has chosen to apply Public Accommodation laws to homosexuals the same way they apply to race and religion: if you hang out a shingle to serve the public, you're obliged to serve all of the public (or at least the ones wearing shoes and shirts), and if you don't like that, it's time to either move or get out of business.*  Also, please note nobody was asking them to perform the ceremony nor is their church in any way harmed by them baking a cake.  True, it's all squicky for them; life's tough.

     But here's the problem: instead of pointing to this as examples of an activity they find undesirable, my dropped links claim it's part of a conspiracy.  An attempt led by "the gays" to destroy their church or Christianity in general.   This is highly unlikely, and would come as a surprise to those L/G people I work with who happen to be good, church-going folks (and no, not Metropolitan Community Church, either).  But it's more than unlikely: it's pernicious.  It's a Glittering Lie on the order of the one that, back in the Dark Ages, claimed Jews caused the Black Death by poisoning wells.  It's the kind of lie that violent fools use to justify harming others -- and I don't mean by making them bake a cake.

     Here's where it gets twisted: the same guys spreading the "gay marriage is really a plot to destroy the Church" bumfodder tell me -- straight-faced -- that they bear gay folk no enmity.  None whatsoever; why, as long as the LBG set keeps the shades drawn, it's no problem at all.  And I am sure they mean it, too. 

     Nevertheless, those who claim "Jewish businessmen stabbed Germany in the back" "The Irish are subhuman, lazy louts "African-American men have uncontrollable lusts" "gay people don't really care about wedlock, they just want to ruin the church," are gonna get 'em killed.  In ugly ways.  By idiots.  Oh, the brickbat won't be in their hands, nor any blood on 'em; they'll read about it in the paper over breakfast and remark, "Tut-tut.  How dreadful."  (And the victim's partner will get turned away at the morgue, having no recognized connection to the deceased.)

     I don't condone that.  If you want to believe such things and spend thousands of words on it, go for it; but you can't do it here, nor in any forum I control.  If you simply don't approve of gay marriage, fine; we can disagree.  We can write our Congresthings, or wave signs at one another; that's how it works. I don't care if you like gay people or loathe them, as long as you give them the same respect you give any other fellow citizen. If you don't understand how the First Amendment works anent religion here in the United States, perhaps you'll learn.  But I won't help spread what I can only regard as dreamed-up paranoid fantasies, no matter how finely-chopped the prose espousing them.  It makes me sick to my stomach -- actually physically bilious -- to be placed in a position of even appearing to do so. 

     You know what else curdles my guts?  Having to write this.  But I kind of had to.

     Comments will be deleted if they cross the line. If too many people whine about that, comments will be closed.
* While I would personally prefer businesses were free to openly discriminate  just as much as they liked against whatever people or groups they didn't like and get boycotted and/or picketed over it big as life, that's not the world we live in.  Instead, the discrimination's subtle and sneaky, unless somebody's looking to pick a fight.  Remind me again why that's an improvement?


Tom said...

Excellent post. It may have been a pain for you to write, but you provide clear thinking in a cloudy time for our country.

BGMiller said...

Bravo to you for standing up for your principles.

As to the question at the nub of the matter...

I'm not a particular fan of religion in general. To many folks in fancy, expensive cloths doing too much dangling of metaphysical carrots in front of too many folks struggling just to get a real carrot. Has humanity benefited from religion over the years? Yup. No argument. Has humanity also been held back by religion over the same time period? Again, yup.

So for me, here and now, religion and the various governing bodies of the various flavors thereof will continue to be filed in the same drawer as government.

As for homosexuals of whichever label they choose...
Trying to screw me in any way, shape, or form?
Okay then, carry on.

You want it? Okay. Given that heteros can't seem to make it work with better odds than flipping a coin I wish you luck. And if you're a friend of mine and it all goes wahoonie shaped I'll offer you the spare bedroom for a while, whatever boxes I can grab from work, and a sympathetic beverage. Then I'll probably say something slightly crass about marriage being for schmucks that want to give up all their good stuff.

The issue of death benefits, hospital visitation, etc...
Seems reasonable. In fact, not letting someone's chosen partner be involved in the crappy aspects seems like a pretty dick move in my opinion. If they've stuck around to that point they've earned the right.

Now, to the issue of some of the bloggers who hold the views you have chosen to stand against...

I read some of 'em. Comment at some of 'em too. Fully intend to keep doing so. Any side of the argument that feels the need to say something along the lines of "agree with me or take a hike" will make the choice pretty easy.

I'm fairly confident you'll have no issue with that stance.


p.s. Should I ever manage to make good on my threat to make it to Indy for a 1500 you may get an email asking if any of the folks I read regularly might, purely by coincidence, be sharing a meal somewhere where I might drop in, buy a round, and match up faces and names. Since your lodger has gained the reputation of responding to emails only slightly faster than pitch drops. ;)

DoninSacto said...

Thank you, Roberta. Well said.

Blackwing1 said...

I dunno exactly how you feel about it, but it's my estimation that darned near everybody is missing the point:

Why does the "State" (by which I refer to any single or possible combination of government entities) have any say what-so-ever about marriage?

We're not supposed to have a government that is able to make any religion state-recognized (although for tax-exempt status that's now an accepted practice). The State has no business telling any religion what to do, how to worship, and as long as it's among voluntarily-consenting adults, it's pretty much anything goes. Your religion doesn't want to accept marriage for some particular sub-set of humanity? You might want to find a different one that does. In the meantime, any attempt to use the (massive, overwhelming) force of the State to require any particular religion to do so should by laughed away.

Marriages have legal implications. Okay, fine, for things like survivors benefits, insurance, inheritance, etc. (ad nauseum) it should simply be a contract between consenting adults, upheld by the (massive, overwhelming) power of the State. Here's the key: The State should have ZERO recognition of the gender, race, sexual orientation or hairstyle of the consenting adults entering into these contracts. The State should be color-, race-, gender- and everything-else-blind.

I know you're probably more of an anarchist than I am, since I do believe that societies need a State to perform a minimum of functions, including upholding the peace, a national defense, and a judiciary. That last one adjudicates disputes between individuals, and upholds contracts between individuals.

My basic take is that the State is limited in its involvement in marriage to the sole extent that it is a contract, nothing else.

(I hope I haven't offended you. If so, it's your blog, feel free to delete this comment. Thanks, Blackwing1.)

Roberta X said...

You haven't offended me at all Blackwing1. In fact, recognizing the State's involvement with marriage is a matter of contract is pretty much the way I see it.

The "State" side of marriage is the only part of it the State has jurisdiction over and there are already substantial differences between the State contract and the wedding bond as recognized by some churches, divorce being the most obvious.

Stuart the Viking said...

I agree that "teh gay conspiracy" thing is totally over-blown. Gays, in general, are not out to destroy religion. period.

However, my usual hard stance on the matter has softened (if only a little). As you say, here in America, the first amendment is meant to protect religions from governmental interference (among other things). However, it has become apparent to me that our current government (and so much of those that elected it) no longer believe that it should be constrained by something as un-important as constitutional rights.

Just as you say "if the cake maker hangs out a shingle", I can see those people countering with "if a church opens it's doors to the public". Since they don't believe in the constitutional protections afforded to religions, the two are much the same argument to them.

In my opinion, denying gays the right to marry is hitting the problem at the wrong end anyway. Instead, I believe that people, businesses, and/or churches SHOULD be allowed to exclude whomever they wish as long as they are open about it. If the baker does not want to sell a cake for a gay marriage, FINE. There are other bakers. I, for one, would take my business elsewhere even though I'm not gay (or getting married). If the "Church of the Great White Christ on a Pogo Stick" want's to compare skin tones to hardware store paint chips and exclude anyone darker than "Big Paint Co.'s Light Creamy Tan". LET THEM. If for some reason I lost my damn mind and wanted me some religion, I would move on and look for something more accepting no matter how cool pogo sticks are, even though I paint-chip out to somewhere around "antique white" which is much much lighter.

As long as they do their excluding publicly and openly so that people who disagree with their repugnant bullshit will know about it and can frequent some other establishment.

I believe that places that exclude people will quickly find themselves struggling to stay in business, but then, I've been told that I have too much faith in humanity.


(As Blackwing1 has said, if any of this offends, please feel free to delete it. You will get no butt-hurt hard feelings from me. I will still think you are a wonderful person, and wait patiently, hopping from one foot to the other, for another installment of "I Work on a Starship" which is one of my favorite reads)

EgregiousCharles said...

I largely agree with Blackwing1, but I want to put it in my own words because I feel strongly about it.

I am a Christian. A lot of my fellow Christians seem to forget that the Christian experience with having humans attempt to enforce God's law is basically a series of martyrdoms leading back to crucifying God Himself for blasphemy.

I am also an American, and I think our Constitution with amendments is the best document guiding a government that's ever been produced. Marriage is a religious ceremony in every religion I've heard of, and the First Amendment starts "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". While government does have a role in codifying contracts, as Blackwing1 says, I don't think he goes quite far enough on limiting them. Government has no more Constitutional authority to define marriage than it does prayer. Government should restrict itself to civil unions only, for gay and straight alike, and leave marriages up to churches or communities or the couple's oath or however they want to solemnize it.

I've met very few people who do not agree with this idea, it appears to satisfy almost everybody from both sides. I believe it doesn't gain any traction with politicians and the corporate media because it takes some small measure of power away from them. When do they ever give up a scintilla of power without a giant lobbying organization like NRA pounding them?

From the perspective of a Christian, Roberta brings up a good point in divorce. Gay marriage is not the real threat to Christian marriage, it's divorce. Getting government out of marriage, only civil unions, would also get them out of divorce to the same extent: they could dissolve the civil union, but could not dissolve the marriage. That would be of great benefit to Christian marriage.

The conspiracy guys are looking at the wrong conspiracy - the real conspiracy is the one that says the government defines marriage for Christians at all. And they are falling for it.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

None of this would be an issue if there were not financial benefits available only to married people. It's clear from the whole gay marriage debate that it's all about the bennies. The solution isn't to legalize gay marriage -- the solution is to get rid of the preferential bennies!

In a sane world, everyone would be treated as an individual for tax and benefit purposes. You're married and have kids? How wonderful for you. Here is an individual tax exemption for you, and here is one for your husband. File separately. Or, quit letting people freeload on the tax system and lower taxes to the point that deductions for children aren't necessary -- and still have only one filing status.

I hate filing jointly. It's a pain in the arse and as a married couple without children, we are marriage-penaltied to the max.

Oh, and get the state out of the business of sanctioning marriage. Let religious groups do what they want. Blackwing has it absolutely correct -- marriage is a contract and it ought to be treated as such. It doesn't matter where you make that contract -- in a church, in a wooded glade, or in a solicitor's office. Sign here on the dotted line with two witnesses present. (I did -- it's called a ketubah, and it is full of legalese defining everybody's rights in the marriage, including what rights my wife has in a divorce. Everything else we did that day was just ceremony, because we were married as soon as we signed it. She already had a gold ring for her bride price :) )

Bobbi, of course, if this is offensive, please delete it.

Drang said...

Been years since I was a practicing anything, let alone a practicing Christian, but it seems to me that, if the Pope says "Who am I to judge?", that this would be a clue.
I know a lot of Christians act like anyone who is not of their sect are infidels who must be saved, but last time I looked they all use the same Book, which includes Jesus' original version of the above quote, "Judge not, lest ye be judged."

Roberta X said...

Fuzzy: the bennies afforded married couples, as I pointed out in the original posting, are not all financial -- and in some cases (IRS marriage penalty) are negative.

Stuart: churches are membership organizations, which even without the First Amendment makes them different to a public business in the eyes of the law; but as they are churches, they can discriminate (and some do) in ways that even a members-only club might find itself challenged over, including race and marital status.

I still prefer the Jefferson test: does it pick your pocket? Does it break your leg? If "no" to both, then you're just gonna have to let 'em go do it.

Stuart the Viking said...

Roberta, I was just saying that I don't think that our current government believes in those protections anymore.


Chuck Pergiel said...

There's one blog I list that I am not totally happy with for the reasons you mention. When he's not on a rant he's very entertaining. I'm keeping him around for now. I might learn something about logic and argument.

Roberta X said...

Stuart: I'm pretty certain they'd find churches are a harder target than gun-owners.

rickn8or said...

I'm in agreement with Blackwing1, but I would add the mirror image of "The State has no business telling any religion what to do."

Religious groups demanding that government pass laws prohibiting (or requiring) "X" because "Chapter:verse" invite people to show up next week demanding prohibition of prohibiting (or requiring) "X" because "Sura:verse."

But yeah. "Civil unions" are the extent government should be involved in "marriage" and if you want to pretty it up with a religious ceremony, knock yourself out. If your selected shaman says "no", then that's something to be worked out within the walls of the church, not in a courtroom.

Roberta X said...

If anyone ever wants to see atheists and Baptists line up shoulder to shoulder with Muslims, Jews and that bunch Tom Cruise fronts for, all they need to do is get the to start fiddling with the free exercise of religion to the extent of telling it who or how churches otta be marrying.

To paraphrase Goldwater, "A government that can order people's religions around can order the people what religion to have." Or not have. This is why there's a high wall between Church and State -- and none at all between individual legislators and their faith.

The U.S., like many places, has parallel and co-extant civil and religious "marriage." This -- plus the fact that in most places, preachers are among the persons specially empowered to sign the documents that marry you in the eyes of the *State* -- gets people conflating the two things. They are not, as can easily be proven by getting an official government *divorce* after having been officially married in of of the churches that doesn't recognize divorce. Hey, presto, you're still wedded in church and not at all under law.

Laura said...

Amen, and from someone in the LGBTQ community, thank you.

Robert Fowler said...

Sweet wife and I were married by a judge that just happen to be a family friend. At a public park.

I'm by faith, a Free Methodist, not to be confused with the gay hating United Methodists. Sweet wife is a Baptist. It's been a lot of years since I've even been in a church except for the occasional funeral. And it seem like the older I get, the more funerals I go to.

I beleive that gays should be allowed to marry or have a civil union or whatever floats their boat. If for no other reason the whole benefit thing. They have every right to be as miserable as the rest of us.*

* Just kidding, we are happy as clams around here. Cuz I'm always telling her to clam up. ;)

Angus McThag said...

The baker: If his religious beliefs are so devout that he cannot make a cake for a gay couple, then they should also be so devout as to have his business shut down or go to jail for those beliefs when he breaks the law stifling his religious belief to refuse service.

Religions have rules they demand their followers obey. If Juju forbids you to be gay, and you're gay anyway, you're at least a sinner. More likely you're not really a Jujuean. Over and over it seems that churches are being asked to break their rules to suit the political needs of a rather small constituency (and not just over homosexuality).

Roberta X said...

Egregious Charles writes, "..they (the State) could dissolve the civil union, but could not dissolve the marriage."

Umm, ask your local parish priest or the pastors of any one of a number of Protestant sects. I think you will find this is already the case.

perlhaqr said...

Was this the "can of worms" you referenced wondering if you wanted to open a week or so back?

Bubblehead Les. said...

Actually, I'm hoping that the "Full Faith and Credit" part of the Constitution gets applied to Gay Marriage soon. That way, by forcing States to recognize Gay Marriages performed in other States, that will set a Precedent involving Civil Rights.

Which could be used to get NATIONAL Concealed Carry.

After all, it would be nice to watch Bloomberg's Head explode when he gets told that "....since Ohio has to recognize New York Gay Marriages, New York has to recognize Ohio CHPs."

But as a Church vs State Issue, I follow the Old TV Channel Rule: If you don't like it move the Dial.

So find another Church that accepts your or supports your Marriage Position. There's a TON of them out there.

Roberta X said...

McThag opines, "Over and over it seems that churches are being asked to break their rules to suit the political needs of a rather small constituency (and not just over homosexuality)."

Cite one case of .gov asking a church to "break their rules" here in the U. S..

Roberta X said...

Perlhaqr: yup.

Rob K said...

This is the only part that bugs me. "...nor is their church in any way harmed by them baking a cake." It's not about their church being harmed, it's about the individual's conscience. The first amendment does not protect churches (anymore than the second protects militias). It protects the rights of individuals. In this case, an individual who believes this particular act is sinful is being forced by the state to enable/participate in the celebration of the act. It doesn't matter if this person is a member of any religious organization.

Should a Southern Baptist baker be compelled by the state to bake a beer barrel cake (or any cake at all) for the local bar? Their refusal would be based entirely on their religious objections to alcohol. Should an Amish baker have to bake a TV shaped cake? Should a Jewish or Jehovah's Witness baker be compelled to bake a cake for a Christmas party? Should a Catholic baker have to bake a cake to be used at a party celebrating a divorce? This sort of thing engenders a lot of resentment.

The government that can compel the religious nut to do business with the sinner, can compel the sinner to do business with the religious nut.

Roberta X said...

Yes, Rob -- because the government is not (and must not be) in the business of deciding who's a sinner and who's a religious nut. They're both citizens, period, as far as the .gov is concerned.

Angus McThag said...

I cannot and I will go away and never come back for being an idiot.

I hate when I'm an idiot but can't fix the condition.


perlhaqr said...

I suspect Angus and Rob K are just trying to express your position that private businesses should be allowed to decide who not to do business with, for whatever reason.

As for the question of the .gov asking a "church" to break their rules... I don't know if this one will fit your bill, because "church" is nebulous.

The "Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association" is a continuously existing legal entity established in 1869 as (as I understand it) a conglomeration of Methodist churches, owning the entire square mile that comprises the community of Ocean Grove, NJ.

Does that count as a "church"?

At any rate, I agree with Rob K that 1A doesn't protect "churches", it protects freedom of religion. (Mine forbids the eating of hot dog buns.) I think forcing people to do business--especially creative work--against their conscience is crap, even if I utterly disagree with their position.

And really, I cannot imagine that this is actually going to turn out well for the people suing.

"Ok, well, I heard about that fellow who got sued for not making a homosexual wedding cake. I guess I'd better take these boy's business."

And then they show up to pick up the cake the day of the wedding and find it's had the sugar left out, and is vanilla instead of chocolate, and the frosting is greasy with extra butter, and the words "FAGS BURN IN HELL" has been airbrushed across the whole thing. But hey, he didn't refuse their business...

EgregiousCharles said...

Egregious Charles writes, "..they (the State) could dissolve the civil union, but could not dissolve the marriage."

Roberta X writes, "Umm, ask your local parish priest or the pastors of any one of a number of Protestant sects. I think you will find this is already the case."

Well that's what they believe, and I believe. However, the government does in fact assert that they can dissolve the marriage, and they have pretty much all the lawyers, judges, guns, money, and jails, and also a considerable lingering legitimacy in most people's minds. So there's a real difference if they say you are divorced from the bonds of matrimony versus if they say your civil union is cancelled.

R said...

Well said Roberta.

Perhaps folks need to go listen to Roy Zimmerman sing Defenders of Marrage. It pretty much sums things up.

greg said...

Kind of late to the party, and I usually hate to chip in with nothing more than a +1, but...yeah.

To focus on the part of what a business can be forced to do, we have a very similar case here in Richland...a florist turned down providing flowers for a gay marriage over 'religious reasons', and are facing the same kind of law suit as the one you noted in Colorado.

Like you, I also think a business owner should be able to cut his throat and say 'NO' to business for any reason they please...but here in Washington, the law also calls for accommodation.

Roberta X said...

Egregious Charles writes: "the government does in fact assert that they can dissolve the marriage, and they have pretty much all the lawyers, judges, guns, money, and jails, and also a considerable lingering legitimacy in most people's minds."
Show up at your local Catholic church with divorce papers and your new intended, and see how far that gets you. Other than very special circumstances or the death of a spouse, Rome gives you one (1) marriage. You can go off and have a judge do it but the Church won't and nobody can make them. I chose the RCC simply because they're the most obvious example, there are plenty of denominations that play it the very same way -- and some will read you right out over a civil divorce.

It's their right. And it's a good example of how separation of Church and State plays out in this country. Civil marriage and religious marriage are severable concepts and are only ever united as a matter of convenience. It's handy that your preacher can sign your marriage license, but so can judges, etc.

Roberta X said...

McThag writes: "I cannot and I will go away and never come back for being an idiot."

Oh, please don't. We're all idiots here, about one thing or another.

It's *hard* to untangle "free exercise of religion" from the stuff the .gov *can* mess with you over. Attorneys get rich (or grow old and gray) coming up with answers that have the sole virtue of being about equally loathsome to everyone.

Roberta X said...

Perlhaqr, I note with interest the story cites a U. S. Supreme Court decision that rules the other way, and I wonder if the group of churches plan to appeal? --I suspect if so the case will turn on the narrow issue of "what constitutes a church for First Amendment purposes?" and I don't envy any judge that has to take it on. (Too, they appear to have been wanting only to use the *building* and not the services of any pastor from the sponsoring churches -- and that is not a distinction without difference, especially given that the building was routinely rented out for marriages by members of other denominations.)

For now, yeah, I have to admit, that however thinly I might slice, it is a cite of State leaning on Church and it wants sorted out. --Even the court handing down the favorable ruling didn't award any damages; this is a sign of low confidence they won't be overturned.

Kristophr said...

Why is the State even recognizing marriages? Isn't this a first amendment violation?

At most, the state should only recognize cohabitation contracts, including provisions for medical power of attorney, childrearing responsibilities, and alimony/breadwinner issues.

"Marriage" is a religious ceremony.

Kristophr said...

" ... Civil marriage and religious marriage are severable concepts ..."

This. Thanx.

rickn8or said...

Robert Fowler, you might want to check, either you're very lucky or she's veruy deaf.

And Bubblehead Les, "full faith and credit" is one of the reasons this old sub-marine hunter is pushing the LGBT marriage thing also. Purely selfish reasons of course; I want to wave my TN CHL license under a CHP nose my next trip out that way.

Unknown said...

Possible breaking news from the UK relating at least tangentially to this discussion.

TL;DR: Gay couple to sue church over gay marriage opt-out. (That's the headline, verbatim, and the text of the article seems to bear it out.)

Caveats: (1) I'm not familiar with the source, and thus cannot comment on its reliability one way or another. (2) This being in the UK, not the US, the contemplated legal action may only involve the official State church.

Here's the article in the Essex Chronicle that seems to be the primary source for the above story.

perlhaqr said...

Yeah, like I say, the concept of "church" is somewhat nebulous. Or rather, multipartite; the word can refer to a number of different things, from just the physical building itself, all the way to the congregation, through the entire religion. "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" comes to mind.

True, they only wanted the building, but it's private property owned not simply by a religious individual (though I think that should be adequate, of course, I'm pretty absolutist when it comes to property) but by an actual religious organization itself.

If this precedent stands, I expect we can expect to see a lot of places that are owned by religions (the aforementioned LDS Church, for example) which may have previously been available for rent to the general public, taken off the rental market.

EgregiousCharles said...

Roberta X writes...

"Show up at your local Catholic church with divorce papers and your new intended, and see how far that gets you.
And it's a good example of how separation of Church and State plays out in this country."

I'd say it's a lousy example of how separation of Church and State *ought* to play out; it's Church resisting State in circumstances that do not allow State to prosecute Church.

Kudos to the Catholic Church for resisting, but the fact they do resist does not legitimize the usurpation of unconstitutional power.

"Civil marriage and religious marriage are severable concepts..."

Here I strongly disagree; not that they are severable, but that civil marriage is a concept with any First Amendment legitimacy; it aligns with many churches but not many others. It's as illegitimate as defining "civil prayer" in a way that would exclude prayers to Mary or saints. (BTW I'm Protestant and do not believe in praying to Mary or saints.) And if you don't think there's an argument to be made for a pressing government need to define prayer, well, there were plenty of bright statesmen who argued against freedom of religion all over Europe.

scottW said...

IMHO, most Christians could care less what anyone does in the privacy of their own home.... Could care less who gets married.....It's the idea of the State/Fed/homosexual rights groups forcing individuals/Churches/groups to "accept" an alternative lifestyle that they may not agree with....make no mistake about it, this is what its all about (ie...the US Military).

Roberta X said...

Scott , I'm not sure what you think, but the United States Army is not a Church; it's rather firmly on the "State" side of that wall.

As for "forcing churches/individuals to accept..." pull the other one, it's got bells on: *churches* cannot even be prevented from discriminating on the basis of *race.* (Also sex, ethnicity and, of course, religion.) As for individuals, all the .gov can do is keep you from initiating force against them, you're free to not accept 'em.

Where idiots get all bent out of shape is over "places of public accommodation," businesses open to the public. Like it or not, Federal law says if you're open to the public, you're open to all of the public as long as they're sanitary and well-behaved; and in some locations, state/local legislation has made explicit that LGBTQWERTYUIOP people are included. Don't like it? Don't open a place of public accommodation, write your city councillor, State legislator, U.S. Congressman.

We have a wall of separation between Church and State. It's there for a reason and I encourage the churchly to ram the fool notions of fools -- and fools-in-office -- right up against it. Just let's be clear about what falls on which side of it. There is no right to not be all horrified by people who are Different From Us, only the same strictures of civil behavior that apply to everyone.

perlhaqr said...

Egregious Charles: I'd say it's a lousy example of how separation of Church and State *ought* to play out; it's Church resisting State in circumstances that do not allow State to prosecute Church.

Kudos to the Catholic Church for resisting, but the fact they do resist does not legitimize the usurpation of unconstitutional power.

FWIW: I have read these statements ten times, and I cannot figure out which side you're arguing for. You say "it's Church resisting State in circumstances that do not allow State to prosecute Church", but... that's a good thing, right? The State shouldn't be allowed to prosecute the Church for resisting the State's usurpation of their power to marry or divorce people in the eyes of God*.

(*Catholic God, of course.)

When you speak of "legitimiz[ing] the usurpation of unconstitutional power", are you talking about the State issuing divorce papers to people that were married in the Catholic Church?

Because, of course, they aren't issuing religious divorce papers, they're only issuing civil ones, and sundering the civil marriage that the Catholic Priest was civilly authorized to civilly perform, simultaneously with the religious marriage he was religiously ordained to religiously perform.

(Which, yes, is why all the State stuff should just be called "civil union"--since that's what it is--and leave the "Marriage" to whatever flavor of religion or none the couple in question prefers.)

scottW said...

I guess my point is: A private business owner should have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason....Such as the local chain of c-stores who have now posted "no firearms" signs in their stores. I brought up the point to the owners, they said sorry, I said ok - respect your right to refuse service and I will go elsewhere. No big deal. Simplified terms, but a simple point. I am not going around attempting to force that group of owners to allow for open or concealed carry on their property. The same goes for the baker, if it is against his moral and religious beliefs to not serve the LGBT community then so be it. It's their Right...that is until the activist, their activism, and the lawyers get involved.

Roberta X said...

No, Scott, under the laws as they are constituted in some places it is *not* the right of a business owner to kick the homos out (as long as they're well-behaved, same rule as for anyone else). In *no* place can they make you leave because of your race or ethnicity.

In Indiana, "no guns" signs in a business open to the public (other than a sports venue) really only mean "no visible guns," as all they can do is ask you to leave if they see you have one, and you can be arrested for trespassing if you refuse.

scottW said...

Understand the laws -- but I said that they "should have the right", not that they "have the right". The sign I was referencing was a basic "no firearms period"....So I don't go there anymore. I am just trying to say that basically to each his own. I did not attempt a scene, or call for a boycott, or try to get that group of stores on a blacklist. They don't want my business, they won't get it. On the other point it seems as if though the LGBT groups/individuals will not settle for a civil union or marriage (whether performed by the state or .gov). It keeps advancing to an end goal: That is to force people, especially Christians, to accept their lifestyle and to acknowledge its legitimacy little by little.(thats why I referenced the military). I personally don't care what anyone does in the privacy of their home. Could care less. But I will not allow anyone to force me to accept something that I don't believe in or consider wrong if it goes against my belief system and moral values.

Roberta X said...

"On the other point it seems as if though the LGBT groups/individuals will not settle for a civil union or marriage (whether performed by the state or .gov)."

?? "The State" = ".gov," and aside from The State, there are some Christian (etc.) denominations that marry LGBT... people already. But no level of government has the power to *compel* any church to perform a marriage repugnant to their religion. Can't do it.

There is a basic, fundamental difference between a *business* and a *church* or other *religious* *body* in U.S. law.

There's also a difference between you (or me) acknowledging people are married to one another and thinking it's a good idea.

Earl said...

Well, written, it does seem that everyone feels like 'they' are out to get 'us'. It is part of how we see the world, and the drumming against whatever we like, understand and love.

How did the government decide it had anything to do with marriage? It all goes back to control. Oh, that was how religion got a hold on it, too.

I know you will have some great times, and blog posts, write on!

scottW said...

Sorry - should have explained the "state / .gov" better...State = State .gov and .gov = the Feds. Right now there are numerous city and state .govs that are attempting thru existing laws (discrimination) or attempting to pass new laws that would force "churches" to accept or allow gay marriages on their property. And yes , their are many "religions" that perform gay marriages or ceremonies. So it goes back to my original idea - if you go to a church and request a gay marriage and the church declines on moral grounds, go find one that will... Simple.....unless that is not now and has never been the agenda in the first place.....

Roberta X said...

??? "numerous city and state .govs that are attempting thru existing laws (discrimination) or attempting to pass new laws that would force "churches" to accept or allow gay marriages on their property."

Really? So far I have sen a single cite, and it is not a church per se but a shared property held by several churches and rentable for public use: essentially, a business.

Once again, the Bill of Rights is a very effective bar to any unit of government trying to order churches around. They *cannot* be required to perform marriages. (Wikipedia suggests lower-level fights may have to look to State constitutions, most of which echo the Bill of Rights.)

Hey, you know what they call people who "peaceably ... assemble, and ... petition the Government for a redress of grievances?" Activists.

Be careful what you wish for.

Anonymous said...

And for this, you stopped hostessing blog meet-ups? How are the two related, for (St) Pete's sake?

Fr. D+
Anglican Priest

Roberta X said...

I'm damned if I will sit at a table with anyone who spreads paranoid nonsense, is why. It messes me up emotionally the same way being around Nazis and racists does.

I'm okay with someone being against gay people marrying one another for whatever reason (yes, even if it's cos they think it will undermine their religion); I disagree, but hey, opinions vary. I am *not* okay with pogrom-justifying sophistry.

There's a fight to be fought here but IMO, fighting the wrong fight is going to deepen the divides that already exist. The *real* battle lies in ensuring the First Amendment remains strong, not in some daft anti-religion homo conspiracy-theory.

What makes this especially painful for me is that the two main exponents of this pernicious theory I know best are people I would otherwise like. Dammit.

Roberta X said...

And for gay marriage proponents, the sobering news that getting a divorce will cost them a lot more.