Cutting Off God
In general, I love to get into a good discussion about religion. I love pointing out all the contradictions or just plain wacky beliefs they follow, or choose to ignore while cherry-picking the parts they like. I get a slight feeling of intellectual superiority when it becomes obvious that I know more about their bible than they do. There is nothing better than cornering a religious know-it-all into falling back on the ol' "God works in mysterious ways" when they have run out of excuses for beliefs they can't explain.
But I'm tired of religion poking it's head in where it doesn't have any right to be in the first place. And gay marriage is one of these places. So I am making a slightly late New Year's resolution: I will no longer tolerate any discussion of religious beliefs when it comes to gay marriage. Period!
"But people have a right to their religious beliefs. It's who they are. How can you expect them to set aside their most cherished beliefs on an issue so volatile as gay marriage?"
Let me explain it to you as simply as possible:
1. While many people consider marriage to have religious overtones, legally, in this country, marriage is a civil contract. For example, when my wife and I decided to get married, we were not required to be married in a church by a clergyman. We merely had to fill out the legal paperwork supplied by the state and then find someone who was granted permission by the state to marry us. And there was no requirement that the officiant be religious in any way.
2. In this country, we are governed by a Constitution that is neutral toward religion. While most people remember the phrase "Freedom of religion", this neutrality also means that our governmental institutions cannot actively support religious beliefs simply because of their religiously based justifications. There must be some secular justification for government to take action.
3. Because marriage is a civil contract regulated by government and because government can only act on secular justifications, common logic dictates that purely religious arguments for or against gay marriage should not be allowed to have any bearing on the matter.
Do religious people have the right to think that their god hates homosexuals and wants them to hate homosexuals too? Of course they do. Do they have the right to use those religiously based arguments to oppose gay marriage? NOPE. Only secular arguments can be considered when making law. When someone wants to make a religious issue out of it, we should ignore those arguments. Personally, I think we should stop taking the bait and simply refuse to get into any type of religious discussion with them. When someone wants to drag you down the road to god, simply say "You want to talk religion, go to church. This matter concerns civil law, and religion has no place in such matters."
So no more. I don't care if you're Mel White or James Dobson. Unless you have a secular argument to back up your assertions, your opinions may be interesting to your own congregations but they have no role in the workings of our government and I'm not going to tolerate them any further.
And to all you people out there who would like to tell me that I'm anti-religious because I'm trying to take away your right to religious freedom, TOUGH LUCK. As you are all so fond of telling us, go find a country that is ruled by the religion of your choice if you don't like it here, because in this country, we have a secular Constitution and when it comes to making our laws, your religiously based opinions don't mean squat. But if you think you really have a good secular argument against gay marriage, go ahead and lay it on me, because I'd really like to hear one.