I would like to try this again but first can I just let you know that I am an atheist who is trying to understand the religious point of view. This is not the same thing agreeing with them but I truly am trying to see it from their angle. I want to step into their shoes and I want to feel it the way they feel it and in that way, hopefully try to solve problems with them instead of against them. This is empathy. This is peace.
About the name I use - Evangelia is my Mothers name and the English version of that is Angela. It makes me happy to see my mothers name. David is a biblical name to but that doesnt mean people named David are religious.
When you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME
Hi Professor Robert.
While it may seem redundant to you and other Catholics that you know I am constantly finding myself fighting against homophobic outbursts, petitions and laws all of which stem from Christian organisations. Many are Catholic like this email I recently received.
DOMA protects states from being forced to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
It also protects the federal government from having to recognize these marriages, and it prevents federal benefits from going to them.
But once again, homosexual activists have not stopped their relentless onslaught, and now this matter, too, is before the Supreme Court. What Will Happen?
Nobody knows what the Supreme Court will do regarding Prop 8 and DOMA, but, if things go badly, we could end up with a situation where same-sex marriage is imposed in every state in the Union.
It would be just like in 1973, when Roe v. Wade swept away all state laws protecting unborn children from abortion. (Association Fallacy – me)
That abomination led to decades of conflict and tens of millions of children being killed—and the fight is far from over. We must do all we can to prevent another abomination from being imposed on our nation. That’s why Catholic Answers has been vigilant on this issue, because there’s one truth we cannot ignore . . .We’re on Our Own . . . So It’s All Up to Us! Though both Prop 8 and DOMA were duly voted into law, state and federal officials have refused to defend them in court.
That’s right. The government officials whose job is to execute the laws of the land have refused to defend the laws—or at least these laws.
As early as 2010, then-California attorney general Jerry Brown refused to defend Prop 8 in court.
In 2011, the Obama administration announced that it would refuse to defend DOMA. In fact, in his recent inaugural address, President Obama pledged to fight to legalize same-sex marriage, saying, “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.”
Our elected officials have refused to defend the law—and basic morality—out of their desire to please the homosexual lobby.
That means the defense of these laws falls to people like you and me. We must do what we can—what the courts allow us to do—to protect these laws and to protect marriage itself. (end email)
Then of course there is this from another Catholic who had some sway. I wonder what will change.
So while it may be a redundant issue for “regular” Catholics it is a major cause of concern for those of us who see the institution as immoral on this subject. It would not be an issue for anyone if they just stopped ranting about it. So when young gay people take their own lives becasue of this institution and the filter down attitude it creates I openly accuse it of inciting homophobia that gives bigots the authority to chastise and criminalize homosexuals and causes the deaths of many young people.
Please don’t think any of this is an Ad Hominem attack. I am only aiming at the abusers of it - the Catholic Church.
Yes, I think there are some things which can become troubling when the Church meddles in civil affairs. While it is occasionally necessary (take for example the Christian community's opposition to American slavery or promotion of racial civil rights), there are a lot of ways for that to go amiss.
My question for you as an atheist is why you would want a religious ritual practice like marriage enshrined in law at all? Shouldn't the argument be that all of the religiously-based marriage laws be struck down/repealed in their entirety? To be fully secular, the government should only recognize partnerships as an adjunct to contract law.
At the core, the issue with gay marriage, I think, is that "marriage" is thought of as a religious ritual or sacrament which is important within the various faiths. "Gay marriage" is viewed as an intrusion into religious beliefs in ways that full legal partnerships are not.
"Shouldn't the argument be that all of the religiously-based marriage laws be struck down/repealed in their entirety? To be fully secular, the government should only recognize partnerships as an adjunct to contract law."
I wish it was. Things would be much simpler. Mexico City actually considered allowing for a two year marriage license that could be renewed after that period. I think the idea had some merit. The problem is that many people who are religious would likely get up in arms about it. If you think telling them that they can't hold church in a school gym or display the ten commandments in their courthouse gets some of them riled up, wait until they hear us atheists are trying to take God out of marriage! I can see the headlines now...
So what happens when two atheist heterosexuals want to get married? Professor Robert, your argument is fallacious if you think religious beliefs are not offended by the marriage of atheists, but are by the marriage of gays. You cannot have your bread buttered on both sides.
Why would religious people be particularly upset by hetero civil marriages of atheists? From a religious perspective the theology of marriage is that the partners confer the sacrament on each other. They are making vows to each other, after all. It is only witnessed by the Church, and that is not strictly required.
I would think it odd for the atheists to want to participate in what is fundamentally a religious ceremony where they exchange perpetual vows to each other. That doesn't make particular sense to me. But if they choose that they want to participate in that religious ritual of marriage, I'm not sure why that would upset us. It is consistent with our theology. It is just the first step of them recognizing the need for religion in their lives. ;-)
The only "marriage" recognized by the state is the civil/secular commitment. A religious commitment only is not a legal marriage, and a civil/secular commitment IS a marriage even if no religious rite is performed.
"that religious ritual of marriage"
As you well know, marriage is much more in our society than a religious ritual despite the fact that it came from religion and many are arguing that it should revert to purely religious import. The point is that a certain segment of our society are being refused access to something that the majority aren't - solely because of their sexual orientation. That ALONE is reason enough to demand it.
So there's another group of atheists out there demanding that they should be granted access to Holy Communion, just because they are being refused access to it as atheists?
I'm not sure the "that alone" test really holds water.
If you're not deep down looking for the affirmation and blessing of God in your partnered life, then why demand access to what from its very origin is a religious blessing and state?
"should be granted access to Holy Communion"
Disappointing, Bob. Marriage is inaccessible IN LAW to a segment of the population. But anyone reading this could walk into any church and (LEGALLY) stick out their tongue (or whatever they do these days) and eat the literal Body of Christ (which, of course, we know is true because Jesus' actual DNA is present in each wafer).
You need to take a little more time choosing your analogies, although I do understand that, at some point any discussion of magic is going to run out of REAL examples to pin it to.
My question for you as an atheist is why you would want a religious ritual practice like marriage enshrined in law at all?
Because it is, first and foremost, a civil practice. Now, if religious people like the idea of a civil practice being enshrined in religion, go nuts. There are some pretty long-standing traditions for it and I'm not going to ask anyone to drop those traditions; however, identifying the religious aspects as the core of marriage is like mistaking the icing for the cake.
Shouldn't the argument be that all of the religiously-based marriage laws be struck down/repealed in their entirety?
The laws are based mostly in property rights and legal rights, not religious concepts. True, there was a point in time in many regions where religion and marriage were legally fully entwined, but we have over a century of history in which civil marriages were legal. That is to say, in the world every last one of us was born into, civil marriage existed.
At the core, the issue with gay marriage, I think, is that "marriage" is thought of as a religious ritual or sacrament which is important within the various faiths.
And I think religious people have every right to feel however they want or need to feel about same-sex marriages. That does not mean that anyone else should be obligated to respect those feelings. If I want to call a blow up sex doll 'Mary mother of Christ' I will. If I want to enter a same-sex union and call it a 'marriage', I will. The only reason I would not be allowed to is if the state denied the use of a legally regulated term, but the state really has no compelling reason not to allow it other than religious people crying about it.
Why should I want to call it a marriage? Perhaps I am religious and I want to have a religious marriage. Perhaps I am not religious, yet I still appreciate the ceremony and traditions. Perhaps I just like the way the word sounds. Perhaps other people find the word easier to identify with. Perhaps I dislike the idea of being linguistically singled out in my union as if it is somehow fundamentally different.
Is there another legal arrangement which could be found which respects equality and legality? Probably, but the reason should be because it is functionally superior. Why does everyone need to accommodate a subset of religious folk when their lives are in no way directly affected?