Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
*NO* law respecting an establishment of religion. It seems pretty black and white to me, no law shall be created on the grounds of religious belief. Yet here we are 200 years later still fighting against it every day one multiple fronts. Abortion and contraceptives, assisted suicide, life support, gay rights - indeed despite this 200 year old rule of the land it seems not a single political issue can come up without people wanting to inject their religion into it. This is certainly nothing new in the United States, it dates back to our country's very inception. Before it even. There's a reason that what I quoted above was not only put in the Bill Of Rights but put at the very TOP of it. They are the very first words written in the most important section of our most sacred national document. Yet they continue to be ignored at every turn. Again, this is nothing new.
America's first big dust up over civil rights was, of course, the issue of slavery. Religion played an enormous role in that fight, slavery's biggest proponents were southern evangelicals who routinely quoted scripture and stated that it was God's will that black people should be slaves. Leviticus was, of course, the most commonly quoted scripture but support for slavery can be found all throughout the Bible. The majority of the south did not view the American Civil War as north vs south, it was Christianity Vs The Heretics. It was about stopping the crazy yankees who were trying to restrict their right to practice their religion. The Bible makes it very clear - slavery is in no way wrong, in fact it is good, it is the will of God, it is encouraged. For each quote by our founding fathers stating that religious beliefs do not have a place in our laws you can find a quote from a Confederate leader or southern preacher stating it is their god-given right to own slaves.
"[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God...it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation...it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts."
Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America
"There is not one verse in the Bible inhibiting slavery, but many regulating it. It is not then, we conclude, immoral."
Rev. Alexander Campbell
"The right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example."
Rev. R. Furman, D.D., Baptist, of South Carolina
"The doom of Ham has been branded on the form and features of his African descendants. The hand of fate has united his color and destiny. Man cannot separate what God hath joined."
United States Senator James Henry Hammond
They certainly aren't lying. Biblical support for slavery is astounding. That is why it never ceases to amaze me just how strongly Christian beliefs are embedded in the African-American population. Have they read the Bible? Do they not realize that the religion they follow is precisely what white slave owners used to justify what was done to their anestors? It's amazing to me. Religion was again used during African-American's second big struggle for civil rights. It was again God's will that people of different races be seperated, whites and blacks aren't supposed to mix, if they were God would not have made them different.
Of course, we also have the fight for equal rights for women. Once again the strongest opposition voice was that of religious fundamentalists. After all, the bible leaves no doubts that women are inferior to men, the whole of the tale of Adam And Eve is incredibly sexist, in the 10 comandments a man's wife is listed right amongst other belongings that shouldn't be coveted, Exodus 20:7-10 covers the rules of selling one's daughter, Leviticus is overflowing with mistreatment of women, Corinthians 11:3-9 makes it very clear where women fall on the pecking order - God over Christ, Christ over man, man over woman. Ephesians 5:22-24 contains this gem: ""wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing." Fuck, Biblical support for women as second class citizens is even stronger than it's encouragement of slavery. No wonder those opposed to equality for women were so quick to reference the bible. And this is the Christian bible we're talking about here, don't even get me started on the mistreatment of women in Islam.
And now here we stand again. Another group of people looking for nothing more than equality under the law and it should come as no surprise that the one major roadblock standing in their way is once again religion. All these years later and Christian conservatives still don't seem to get it - what your imaginary friend has to say about the subject has no bearing on the law. I don't care what your vile, arrogant, vindictive, bigoted asshole of a diety thinks about gay marriage. He's just as wrong as he was about slavery, segregation, and the rights of women. Keep your hate-riddled bile to yourself, spew it all you want in your places of worship but it has no place in the political world. I'll pull out one of your favorite trump cards - your religious bullshit is unpatriotic, it goes against the very basics of the American constitution and is in direct conflict with the views and wishes of our founding fathers. You are directly violating the most important tenents of the constitution, it doesn't get any more un-American than that.
So going forward, I'd like to propose some new rules. You're more than willing to express and publicize your views that homosexuals should not be allowed to marry. HOWEVER, under the pretext of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, I would like to enact the following rules in any such discussion:
1) At no time during your justification for preventing gay marriage are you permitted to quote scripture, refer to the Bible, the Koran, or any other religious text.
2) The views of Yahweh, Allah, or whomever your diety of choice is holds no meaning or importance in American law and as such you may not bring their views into the debate.
3) As a subpoint to rule 2 the words "God", the creator, or any synonym there-of also hold no meaning or importance in American law and also are strictly prohibited.
4) Insinuating that the definition of marriage is unchangeable is also strictly forbidden. Why? Because the strict Biblical definition of religion can be changed and indeed has been changed many times. Here are just a few examples how:
- Legalization of divorce
- Criminalization of marital rape (and recognition that the concept even exists)
- Recognition of women’s right to own property in a marriage
- Elimination of parents’ right to choose or reject their children’s mates
- Elimination of childhood marriages and betrothals
- Women not taking the last names of their husbands
- Changing emphasis from money and property to love and personal fulfillment
These are all direct changes to the BIBLICAL definition of marriage which have been performed and are commonly accepted so the implication that the definition of marriage given by the bible is final and can not be altered is a proven fallacy and as such holds no water in this particular case.
Now, with these rules in mind please feel free to assemble for presentation a coherent, defensible position on why homosexuals should not be allowed to marry. I'll wait but I certainly won't be holding my breath.