So NC passed legislature to change their constitution so that gay marriage is not legal. This is not news. In fact, some would wonder what took NC so long since they are the last “southern” state to pass such legislature. What surprised me about it is that they include civil unions in this change. I find that curious.
Marriage, as I have come to understand it, is the formal acknowledgment between God and church that you are bound to another person for life, good times or bad. Unless, of course, someone cheats. Or if things just don’t work out. Or if a short enough time period has passed to make the divorce sensational news. The short and long of it is: it’s a religious institution governed by the church. Strangely enough, it is also governed by the secular government.
That would be why I’m curious. We have this separation of church and state which I consider vital to the moral health of the church (because politics corrode everything they touch). Certainly, at the beginning of the country when they were laying down the constitution and all that, that the guys making the rules followed the basic blue prints of the past few thousand years of human civilization, i.e. marriage doesn’t happen unless the government approves. Why? Because separation of church and state didn’t become a viable idea for such a very long time. The church ruled everything. The church told you if you could hold a specific job, live in a certain neighborhood, associate with certain people, eat certain food, and so on. And what did that lead to? Persecution and death. Marriage has always been dictated by the government. It gives you rights, like, say, to all of your wife’s possessions. That’s how it worked and it did work because atheist was a very dirty word for a very long time.
Now, atheism is, strangely enough, a belief system in its own right. Where ever college students gather, there are church groups and atheist groups almost side by side. People don’t need to be married by a religious leader or even the captain of a ship because of a magical invention called a civil union. That’s where the judge has you sign a piece of paper, exchange rings (if you want), say a brief verbal contract and Waalaa! Legally married. Same rights and privileges of a married couple without the huge price tag and the whole “believe in God” thing.
What am I getting at? Ah, that’s right. Why the blooming bollocks is the government telling anyone who is allowed to get married? The church decides that. If the church believes that homosexuality is a sin, fine. Don’t marry gay people. However, I have yet to hear a secular argument against gay marriage. Everything I do hear has something to do with the “sanctity” of marriage and the “moral institution” of marriage. Quick, without resorting to a reference from Leviticus, explain to me why gay civil unions should be outlawed. I’m waiting. If you said that “marriage is between a man and a woman and that’s that,” you failed to listen to the question. This isn’t about marriage. It’s about legal rights for American citizens. Not religious beliefs. Legal rights. The right to say that this is my partner for life. When I’m sick in the hospital, I want him/her allowed to visit me as my family. When I want to adopt one of the millions of kids abandoned by people who uphold the “sanctity” of marriage because they aren’t gay, then I can because I won’t be bringing that child into a broken home.
I know this is upsetting to many people. First, there are the people who believe that this country will go to the dogs if we start accepting people deemed immoral. I have no way to answer that argument because I don’t know. There are even some who believe that this country was founded on Christian beliefs and I have to argue with that. I don’t like to, but I have to point out that several of our famous Founding Fathers (Jefferson and Franklin, for example) were Deists. They believed God was like a great watch maker. He built the universe and now just lets it run without any interference and that includes sending down Christ to save us all. Not exactly Christian beliefs. Don’t even get me started on the Puritans. This country was founded after our ancestors watched their country torn apart by the church. Politics corrupt everything. The church still suffers from this, but not as much as it would if it were given back the power it had just 200 years ago. I want my church as far away from the pestilence of government as possible.
I don’t like making these arguments because I know how many of my Christian friends won’t listen to it. That’s why I’m writing it down, I guess. This is my belief. The government dictates civil unions. I’ll leave the marriages to the church, to those who believe what they vow is held accountable in Heaven. Marriage isn’t being ruined by homosexuals. It’s being ruined by people who have conveniently forgotten that it is a religious institution, not just a legal box to check off to get life insurance or a green card. Those people who think that a wedding is the time to show off their wealth (whether they can afford it or not), to impress all the people who looked down on them in high school, to relive prom, or to boost their celebrity, they aren’t getting married before God. The wives who dump their husband because he was deployed and she just wasn’t ready for him to be gone. The kids who marry to defy their parents or because they had an “accident” and don’t want to get in trouble. Those who marry for money, prestige or political gain. What is all that blasphemy compared to two people who love each other and just want to be legally accountable to each other?
Now I have to step out on a limb just a bit more. I don’t believe homosexuality is a sin. I know what it says in the Bible. The best I can do is consider the acts a sin. The problem is, there is a lot in the Old Testament that we completely disregard and I know that most of those are just the Law of Moses, whereas God apparently abhors homosexuality. I guess that’s something that simply doesn’t change. Lucky for me, I’m not gay. I don’t know what I’ll do if one of my kids turns out to be, but I guess I will love them because what else can a mother do? As a Christian, it is not my duty to condemn homosexuals. That’s for God to do. My duty is to love them and treat them as my neighbors. I could be wrong, but I don’t remember Jesus saying “blessed are the poor, but the gays are effed.” Sorry for the sacrilege.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, “Bad form, NC.” I will pray for you and for our country. I will pray that our politicians can be Christian without making it a part of their political agenda. A good Christian doesn’t have to prove it. A really good Christian doesn’t even have to tell anyone because his behavior advertises for him. I pray that my Christian community tries to remember that over 200 Protestants were burned for heresy by a Catholic queen in less than a decade. Thousands upon thousands were murdered by the British government because of their religious beliefs. Even better, the right religion was determined by who was in charge. So one year, everyone must be Catholic. No, now everyone must be Anglican. No, wait, Catholic again. Oh, no, now Puritan is the way to go. Drat, back to Anglican. Or is it Protestant? Imagine one day finding that being Baptist is no longer in vogue and if you don’t flee the country now, you’ll lose all your legal rights and maybe your life. Maybe the Presbyterians will start looking threatening and suddenly everyone is so afraid of some clandestine Presbyterian plot to overthrow the government that being of that denomination becomes very dangerous. Be grateful that we aren’t dictated which denomination is correct by the government.
Allowing the government to dictate marriage is a bad idea. Let it run the secular side of things, keep the country running so we can focus on loving our neighbors and our God.
Rant complete. Please feel free to ignore this entirely.