Majority rules….or does it?

I want to preface this article by saying I understand that many will disagree with my conclusions….some even vehemently but I hope we can have a respectful and intelligent discussion.  We might each learn something new.

Throughout the history of the United States we see the abuse of the minority by the majority and the oppression of the weaker by the stronger.  Our nation was built on oppression by virtue of it’s dealings with the Native Americans.    We all know the history of how Black Americans have been treated in this country but what many may not know is that many other groups experienced horrific discrimination at the hands of the majority.  The Irish Catholic were hated and reviled even as they helped to build this country:

“Scratch a convict or a pauper, and the chances are that you tickle the skin of an Irish Catholic.”
-the Chicago Post, 1868.

“I am sorry to find that England is right about the lower class of Irish. They are brutal, base, cruel, cowards, and as insolent as base…my own theory is that St. Patrick’s campaign against the snakes is a Papish delusion. They perished of biting the Irish people.”
-a prominent New Yorker, 1863.

The Irish position “is one of shame and poverty. ‘My master is a great tyrant,’ said a Negro lately. ‘He treats me as badly as if I was a common Irishman.’”
-an Irishman writing home, 1851.

The Chinese fared even worse than the Irish even as they became a significant part of the labor force that laid the foundation of the American West:

No variety of anti-European sentiment has ever approached the violent extremes to which anti-Chinese agitation went in the 1870s and 1880s. Lynching, boycotts, and mass expulsions…harassed the Chinese.  SOURCE

And we should not forget the disgraceful treatment of the Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor:

Japanese American internment was the forcible relocation and internment of approximately 110,000 Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans to housing facilities called “War Relocation Camps”, in the wake of Imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. SOURCE

There is always at least one group of people that the majority feel free to oppress and hate…..we see evidence today of the hatred toward homosexuals, Mexicans and Muslims.

Many people honestly believe that the U.S. Government is set up in such a way that majority rules while turning a blind eye to the rights of the minority, but that is not the way our government was intended to work.

As I researched the role of the majority in relationship to the minority I found a number of points of interest.  From the U.S.  Department of State America Gov. website I find:

In a democratic society, majority rule must be coupled with guarantees of individual human rights that, in turn, serve to protect the rights of minorities and dissenters — whether ethnic, religious, or simply the losers in political debate. The rights of minorities do not depend upon the good will of the majority and cannot be eliminated by majority vote. The rights of minorities are protected because democratic laws and institutions protect the rights of all citizens.

Majority rule is a means for organizing government and deciding public issues; it is not another road to oppression. Just as no self-appointed group has the right to oppress others, so no majority, even in a democracy, should take away the basic rights and freedoms of a minority group or individual.  SOURCE

I have on many occasions had the discussion of whether or not we should outlaw same sex marriages and it is my contention that to do so is unconstitutional.  It is NOT a matter of what I believe, think, or feel, it is a matter of what is constitutional.

Section 1 of 14th Amendment to the United States  Constitution states:

Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

What does the Constitution mean when it says liberty?

In general, in the early years, it meant almost exclusively ”liberty of contract,” but with the demise of liberty of contract came a general broadening of ”liberty” to include personal, political and social rights and privileges.

The decreeing of an action by the majority does not in any way determine whether or not the action is constitutional, just or even in the best interest of the country. The founding fathers were quite aware of that fact and they addressed that issue when they set up the House of Representatives and the Senate. While the House of Representatives’ members are allocated according to population the Senate’s is not….each state is equally represented. Why would the founding fathers set up the legislative body in this manner if they were not aware of the danger of majority rules?

The Senate’s original purpose was to be the stable house in Congress, to take legislation from the House of Representatives and make sure that it was good law, not emotional majority will. SOURCE

Many have argued that same sex marriage is against the tenets of the Christian religion (Christianity being the religious majority of the U.S.). Often the argument that not everyone is a Christian and therefore should not be subjected to the tenets of Christianity is met with the counter argument that this country was founded by Christians.  I beg to differ in that the Constitution was written by men who were mostly Deists and not Christians, but whatever they were is really immaterial to the laws of the land.

The first amendment says:  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

If Congress cannot make a law to establish any one religion as being the state sponsored religion than it is equally unable to make laws favoring  one religion over another.

Article VI of the Constitution states:

“The senators and representatives before-mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Many times the self-proclaimed patriots who support the Constitution of the United States make a religious test their only test when choosing a representative or president…..something which flies in the face of the wisdom of the founding fathers.
I submit that the founding fathers wrote Article VI because they were aware that religion is often corrupted when intermingled with politics and vice versa.

Furthermore, not only did the Constitution forbid the establishing of a state religion, a treaty signed in 1797 by President John Adams, states unequivocally that the United States is NOT a “Christian nation”:

JUNE 10, 1797

ARTICLE 11. As the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmans; and, as the said States never entered into any wars, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext, arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. ¹

In 1800 in what may have been one of the nastiest elections of all times Thomas Jefferson was reviled for his lack of belief in the Christian religion.  In a pamphlet entitled SERIOUS CONSIDERATIONS ON THE ELECTION OF PRESIDENT ADDRESSED TO THE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES ², Rev. William Linn wrote of Thomas Jefferson:

To the declarations of disinterestedness and sincerity already made, I think it proper to add, that I have no personal resentment whatever against Mr. Jefferson, and that it is with pain I oppose him; that I was never in his company, and I would hardly know him; that I honor him in holding a high office in government; that I admire his talents and feel grateful for the services which he has been instrumental in rendering to his country; and that my objection to his being promoted to the Presidency is founded singly upon his disbelief of the Holy Scriptures, or in other words, his rejection of the Christian religion and open professions of Deism.

I find it mind boggling that the author of the Declaration of Independence and one of the most notable influences in the penning of the Constitution was not “qualified” to be President of the United States by virtue of his rejection of the Christian religion.  This man who subsequently became president virtually doubled the size of the United States, commissioned the Lewis & Clark expedition and in 1807 convinced Congress to pass a law prohibiting the importation of slaves into areas under the U.S. jurisdiction after January 1808.  Yet in the eyes of many he was not a Christian and therefore unfit to be president.

One of my favorite quotes concerning religion and politics is  from John Leland.³

. . . Disdain mean suspicion, but cherish manly jealousy; be always jealous of your liberty, your rights. Nip the first bud of intrusion on your constitution. Be not devoted to men; let measures be your object, and estimate men according to the measures they pursue. Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny–the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. It converts religion into a principle of state policy, and the gospel into merchandise. Heaven forbids the bans of marriage between church and state; their embraces therefore, must be unlawful. Guard against those men who make a great noise about religion, in choosing representatives. It is electioneering. If they knew the nature and worth of religion, they would not debauch it to such shameful purposes. If pure religion is the criterion to denominate candidates, those who make a noise about it must be rejected; for their wrangle about it, proves that they are void of it. Let honesty, talents and quick despatch, characterise the men of your choice. Such men will have a sympathy with their constituents, and will be willing to come to the light, that their deeds may be examined. .  . .SOURCE

I do not believe the Christian church’s commission is to regulate behavior through legislation and I do not believe that religion can be legislated.  Legislation is a worldly answer to a spiritual concern and I don’t believe it has ever worked.    Coercion was never part of the Christian plan.

When tempted to take the shortcut of government legislating religious tenets it is advisable to remember the old saying…If you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas.


¹ Source of Information:Treaty of Peace and Friendship Between The United States And The Bey And Subjects of Barbary. Communicated to the Senate, May 26, 179, American State Papers, Class I, Foreign Relations, Volume, II, Page 154). (The treaty was made under the administration of George Washington, and was signed and sealed at Tripoli on the fourth Day of November, 1796, and at Algiers the third day of January, 1797, by Hassan Bashaw, Dey of Algiers, and Joel Barlow, Counsul-General of the United States. American State Papers Bearing On Sunday Legislation, Revised and Enlarged Edition, Compiled and Annotated by William Addison Blakely, Revised Edition Edited by Willard Allen Colcord, The Religious Liberty Association, Washington D.C. 1911, pp 153.*It was ratified by the U.S. Senate June 7, 1797 and signed into law by President John Adams June 10, 1797.* SOURCE

² Source of Information: Linn, William, 1762-1808. Serious Considerations on the Election of a President: Addressed to the Citizens of the United States. New-York: Printed and sold by John Furman, at his blank, stamp, and stationary shop, opposite the City hall, 1800. Reproduced in the Microbook Library of American Civilization, fiche LAC 40066 (Chicago: Library Resources Inc., 1971)SOURCE

³ John Leland (1754-1841) was a Baptist preacher whose life involved writing about and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and about the proper relationship between religion and government. In the latter passion, Leland agreed with the position of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, both of whom he knew personally. Leland spent approximately 14 years in Virginia from 1776 to 1790-91. He was a major leader of the Baptists in Virginia. He helped Madison by rounding up support for the defeat of the assessment bill in Virginia in 1784-86, and by supporting the ratification of the new constitution (only after being assured that Madison did favor the addition of a bill of rights), He worked to get Madison elected (over Patrick Henry’s hand-picked James Monroe) to the House of Representatives of the First Federal Congress. He returned to his home state of Massachusetts in the winter of 1790-91, where he remained an active minister and champion of separation of church and state and disestablishment till his death in 1841. He wrote articles against establishment while in Massachusetts and testified before the Massachusetts legislature on at least one occasion.

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64 Responses to Majority rules….or does it?

  1. Wizcon says:

    over the years I have had many gay freinds and we have had many agonizing discussions. First and foremost were the discussions about their almost non citizen status and social osterization. While that has improved they are still delegated to a non citizen status in the mere fact of their homosexuality. They do not have the same rights. The biggest delemia is the fact that while marriage is a legal status politically and recognized by the government for tax, Social security, Heppa rights and legal standing, It is argued that marriage is a religious standing as well. That is the base for the objection to marriage rights for gays. The religious definition of marriage is describes the legal standing.

    Sage Reply:

    But religion doesn’t define our laws. The church….any church, already has the right to deny marrying a couple for whatever reason. Nobody is trying to force churches to marry gays if they don’t choose to. Gays are arguing for legal rights, not religious rights.

    Wizcon Reply:

    Yes Sage- Prop8 was over turned mainly by the efforts of the Mormon Church.

  2. alisilver says:

    My take on gay rights is this………well firstly it’s very similar to my take on the abortion issue! These are 2 very dividing and passionately argued items. And neither one,,,,,,,,,IMHO,,,,, have any place in politics at all. I think of all the things the govt. should do and does do and doesn’t do and needs to do and these 2 particular items are not government related. I think the govt. has hopped on to loads and loads of things that aren’t really ‘their business’. They are to protect the country and otherwise LEAVE us alone. In a world where terrorism, economy, wars and lots of huge things are going on, i just think inviting the govt into more private or personal areas of our life is a bad idea. Also, if you took those 2 issues off the board, I think that is when it’s very most clear that the democratic and republican party are the same thing ;)

    Sage Reply:

    I definitely agree. The government needs to butt out of a lot of things.

  3. alisilver says:

    But I buck my own party on a lot of items, in fact I’m kind of party-less at this point. I’m independant methinks !

  4. alisilver says:

    either i’m TOTALLY the first one up today or i’m on the wrong blog..

    Sage Reply:

    You must be the first one up. Good morning!

  5. Cinie says:

    According to my understanding of the Old Testament,and believe me, I’m no Biblical scholar, though, unlike a lot of religious fanatics, I have actually read it, one does not need sanction by clergy or state to be considered married in God’s eyes. Therefore, our modern definition of marriage cannot truly be based on religion, it is basically a legal contract. Makes the whole debate bogus, imho.

  6. There is a far more interesting question that the gay single, living together, and child free communities should be discussing. Why are all benefits available only to those in a sexual union whose union is acknowledge by the state and or religion? Why aren’t secular benefits pro-rated and available to people not in sexual union for their relatives and unrelated children and adults?

    This was the point of the last few episodes of that Legal program with whats his name from Star Trek – Captain Kirk.

    Why only sexual unions and biological or adopted children are eligible for benefits? How does this benefit the corporate patriarchies?

    Why is it considered “progressive” to agitate for admission into a privileged group that serves the aims of the corporate state which punishes by economic and other methods those who do not comply?

    Sage Reply:

    I’m not sure I understand….secular benefits for relatives and unrelated children and adults????

    alisilver Reply:

    I think he means what if you lived with your sister and she and you took care of your parent and she had a job with benefits and you stayed home with her kids, etc etc… Then why couldnt YOU get her benefits? But as it is now it’s only to spouses or partners or some form of intimate relationship. That’s what I thoguth it meant.

    alisilver Reply:

    Wait,,,,,,, the unrelated part,,,, who knows…

  7. alisilver says:

    Well and it’s up to a company, not the govt. imho,, whether or not and who to give benefits to. My husband is in construction, we have NO benefits, ZERO ZILCH NONE. That is his company’s option. So if he were to decide to have benefits and said they are ONLy for married people, then that’s his choice. If yu don’t like it work elsewhere. By the same token, if he said he wanted them to be for gay partners as well , then he shouldnt feel any backlash. I mean,,,,,,,it’s just all choice. But if you are going to have the gay community bugging you for NOT allowing gay unioned benefits,,,, then who will protect SAID company from the right wing zealots who protest if they DO allow gay benefits. I don’t get it. When i go to home depot,,,,,,,,,,,i don’t protest because they don’t sell eggs and milk… i go to an egg and milk store. So if your job doesnt accomodate your own needs by benefits, go and get another job. You shouldnt be able to forc ea company to bend to your will. That is just wrong. Maybe i feel this way because we have no benefits. So i think if your job offers ANY benefits, be happy with them an shut up ! :P

  8. alisilver says:

    God told us pretty plainly and clearly not to judge others. A lot of Christians forget that part of the bible. :)
    I heard ya God !

  9. Well Sage take social security. SS benefits only transfer to a wife or upon disability to biological child. WHY? If citizens are entitled to said benefit why only to the nuclear family? Why can’t I choose someone, in my case a niece who worked as a cleaning person all her life, her hands almost deformed now; why on my death could she not get my SS if larger than hers; just as a spouse can now?

    If I get the right to insure my child under my employers insurance, why does it have to be a biological child? Why can’t I buy it for my cousin’s under insured child? Why is the transfer of benefits available for marriage and reproduction? And it should not be up to the employer. We have insurance laws and right to operate conditions in every state.

    Why only married couples and legal children? Because that benefits the misogynist, patriarchal, corporate, religious, government complex and its media tools which want an ever growing controllable population of worker slaves.

    Sage Reply:

    Ok…I get you now. I wasn’t sure exactly what you meant. You bring up some good points.

    As a married person who is childless, I often wonder why it is that parents get tax breaks for their children but I have to pay taxes for schooling for their children. How is that equitable? I don’t use the school’s services.

    Do we need really to reward people for reproducing?

  10. For unrelated: What about all the people who live together because they do not believe in the state’s right to control their union — the benefits they choose to share should be available to them as they are available to the married. And what about my dear best friend and her children whom I have known for 20 years and love although we have absolutely no sexual attraction. What about business partners?

    Sage Reply:

    The way things are set up now is really a form of manipulation. The government deems it is better for people to marry and have children so they set up the system to reward that behavior.

  11. You are exactly correct.

    I stared this argument on Astartes Circus “on babies and hypocrisy” cursed them when I was told to eat a .44 for these views. Left for Twisty’s, I blame the Patriarchy “Leave them wanting More”.

    Ended on Autist’s Corner “A bit more on Reproductive choice”. Almost everything I said was distorted to the point I thought I was talking to right to lifers but finally think I got through after a while on Autist’s.

    There is another good discussion on Bones without a sense of Direction, “Controlling Birth”.

  12. Bantryb says:

    Hi Sage – Interesting post! I’ve taken 24 hours to think about this and respond, as I believe the gravity of the issue requires some considered amount of thought. I’ll respond in kind.

    I am not quite sure whether your post is to affirm a belief in equal rights for homosexuals, Mexicans and Muslims (quite a diverse group, whose only common denominator, as I see it, is a requirement by the minority of those groups is that Americans not only tolerate but embrace their particular differences, which they intend to keep separate from the values and beliefs of the majority of Americans. To wit – Mexicans or Latinas who wish to create a “new Mexico” within America’s borders – who persist in showing no desire to learn English, who send a majority of their earnings back to Mexico and who ignore proper avenues for immigration, because they really don’t want to become American citizens, but would rather just reap American bounty. Then there are homosexuals who wish to be recognized as “married”, without a clear definition from many as to what privileges that status would grant or the Muslim who wishes, not to simply have their religion recognized but who may or may not have views that are not in harmony with a universal “religious” goal of harmony and peace.

    The first part of your post observes the inequities that various ethnic groups have experienced as they came to this country and worked to become part of the vast melting-pot of America. It is quite true that each of those ethnicities mentioned experienced persecution, no matter how well meaning, by many citizens of this country.

    However, your comparison doesn’t quite fit this particular situation. Each of those groups of people worked to become a part of the American culture. They did not, for the most part, try to set themselves apart, nor did they demand that their values and beliefs be recognized and made a part of the American fabric. In other words, they worked to assimilate into the culture, not to set themselves apart. Whatever values they brought with them from their homelands, they set as secondary to the desire to become part of the American culture.

    The second part of your argument quickly visits the issues of the 14th Amendment ie., freedom of the individual. While you highlighted the second part of that amendment, you rushed past the first part of that amendment. We are citizens SUBJECT TO THE JURISDICTION of the United States. We are a nation of laws. Those laws have been carefully thought out by by our citizenry and have been adopted as the framework by which we live. They have been argued, from their inception, by the courts and have been found to be an “agreed upon” view of how we, as Americans, will conduct ourselves within the framework of our citizenship.

    Marriage within the traditional, religious sense, as a union sanctioned by God, is not a right, any more than a 14-yr-olds desire to have a driver’s license or a pedophile’s desire to molest children. Where does a minority’s desire to have what they want usurp moral imperatives? What IS a right is equal protection under the law. That is two-sided, by the way. There must be a balance between the minority and the majority. THAT is what the founding fathers sought to achieve. The question then becomes whether or not marriage, as traditionally defined, is the only remedy by which homosexuals can, at least partially,achieve parity. The answer is “no”. Given your heritage, Sage, I’m surprised you didn’t consider another option.

    The Cherokee Nation, under the leadership of John Ross, had, from it’s earliest encounters with the white man, argued that they were separate and distinct and had certain rights, which were acknowledged in numerous treaties, as a sovereign nation within the lands known as the United States. Ross argued this point with more than one president and before Congress, only to be usurped by some within his own Nation and sold out. The Indian Removal Act and laws drawn up by Georgia and North Carolina effectively negated any rights of the Cherokee and placed them in an untenable position.

    In 1889, in order to protect the Cherokee who remained in North Carolina, William Holland Thomas, a backwoods lawyer and the only white man who has ever been named Chief of the Eastern Band, incorporated the Eastern Band. Under the new corporation, the Cherokee could hold title to property and bring arguments and seek redress for violation against the people to state and federal courts. In other words, the corporation became the body through which the Cherokee became a recognized, separate entity in the legal arena.

    For homosexuals who are seeking recognition under the law, many of the arguments they present for marriage may be addressed under the simple act of incorporation. For issues such as HEPA and Social Security, these are not issues which strictly affect the homosexual community. They affect non-married heterosexual couples as well. Remedy for recognition in those arenas could and should be sought for all in non- married relationships.

    Your argument then moves to the issue of religion. The argument of religion has no place within the issue of homosexual “marriage” as it affects the legal decisions of a homosexual couple. If religion has any place at all, it is an argument for the sanctification of the chosen union. That is an issue that cannot be legislated.

    You have rightly pointed out that a Christian denomination has the “right” to refuse to sanctify a union. The majority of denominations have chosen to do so. The Episcopal church, which is one of the few exceptions, has found itself embroiled in an argument for sanctification which is causing a huge schism within it’s corporate body. Parishes and indeed, the Episcopal Church itself have been losing membership and financial support in huge numbers due to this issue. To “bless” the union as being sanctified by God flies in the face of historic and canonical interpretation of the scriptures. That cannot be changed by any legislative body, nor do I expect that the demanding of “rights” will hold much water within the traditional Christian interpretation of the laws of God. I have not researched other religions, but based on what I do know, the major world religions all reject the notion of marriage as an institution that is sanctioned by whatever interpretation of God that particular sect holds.

    So find a way for parity of all people in issues like HEPA and Social Security? Yes. If gays are NOT arguing religious sanction, then they should look outside of themselves and seek to change legislation for all groups that are impaired by current law. You will notice they have not done that. For them, this IS a religious issue as well as a legal one. If it were not, they would have sought a coalition of all of those who are affected.

    Resort, however, to a slap in the face and a diminution of the institution of marriage under virtually all of the world’s relgions under the pretense of “rights” of the minority, no.

    Sage Reply:

    It’s really quite simple….I believe in equal rights for everyone regardless of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc.

    Why is the burden on the gay community to seek to change legislation for all groups? Have other groups sought to change legislation for the gay community? No, not so much. I believe your conclusion that they are looking for religious sanction because they haven’t sought to change legislation for all is erroneous and I’m not sure how you came to that conclusion. I would be interested in what you are basing that claim on.

    I also don’t believe gays marrying diminishes the institution of marriage….divorce does not extending the equal rights to all as guaranteed under the constitution. It makes no sense to me that the gay couple down the street marrying somehow effects my marriage. Given that marriage is not exclusive to Christians, I don’t believe gay marriage is a slap in Christianities face. I think many Christians choose to look at it that way because they disapprove on religious grounds. I understand that but religious grounds aren’t what our laws should be based on.

  13. Sage

    But the question is what is the moral thing to do — join with similarly disadvantaged groups or fight for inclusion in a group which discriminates against the others? I wish we could open up sexual union rights to everyone but I guess we do not because we do not really feel the lack until something happens. And the entire patriarchy has us looking at the question from their construct.

    Bantryb Reply:

    Interesting question, Green. Moral values certainly play a huge part in this argument and as we all know, morals cannot be legislated. While I agree that patriarchy has certainly played a huge part in or views, I do question whether or not a matriarchy would view it differently. I really don’t know, since I’ve never lived under one. Would a feminist viewpoint have us examine the question in another light? Depends on your current view of feminism, I suspect.

    Sage Reply:

    I don’t believe there is another group disadvantaged in quite the same way as homosexuals.

    If we look at the issue from a completely secular point of view the question becomes what is best for society. Is it not an advantage to society for homosexuals to be in committed monogamous relationships? I think it is.

    Bantryb Reply:

    What is the advantage, Sage? I haven’t been in a committed monogamous relationship in 15 years. Is society disadvantaged by that fact? Am I disadvantaged by that fact. For me, I think not.

    And if the issues are the same – HEPA, Social Security, etc., then how are they MORE disadvantaged? I think your argument is more one of acceptance. That comes more from assimilation rather than setting ones self as distinctly different.

    Sage Reply:

    One of the criticisms of the gay community has been they are sexually promiscuous, yet when they want to marry they are told they can’t do so. As for you not being in a committed monogamous relationship it depends on your lifestyle as to whether or not it is a detriment to society. In general, those in committed relationship are more financially stable and less likely to be sexually promiscuous…..that is what is an advantage to society.

    How can homosexuals assimilate when they are treated distinctly differently? Society tells them they are different and unacceptable.

  14. Bantryb says:

    I believe in equal rights as well – but marriage is not a right. That is the position of at least some of the states courts in which it has been tested.

    I’ll agree that a change in legislation for other groups has not been sought. The question that needs to be asked is “Why?”. Surely the other groups feel the same discrimination as gays say that they do. Perhaps it is because those groups have found redress in other ways. I don’t really know the answer to that. All I know is that for them, it doesn’t seem to be the same burning issue as it is for gays. Is it their burden? No. But I, at least, must ask the question as to why gays have not sought the support of other groups. In the majority/minority argument, wouldn’t the added numbers of non-married but straight strengthen their argument? Again, my opinion, this appears to be more an issue of acceptance than legal rights.

    To answer your question about the religious issue – in the first place, I didn’t say that they were looking for religious sanction. I questioned whether or not they were. That is a question that will only be fully answered if and when gay marriage is legalized. At this point, it’s rather difficult to argue. If, however, a couple become members of a given church or if they always have been, with or without the foreknowledge of the church that they are gay, then they CONCEIVABLY will be able, were gay marriage legal, to argue in court that the church must, then, marry them. While that argument was not present in a current court case, a lesbian couple in NJ has sued the Methodist church for the right to hold a civil ceremony on church property. The issue at hand was as regards the church’s threatened loss of their 503-C tax exempt status. That is neither the first, nor will it be the last law suit, in my opinion. The schism in the Episcopal church as regards gay marriage is huge. Gays were/are asking for marriage – sanctification of their union – within the church. The same thing is occurring within the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, though to a lesser extent. I do not fool myself into believing that this is “just” about “rights”. It is, in my opinion, about far more than that. (Remember, you asked for opinions. Just because they don’t agree with yours doesn’t automatically make them invalid.) While our forefathers, in writing the Constitution clearly defined the the position of the state as regards the establishment of religion, they carefully did not define, within the Constitution itself, the protections afforded the religious entities that did exist. They wanted to give to us our freedom OF religion, not necessarily freedom FROM religion. In other words, you’re free to worship in whatever denomination (or not) as you see fit. Conversely, it implies that whatever denominations (Christian or otherwise)

    I think, in part, this whole argument revolves around the word “marriage”. In traditional terms, it has meant a union sanctioned by God and recognized in the eyes of the church. That has evolved to a certain degree, within the European tradition when the law superceeded the Papal church and marriage had to be recognized by both the religious entity (whatever hit happened to be) as well as the legal entity. The judiciary/legislative branch of whichever government gave the civil blessing or what is commonly described as a civil union and the church, whatever denomination gave the sanctified blessing, commonly described as a marriage.

    Is there a difference between a sanctified union and a civil union? I suppose it depends on which side of the fence you sit. Is there a difference between equal treatment under the law? Absolutely. Does that need to be rectified? Absolutely. Is marriage, as it is commonly defined, the answer? In my opinion, no.

    Sage Reply:

    If marriage isn’t a right then nobody should be allowed to get married in the legal sense. Let all marriages be a religious sacrament and religious sacrament only with no legal benefits. But, here’s the problem… has become a right that is extended only to heterosexuals and it’s “sanctioned” by the government, thus setting up an inequality.

    As to what the term marriage means you have chosen what you believe to be the meaning but that’s not how Webster’s defines marriage: 1 a (1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2): the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage b: the mutual relation of married persons : wedlock c: the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage2: an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected ; especially : the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities3: an intimate or close union

    Herein is part of the problem. Christians seem to think they have a lock on the term marriage and they don’t. All cultures have a form of marriage and it’s pre-dates the Christian religion. As for lawsuits against churches I believe the courts will find them without merit. However, the Christian church has fallen into the trap of getting in bed with the government and when they do so they run the risk of government interference. Look at the faith based ministries who take government money….by doing so they will find they have sold their souls to the devil so to speak. This intermingling of church and state is a danger foremost to the church and it is the biggest folly of the modern church.

    I believe the founding fathers made it quite plain that it was their intention to keep religion out of government and vice versa. Freedom OF religion IS freedom from religion as well. All one has to do is read some of the correspondence from the founding fathers and they will find they were most definitely in favor of separation of church and state.

    Here is my whole point of contention…..majority rule often becomes mob rule. Hatred toward a group of people is often encouraged and/or instigated by religion. Much of the hatred toward the Irish was their Catholicism; the Chinese were considered heathen as were Native Americans and blacks were considered sub-human BY CHRISTIANS. We see much of the same hatred toward homosexuals from Christians. The Christian church is on very dangerous ground when it seeks to use the government to it’s own ends. AS a Christian I believe that this co-mingling of church and state is unBiblical, unGodly, and a serious danger to the church. Often Christians complain about persecution when in fact they are engaged in persecution and refuse to see what they are bringing on themselves.

    In the area where I live it is virtually impossible to find a church that isn’t so wrapped up in politics and it’s political causes that it’s forgotten the great commission the church was given….a commission which had NOTHING to do with legislating behavior.

    1 Corinthians 5:12-13 (New International Version)
    What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.

    I believe the present day Christian church has totally overlooked Paul’s instruction….while greed and immorality of all kinds goes on in the church the church turns a blind eye because it is wrapped up in judging those outside the church.

  15. Bantryb says:

    I agree that there may be some Christians that think they have a lock on the term marriage, however, by your own example, the commonly accepted FIRST definition of marriage is a union between a man and a woman.

    I wouldn’t necessarily go to Paul for a reference as to how a church should conduct itself. Paul often spoke in terms of ideals. For example, he wasn’t a very big proponent of marriage at all. He even says that it would be better if we didn’t marry. You say that all cultures have a form of marriage – however, in all cases, to the best of my knowledge, with the exception of some sects within the Greek culture, that marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s purpose, within the Christian faith, was to preserve the sanctity of the family. Whatever deviations from the concept of man/woman union have existed are now extinct. To the best of my knowledge, throughout the world, the concept of marriage is within a male/female relationship.

    But we digress from the issue at hand. I haven’t been able to determine whether your point is equal treatment under the law or “Christian” ie; religious right intolerance or the right of homosexuals to claim a right to the term marriage as it defines their unions.

    You still haven’t responded to my question as to why homosexuals shouldn’t find solutions to their problems within the legislative system and outside of the concept of marriage. In other words, why does it have to be marriage that solves what I thought was the original issue?

    Bantryb Reply:

    Or is your argument, as it was originally posed, a question of the perception and desires of the majority taking precedent of the desires of the minority. That’s a whole other issue and is not, as you know, necessarily limited to the issue of gay marriage.

    Sage Reply:

    No, it’s not limited which is why I brought up the treatment of Native Americans, blacks, etc.

    Sage Reply:

    You can’t have equal but separate. Equal rights would be marriage.

    Sage Reply:

    yes, traditionally it has been between a man and woman, but the point was it is a legal issue not a religious issue and laws can be changed.

    The issues are intertwined as it is most commonly Christians who are are most vehemently opposed to gay marriage.

    Why should homosexuals have to forgo the solution of marriage for a strictly legislative solution? Because Christians don’t like the idea of gay marriage?

    If Paul isn’t a viable authority on church conduct who is?

  16. Ah Bantryb I am not looking for a matriarchy – puke — I am looking for EQUAL rights and justice. Under equal rights all benefits would be available to all regardless of sexual partners. And both males and females would be able to say NO to bringing a child into the world and if the answer is yes, both would have financial responsibility and equal rights.

    I don’t believe in special rights and I don’t believe in marriage. I believe in contracts and would make them easier to understand for the masses.

    Sage Reply:

    My great grandmother was from a matriarchal society….I wish I had known her and could ask her how different it was from a patriarchal society.

  17. Comment:
    If marriage isn’t a right then nobody should be allowed to get married in the legal sense. Let all marriages be a religious sacrament and religious sacrament only with no legal benefits.

    But, here’s the problem… has become a right [WITH SPECIAL BENEFITS AVAILABLE ONLY TO ]that is extended only to heterosexuals and it’s “sanctioned” by the government, thus setting up an inequality

    Right Sage – let us accept the US as a secular society with taxpayer benefits and legal rights conferred in a secular manner.

  18. No it would not be equal rights, it would be admitting another group into the acceptable priveledged state in a patriarchal social order.

  19. Be careful Sage == there are so many lies and wishes and male written histories– separate is NOT equal and especially when women do not own and pass property nor make decisions for the whole — selecting the chief is not making decisions –stuff like that BE CAREFUL – I wish someone’s grandmother was alive–Is there no one woman alive?? I never heard the Cherokee were really matriarchal — The Hopi were/are the only truly matriarchal NA tribe that I have heard about and they are interesting as it seems… well let’s just say it is hard to tell if it is egalitarian or matriarchal. Have you seen the corn dance to the corn goddess? Have you talked to the Hopi matriarchs? There is a long ago video which is stupefying – i could never walk a corn field the same way after I saw that.

    Sage Reply:

    My great grandmother was Monacan. The women owned everything and when one of them married her husband had to live with her tribe.

  20. havingfun says:

    Hi Sage and all,
    Since I am accused of being a spy for you, I decided to come on in and see how you are doing.
    Hope everyone’s holidays were enjoyable!

    Sage Reply:

    I hope you had a good holiday as well.

    I’ve been accused of so many things I’ve lost track.

  21. havingfun says:

    by the way Sage, I didn’t get my check last week.
    Is there a problem?? LOL

    Sage Reply:

    I think I got your position as spy confused with minion. Minions don’t get paychecks. ;-)

    havingfun Reply:

    Minion?! Have I demoted from super top spy to minion?!

    havingfun Reply:

    Grandma1 will be so upset to learn I am not a super top spy anymore.

    Sage Reply:

    Poor grandma.

    Sage Reply:

    There’s just so many spies and minions I can’t keep track. :-)

  22. Grace says:

    lol @ Sage and havingfun’s conversation. Gee, I got jipped for being a minion!!

    Sage Reply:

    Just as soon as I get a $500,000 donation I’ll put everyone on salary!

    havingfun Reply:

    Can’t wait to tell grandma, she will be thrilled to know I will be getting promoted again. She worries so much about me.

    Sage Reply:

    I might even consider promoting you to assistant devil. :-) Of course you will have to give up your soul.

    Grace Reply:

    Hurray…Sage is spreading her wealth!

    I need some money badly to get some tanning done…since I am supposed to be a Kenyan.

    Hi Havingfun!

    Sage Reply:

    I’ve been told the $500,000 check is in the mail.

    havingfun Reply:

    You mean I have one to give up!
    Awesome, the way she talks I have no soul or shadow!
    Hi Grace, good articles, pisses gma off, so they are great!
    (that and the good writing too!)

    Grace Reply:

    Thanks Havingfun! I am glad you enjoyed it, Sage helped me alot with all the grammer syntax.

    Grandma can research on her own and proof me wrong. Or else, she needs to get over it.

  23. Grace says:

    I was accused to be and obot, to a person with no soul and reflection, to Kenyan refugees in Norway, to Sage’s minion, to one of the chicken in hen house, to mountain woman, and back to illegal Kenyan in US

  24. Grace says:

    Sage, what are you now…a fraud under investigation/liar?

    Sage Reply:

    I’ve lost track.

  25. Grace says:

    goodnight, Sage…

    I will probably stay up since I nap for 4 hours, lol!

  26. alisilver says:

    Unless someone is awake and lurking on a different thread….

  27. Grace says:

    Good morning, Ali and everyone!

  28. Sage says:

    Good morning.

  29. Grace says:

    Just paid a bunch of bills…and have to pack some more boxes. Will be in and out.

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