Friday, April 06, 2012

Where the Pro-Discrimination Folks Are Getting Their Talking Points

Many of the leaders supporting Amendment 1, and some of those posting comments on this blog, echo the preachments of a crowd that gathered in Wake Forest last week at a Baptist seminary. Bob Geary was there and wrote a lengthy account in The Independent, "Does the Religious Right really believe equality will allow us to marry ice cream?"

Geary's account is certainly a window into the theocratic soul: the paranoia, the group coercion, the fantasies of persecution ... all the stuff I grew up with and was surrounded by continually in West Texas, the firm belief that The Devil was after US and was represented most clearly by THEM.

"We can leave this morning determined that we're going to do God's will on this amendment," thundered former Republican state Sen. Jim Jacumin of Burke County. "Confront the devils who are arranged on the other side."

Ah! Everything's so much clearer when there are DEVILS.

On the issue of the constitutional discrimination represented by the language of Amendment 1, Daniel Heimbach, senior professor of Christian ethics at Southeastern Baptist Seminary in Wake Forest, said:
For starters, gays can marry.... They just can't marry each other. Heimbach then spun out an amazing circular argument: Restricting marriage to straight couples cannot, by definition, be discriminatory as long as marriage is defined as a man and a woman and same-sex couples are barred from marrying or entering into civil unions.
It was as if he had said that, because voting was at one time limited to white people, not allowing blacks to vote wasn't discriminatory because, well, blacks weren't white.
Heimbach said marriage is defined now as the union of two people who together can produce a child. "If marriage is radically redefined as a way of just affirming loving feelings of attraction," he said, "then equality will require allowing people who love dogs to marry dogs. And people who love ice cream to marry ice cream."
That's what he said.

"Senior professor of Christian ethics"!

Suddenly, I feel like agreeing with every poster on this blog who screams that college professors are complete idiots.


Anonymous said...

I think that legally, if you try to define a 'person' as anything other than a 'person' ie male, female, black, white, hispanic (what does this mean anyway? Spanish + Aztech + Indian?) you are introducing discrimination into your policy.

I am pretty sure an ice cream cone, gay or straight, cannot be defined as a person.

Meatcamp said...

Wow! Does that mean no woman older than 50 is allowed to marry? Or no males who have had vasectomies or otherwise infertile?

shyster said...

Do I have to divorce my wife to marry butter pecan or can I just have the butter pecan as a mistress?

Deborah Greene said...

The Marriage amendment reads:

SECTION 1. Article 14 of the North Carolina Constitution is amended by adding the following new section:
"Sec. 6. Marriage.
Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts."

The current law, NC General Statute§ 51-1.2 reads: “Marriages, whether created by common law, contracted, or performed outside of North Carolina, between individuals of the same gender are not valid in North Carolina.”

Has this stopped people of the same-sex from having a marriage ceremony? No. Has this stopped people of the same-sex from living together? No. Has this stopped people of the same-sex from having sexual relationships? No. Has this stopped people of the same-sex from adopting children? No. Has this allowed one member of a same-sex relationship to assault another party of the relationship? No.

There is and should be equality among people. We of course, can't control what goes through the minds of one; we can only put laws in place to discourage the action. So, does equality extend to how we define marriage? This is answered best by recognizing NC's long-standing definition of marriage originating from the Bible. It is so strongly tied to the Bible that ministers are among the only authorities that may legally declare a couple married:

"§ 51‑1. Requisites of marriage; solemnization. A valid and sufficient marriage is created by the consent of a male and female person who may lawfully marry, presently to take each other as husband and wife, freely, seriously and plainly expressed by each in the presence of the other, either:
(1) a. In the presence of an ordained minister of any religious denomination, a minister authorized by a church, or a magistrate; and
b. With the consequent declaration by the minister or magistrate that the persons are husband and wife; or
(2) In accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any religious denomination, or federally or State recognized Indian Nation or Tribe."

This reaffirms that the Constitutional guarantee to right of freedom of religion does not separate the church from the state, as many claim, it only prevents the recognition of one religion over another by the state or the passage of laws governing or interfering with worship.


Anonymous said...

Well said, Ms. Greene!

Anonymous said...

Well, now. That was a dandy response, Deborah. Nice try.

Yes. Gays can live together and have a marriage ceremony (for all the good it will do them). But if the Amendment passes, it will outlaw civil unions between any unmarried couples. That's unions between men and men and women and women and men and women. You don't have to believe me. Just read what legal scholars are saying about the phrasing of the Amendment and the consequences it will bring. If you dare.

Then you argue preachers who would like to marry same-couples shouldn't be allowed to because your religion doesn't think it's right. So, yes, you are, by supporting this Amendment, claiming your religion is better than mine and that mine shouldn't be recognized.

It is indeed a matter of equality. And you're on the wrong side of it.

Why are you so batshit crazy on all this any way? What's it to you what other people do? What business is it of yours? Don't you have something better to do than run around trying to manage other people's lives? Why do you think gays are destroying your marriage?

Liberal POV said...

Deborah Greene

I'm happy you're here, the good Christians censors on the other blog keep deleting my questions to you. The conservative and local Republican leadership are coward when it come to competing with ideas and solutions, fear, hate, bigotry and censorship are their political tools.

How will your marriage be more secure, legal, or special if bigotry in written in the NC Constitution?

Why do you feel you need the GOP or NC politicians to protect your marriage?

How will you be harmed if the Gay community is allowed to marry and have the same civil rights, human rights, freedom and liberty as you?

Anonymous said...

Very good thought Ms. Greene. The constitution was written in order that the state will not establish a certain religion. (i.e. The Church of England).

If anyone has seen our own story, Horn in the West, they will see this very clearly. They will also see how faith in God was an important foundation of this country.

amjp said...

"In the presence of an ordained minister of any religious denomination, a minister authorized by a church." And this is not discriminatory? According to this statement, marriage in NC is limited to Christians. "minister"? "church"? Or doesn't Deborah understand that.
Happy Passover - and Easter

Deborah Greene said...

Liberal POV, Maybe this will help. And, bear with me; it will take 2 parts to get it posted.

Why did government think it was necessary to define marriage at all? Government saw the need, for the common good, to establish a law that would protect children and promote/encourage the family. Yes, we have divorce; but, we have divorce laws. NC has a one year waiting period again to protect children and promote the family. Government recognizes its limits. Government can't stop or penalize a same-sex couple for loving one another, living together, entering into a contractual agreement or having a ceremony expressing their love and/or commitment to one another. Nor can government prevent a couple from divorcing.

While we must recognize that all people are equal? All actions are not. Some same-sex couples claim that this amendment will change laws which protect people from assault. The definition of marriage we have in the NC General Statutes now doesn't affect the laws discouraging assault. Putting NC’s legal definition of marriage under the protection of the NC Constitution, so as to prevent the legislature from changing the definition without a vote of the people, has no effect on the current assault laws.

There has been and rightfully so, a limitation on equality of actions. A good example would be "freedom of speech" checked by "defamation of character" laws. While defamation of character laws doesn't prevent someone from speaking as they so desire; it provides for consequences when freedom of speech infringes upon another person's personal right to "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness". Laws don't prevent actions; they discourage actions.
Marriage, originated from Biblical principle. The NC State Constitution declares that we the people of NC acknowledge Almighty God as our Sovereign Ruler, acknowledge our dependence on Almighty God for the preservation and existence of our civil, political and religious liberties, and acknowledge our dependence on Almighty God for the continuance of those blessings to us and our posterity; and, it upon this reliance on Almighty God, the People of NC, have established the People's law, the NC State Constitution. It is from our acknowledgement of God, marriage has been defined and recognized as the union between one man and one woman long ago. Any other definition of marriage would be a denial of Almighty God. Our Constitution reaffirms our declaration of reliance on Almighty God for everything by declaring that anyone who denies Almighty God is not eligible for elected office, representation of the people of the State of NC. The NC Constitution refers to NC as a "Christian state" by acknowledging that the "provision for the poor, the unfortunate, and the orphan is one of the first duties of a Christian state" when declaring that "the General Assembly shall provide for and define the duties of a board of public welfare." The NC Constitution encourages education because "religion, morality and knowledge" are "necessary to good government and happiness of mankind".
The Bible tells us that God is in control of everything. So whether the amendment passes or not, we believe that God has provided us the opportunity to vote on the Marriage Amendment. With that in mind, we have three choices: 1) Vote to protect marriage as God defines it, as the union of one man and one woman; 2) Vote to not protect marriage as God defines it or 3)Not to vote at all.

The 3rd option would be to deny the opportunity that God has provided. And, the second option would be to deny God which is blasphemy. This leaves us with option 1. This is the decision that Christians are faced with.

End of Part I

Deborah Greene said...

Liberal POV, Here is Part II.

Discrimination is another issue; judgment is another issue and loving others is another issue. When you consider God's Word, loving those in same-sex relationships would not include encouraging the relationship when we know what God says about the consequences of such relationships. Not discriminating is treating same-sex couples equally without going against God's law. Not judging same-sex couples is to know that we are all sinners and to pray for one another, witness to one another and leave judgment to God.

Christians also know from God's Word (Ephesians) that God relates marriage to Christ's relationship with the Church (the body of Christ). This relationship is one of Christ's sacrificial love and the Church's submission to Him. When a man and a woman follow God's instructions in Ephesians they grow spiritually in the understanding of this relationship (God refers to it as the mystery). And, it is on this relationship that God instructs the family: the father, the mother and the children. It is this sanctity of marriage, the foundation of the family, and spiritual growth of God's witnesses and expansion of His plan that we make our decision.

End Part II.

Happily Married said...

Deborah Greene,

I am confused. You state that the definition prevents one religion from put put another religion because a minister of any religion can marry a man and a woman. What if my religion is not based on the bible and my definition of marriage is different from that in the Bible. Is your Bible based religion and definition better than mine (or above mine?) Why would you want to discourage homosexuality? I am sure your answer is that your Bible does to allow for it. But what about someone else's religion. Is your better or above theirs when it comes to homosexuality. Is this not the State establishing one religion over another? Why cant we find a definition that is works for all religions. I can come up with one fairly easily. I find your two faced approach offensive.

Opinionated said...

Wow, hadn't thought of that. Is a rabbi an "ordained minister"? If not, my Jewish friends are up a creek!

I agree this is establishing one religion over another, since I have talked to ministers who WISH to bless same-sex unions and are not allowed to under NC law.

Brushfire said...

There was in fact intended to be a wall of separation between any church, and the state. The Treaty of Tripoli, signed by President Johyn Adams states that
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."
Madison, the father of the constitution said "Strongly guarded as is the separation between religion and & Gov't in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history "(Detached Memoranda, circa 1820).
In other words, keep your religious belief out of our laws!!!!

RV said...

Why should only minorities have to learn to tolerate human differences?

Liberal POV said...

Deborah Greene

In your long response I don't see the answers to my questions.

How will your marriage be more secure, legal, or special if bigotry in written in the NC Constitution?

Why do you feel you need the GOP or NC politicians to protect your marriage?

How will you be harmed if the Gay community is allowed to marry and have the same civil rights, human rights, freedom and liberty as you?

shyster said...

Essentially a marriage is a contract between two people in front of witnesses. I would bet that anyone can start a religion, declare himself/herself a minister of that religion and perform weddings. You can be "ordained" into the clergy of any number of online religions for about $15. I am a Pastafarian and dare NC to try and stop the Church of the FSM from performing marriages. All I have to do is sign the license, have the parties sign and return it to the clerk. As long as the couple is "eligible" they are married.

Anonymous said...

Uhh ... minorities compose the human differences. If there were only the majority, there would be no differences.

Everyone is a member of some minority, even if it is caused by affirmative action.

Opinionated said...

Deborah -

The problem is not that the Amendment defines marriage, the problem is that it prohibits all other "domestic unions". That's why Domestic Violence protections will be ended for unmarried couples under this Amendment.

RV said...

Good point, Anonymous. We are probably all in the minority on something. So why is it that people in the majority act so smug and seem to feel that they are the only ones with rights?

Anonagain said...

Wow, Ms. Greene. I have encountered quite a few people like you throughout my life - people who are SO certain that they know what God wants that they can't possibly see how ANYONE could disagree with them. And now, we're told that this amendment is being voted on because God wants it to be? Wow. That is the height of arrogance. Then I supposed that President Obama was elected because God wanted it? Obamacare was passed because God wanted it? I can justify anything I want just by saying God wants it? See, I can do it too!