Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

MARRIAGE: Exemptions shouldn’t be necessary

Letter by Beth Woodbury Hart, Puyallup on Feb. 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm with 36 Comments »
February 16, 2012 3:09 pm

Law professor Robin Wilson makes some good points about the inadequacy of religious exemptions in Washington’s gay marriage law (Viewpoint, 2-16). However, I would go one step further. The mere fact that the law requires religious exemptions suggests that it is unconstitutional.

By officially sanctioning gay marriage, the state is making an establishment of religion, declaring that the gospel of Political Correctness is correct and that conservative Christians, Muslims and Jews are all wrong.

This isn’t about prohibiting discrimination based on superficial traits like skin color. This is about redefining the very essence of what it means to be male or female, husband or wife, mother or father.

Opposition to this overreaching legislation is not about bigotry. It’s about concern for the welfare of children, the unity of families, the stability of society, the preservation of diverse religions and cultures, and the protection of our deepest beliefs.

 

Leave a comment Comments → 36
  1. alindasue says:

    No one is forcing churches to perform homosexual wedding ceremonies. Any “religious exemptions” in the law merely clarify that fact.

  2. aislander says:

    Quite right, Beth: the differences between races are inconsequential–cultural differences are much more significant–but the differences between men and women are immense.

    Joining same with same simply isn’t marriage. It’s, well, more of the same, and changing definitions doesn’t make it true or, more to the point, good for society…

  3. ManuelMartini says:

    There is no “gospel” other than what is declared so by Christianity.

    “It’s about concern for the welfare of children, the unity of families, the stability of society, the preservation of diverse religions and cultures, and the protection of our deepest beliefs.”

    I can only surmise that families are weak in unity, society is unstable and religions are not strong enough to stand on their own, if something like who marries who could ruin all of the preceding. Also your beliefs must be rather weak and shallow if who I marry will shake your belief.

    As to the welfare of children, there are already children being raised by gay couples – quite well, I might add. As John Lennon said – “all you need is love”

  4. Two words… Josh Powell. That was a “traditional” marriage, how did that unity turn out for his wife and kids?

  5. sandblower says:

    The pairing of two men or two women is a completely legitimate coupling for all the reasons people love each other except one in the minds of some. Procreation is an excuse not a reason to exclude gay couples from being “married” in every sense of the word. Far too many hetero, married couples make a conscious choice to not procreate to make that a valid requirement for being “married.”
    What is at work here is bigotry, plain and simple, because we know the opponents’ arguments are meretricious and insalubrious.

  6. ManuelMartini says:

    Frida – well put.

    Remember that we are dealing with Christianity, which endorses the concept of “we are good and you are bad” in 2 Corinthians 6:14:

    “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?”

    Someone who thinks from this position will always endorse bigotry.

    Unbelievers = wickedness?

    Take a historical journey to Texas and the woman that killed her kids because “God told her to”. Remember, God told Abraham to kill his son, also.

  7. @MM… some of the most bigoted minds claim to be christians, funny how that correlates to low IQ’s.

  8. bobcat1a says:

    Bigots are incapable of seeing their own bigotry.

  9. Thank heavens we have a government of the people, by the people and for the people instead of substituting one of religions, by religions and for religions. If you want to live in a theocracy, there are many available.

    State approval of gay marriage has nothing to do with religion, pro or con. It is a secular decision made by a secular government that believes in separating religion from government.

    By the way, Beth, please don’t speak for me if you are saying Christians don’t believe in gay marriage, because many Christian churches and people do, and I, as a staunch Christian do also. Please do not speak for Jews, because many Jewish congregations believe in gay marriage. I can’t speak for Muslims, and there are many sects out there. It would be great to have a reformed Muslim community that went through an “Enlightenment” like the western societies did to enter the Age of Reason.

    I love how people defend their discriminatory behavior by saying, oh, this time we are misquoting the Bible to discriminate against one group mjust like we did the last time, but this time we really mean it. Just because we used the Bible to defend discrimination against Blacks and we misquoted the Bible then, we are right now.

    Just because we misquoted the Bible during the time of Kings and serfs to keep poor people in their place and discriminate against them, doesn’t mean we are wrong now.

    Beth, every time you misquote the Bible to discriminate against someone and pass judgment against them you are violating Jesus’ core commandments, and your views are just one more in a long line of misguided acts in the name of religion.

  10. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Two words… Josh Powell. That was a “traditional” marriage, how did that unity turn out for his wife and kids?

    Three names: Aileen Wuornos, John Wayne Gasy, and Jefferey Dahmer.

    If they had been allowed to marry, would it have turned out better for their victims?

    Your comparison manages to be both offensive and preposterous at the same time. Congratulations.

  11. ManuelMartini says:

    “superficial traits like skin color”

    My favorite phrase from the letter. It tells you mountains about the mindset of the individual.

  12. You managed to get it exactly wrong. Congratulations!

    By allowing gay marriage the state is allowing religious freedom, letting those churches which disapprove of gay marriage to not perform them, and those churches that accept gay marriage to perform them.

    Prohibiting gay marriage on the other hand elevates churches that disapprove above those that approve, in direct conflict with the first amendment.

  13. Fibonacci says:

    ManuelMartini and frida
    Not all Christians are apposed to gay marriage and spout ignorant bigotry. I happen to agree with both of you on these issues but attacks on those with religious views as if all Christians were the same makes you no better than aisllander. or concernedtacoma.

  14. By officially sanctioning gay marriage, the state is making an establishment of religion, declaring that the gospel of Political Correctness is correct and that conservative Christians, Muslims and Jews are all wrong.

    What?????

    aislander, help me out here. You are well-versed in sophistry. Could you please write something that, superficially at least, makes any sense in this absurd declaration?

    To me, it is just the standard tactic of rightists (who oftentimes aren’t really conservatives) of bouncing back statements about them, inverting them and then accusing those who made the statement.

    Ferinstance – the standard “you are a bigot if you call me a bigot” or “libs aren’t being tolerant when they point out my intolerance” Jonah Goldberg is the champion of this, having written an entire book in this vein.

    onah Goldberg tells us he wrote this book to get even. The liberals started it by “insist[ing] that conservatism has connections with fascism” (p. 22). Conservatives “sit dumbfounded by the nastiness of the slander” (p. 1). “The left wields the term fascism like a cudgel” (p. 3). So Jonah Goldberg has decided it is time to turn the tables and show that “the liberal closet has its own skeletons” (p. 22). After years of being “called a fascist and a Nazi by smug, liberal know-nothings” he decides that “responding to this slander is a point of personal privilege” (p. 392).

    Feeling oneself a victim is wonderfully liberating. Anything goes. So Jonah Goldberg pulls out all the stops to show that fascism “is not a phenomenon of the right at all. It is, and always has been, a phenomenon of the left” (p. 7).
    [...]
    Goldberg stereotypes liberals to make them abstract, uniform, robotic. The telltale phrase is “liberals say” or “liberals think” (mostly without anyone quoted or footnoted). For example, “Liberals . . . claim” that free-market economics is fascist (p. 22). Could we please have a few examples of “liberals” who say this? It is a straw man, as is the vast, ghostly “liberal mind” that sounds like a physical reality: “fascism, shorn of the word, endures in the liberal mind” (p. 161). Does this liberal mind have a telephone number, as Henry Kissinger said famously of the European Union?

    http://hnn.us/articles/122231.html

  15. “gospel of Political Correctness”
    It has been explained to conservative many times, but they still choose to ignore or distort the constitutional concept of
    equal protection rights, or that in general, other people also have constitutional rights. It must be their primitive, tribal brain totally failing to comprehend these modern, 19th century concepts.

    “Opposition to this overreaching legislation is not about bigotry. It’s about concern for the welfare of children, the unity of families, the stability of society, the preservation of diverse religions and cultures, and the protection of our deepest beliefs.”

    Again, this has been discussed to death, and you have absolutely failed to demostrate why it is overreaching and how the terrible consequiences are inflicted. It is an empty assertion, and wrong by any available evidence.

  16. buddyandelliott says:

    This should have been a non-topic. Using the logic behind the non-discrimination clause for churches that refuse to marry a same-sex couple we could have sued several churches for refusing to marry us. We aren’t catholic, could we have sued a catholic church for refusal to marry us? We didn’t try, but we know that we would’ve been refused, and for good reason. We also didn’t try the protestants, the muslims or the jews. We are none of those and don’t fit within any of their dogmas so of course they wouldn’t be expected to perform our ceremony.

    The false threat of lawsuit is just another tactic to create fear against same-sex marriage. Well fear not. There will be a plethora of choices for wedding venues, officiants and product providers (wedding attire, photographers, etc.) We look forward to seeing many of our friends and family given the equal right of state-recognized marriage.

  17. It’s official, after this entry, Frida is on the scroll-by list.

    The remark about Josh Powell was absurd enough…yeah Frida, those opposing gay marriage wish for more Josh Powells in this world. Brilliant.

    The winning comment, however is this one: “@MM… some of the most bigoted minds claim to be christians, funny how that correlates to low IQ’s.” I’d pay a lot to see Frida in a round table debate with a number of Christian intellectuals that I know.

    Not surprising that you and MM have a little Mutual Admiration Society going on, Frida. Enjoy it.

  18. CuzEyewanna says:

    What is intellectual about belief in something that has absolutely no proof of existence?

    The Josh Powell statement was strong, possibly stronger than what I might use, but people don’t seem to have problems with people launch epitaths about the “perversion of gay marriage” and other less desireable comments in a blanket form.

    I’d say the one issue – the Powell tragedy – pretty well illustrates that no “kind” of marriage is safe from abuse and such. It was an incredibly ugly reminder to those whose “high moral ground” doesn’t allow gay marriage that heterosexuals have been doing things wrong since the invention of marriage.

    You can use faux outrage or look at the logic of the statement.

  19. “Not all Christians are apposed to gay marriage and spout ignorant bigotry. I happen to agree with both of you on these issues but attacks on those with religious views as if all Christians were the same makes you no better than aisllander. or concernedtacoma.”

    Agreed to some extent, however you have to acknowledge that most religions greatly facilitate the bigotry, intolerance and tribal attitudes. A small lapse into generalizing about religious adherents is not even close to the abject reality-denial of the two mentioned commenters. So, false equivalence.

  20. sozo — “christian intellectual”? now that’s a good one…

  21. the exemptions are mostly ridiculous. why should a gov’t sponsored institution: the catholic church, which receives a full 50% of it’s revenue from the gov’t and is not taxed on the rest of it; not be held to the same laws as the rest of us? the law is the law. what if my church believes in human sacrifice as a necessity for salvation? would my church be exempt from charges? but my church is simply exercising our religious freedom, so what if it infringes on other people’s rights? what if my church allows grown men to molest young boys? should we exempt from prosecution? hmm…

  22. by the way; most gay people probably wouldn’t want to get married in a church who would shun them based solely upon intimacies of their personal and monogamous relationship, or by a priest who doesn’t believe in the validity of their rights.
    there is a good reason that ministers are not the only people who perform marriages.

  23. Well jellee, the difference between this issue and your scenario:

    “what if my church believes in human sacrifice as a necessity for salvation?”

    … is that The Catholic Church is not advocating murder, as you say your church would be. Murder, human sacrifice, is against the law. Yours is a facetious argument, and you know that.

    I read the Viewpoint article and the “exemptions” cited seem to be specifically designed to protect the churches, all churches and religious leaders not just the Catholics, from being forced to perform religious marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples.

    That seems to me to have been the biggest argument against passage of the same-sex marriage law in the first place. Now all those folks who were worried about that can feel safe and secure in the knowledge that this law will NOT require religious ceremonies to be performed just because a same-sex couple has a marriage license in hand. Isn’t that what they were afraid of in the first place?

    No worries mate!

  24. CuzEyewanna says:

    “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?”

    I would suggest also, that anyone who endorses a book that says such is a bigot, or at the very least one that stereotypes.

    If the cover of the book quoting this said “Mein Kampf” or “Writings of Chairman Mao” it would be horrible. Call it “The Holy Bible” and it suddenly becomes “good”?

  25. CuzEyewanna says:

    And if the Catholic Church believes that their ritual isn’t murder?

    It appears that the Catholic Church has already demonstated a desire to ignore laws. Which one is next?

  26. muckibr – In his book Close to the Knives, ACT-UP founder David Wojnarowicz compared the Boston Archdiocese efforts to restrict condoms during the height of the AIDs epidemic to human sacrifice

    The vatican (sic) and the catholic church (sic) ignore scientific research that shows that if latex condoms are used properly they can prevent the transmission of HIV and other diseases. They make prehistoric statements such as: “Morality is the only prevention for AIDS…” and “Anyone who ignores the teachings of the catholic church (sic) and contracts AIDS has only himself to blame.”… Certain religious and spiritual practices in history have involved human sacrifice… the vatican’s (sic) and the church’s (sic) activities… amount to the same thing.
    (Wojnarowicz 132-33)

  27. David Wojnarowicz is certainly entitled to his opinion. But it is ONLY his opinion. His opinion is not fact. The Catholic Church is also entitled to it’s opinion, but it is also a fact that even though “certain religious and spiritual practices in history have involved human sacrifice” The Catholic Church does not practice, and to my knowledge never has practiced human sacrifice.

  28. The Josh Powell remark was inflammatory and unnecessary. Every reasonable person knows that evil and illness occur in all situations, including heterosexual marriages…and of course, homosexual unions as well. It was an unnecessary and toxic comment that served no purpose whatsoever except to rile people up, which is probably what the intent was to begin with.

  29. Those of you who presume that intellect is absent among people of faith reveal your own lack of erudition. It renders you unworthy of being taken seriously.

  30. The Catholic Church does not practice, and to my knowledge never has practiced human sacrifice.

    Except, of course, by proxy….the Passion of the Christ is reenacted every Mass – followed by the cannibalistic sharing of the Body and Blood.

    The correlations to the Greek Mystery Religions of Mithra and Dionysus are impossible to not see…..hmmm…..Paul was a Greek Jew who must have been aware of those contemporary ritual/mythic structures…….

  31. Come on now beerBoy, the quote you provided from David Wojnarowicz was,

    “Certain religious and spiritual practices in history have involved human sacrifice…”

    It does not mention “by proxy” human sacrifice. Based on that quote he was clearly referring to real human sacrifice, which was limited to “Certain” religions and not inclusive of Catholics.

    Plus, Jesus sacrificed himself at the hands of the Romans at the behest of Herod and the Sanhedrin. The followers of Jesus did not make any human sacrifice. In the recorded history of Christ’s followers in The Catholic Church, I don’t believe there is a single incident when Christian Catholics ever made a human sacrifice, though many of them have been killed for their faith.

    The symbolism of the Body & Blood of Christ at Mass is not a by proxy human sacrifice, and you know that being raised a Catholic yourself beerBoy. It is the symbolism of Christ giving of himself to the people so that they may share his faith, forgiveness and be saved for their ultimate reward.

    You want to talk about human sacrifice, you could cite the Mayans and Aztecs for that. But they aren’t Catholics. And this is kind of off topic.

  32. Wojnarowicz was writing passionately about how he believed that the Church’s POLITICAL intervention in the AIDs crisis to prevent the education efforts and distribution of condoms was directly leading to more deaths. Furthermore, he believed that the Church fully knew that their anti-condom stance was leading to a higher infection/death rate but they decided that it was better to support a policy that sacrificed a portion of the population to a horrific death (this was the 80s when HIV was a death sentence) than budge on their intervention in public policy to restrict access to condoms.

    As such, his incendiary use of Human Sacrifice as a METAPHOR for what the Church (or more specifically, the Arch-Bishop of the Boston archdiocese) was doing seems completely appropriate.

    Based upon your past comments about the metaphoric vs. literalist read of the Bible, I would assume that you have the ability to understand metaphor.

    To not see the human sacrifice of a god made fully man so that he could “[give] of himself” is bizarre to me. He died on the cross for ritual purposes – how is that not human sacrifice?

  33. Yes, I understand metaphor, and it is simply symbolism NOT FACT. The same is true of the Holy Communion at Mass, it is symbolism, NOT FACT. And, Mass has NOTHING whatsoever in it that symbolize human sacrifice.

    Wojnarowicz can write as passionately as he wants to, about his own opinion, even if his opinion is total crap.

    The point is The Catholic Church did not commit ritualistic human sacrifice in the case of AIDs victims, who The Catholic Church did not kill. Sadly, those folks died of a disease there was no cure for. That was not the fault of The Catholic Church, just as all the people who died of The Black Plague were victims of a disease that had no cure, not because of anything The Catholic Church did.

    As I pointed out earlier, and seem to need to repeat here for some reason, the killing of Jesus Christ was not at the hands of his followers or anyone who might have ever been considered original Catholics or the original Christians. Jesus was crucified because of the fears of Herod and the Sanhedrin who passed the buck onto the Romans to do the dirty work. How does any of that equate in any way to Catholics performing a ritualized metaphor of human sacrifice at Mass? Are there any Romans represented during Catholic Mass? No. Are there any Jews represented during the Catholic Mass? No. If not, then who is represented during the Mass that is carrying out the symbolic human sacrifice? No one!

    The symbolism at Mass, as you well know, is the act of Jesus at The Last Supper sharing the bread and wine as “symbolic” of his body and blood as the seal of The New Covenant between God and man. Jesus is giving of himself to his disciples. That act occurred BEFORE Jesus was crucified. It really takes a very warped interpretation to say that Catholic Mass symbolize ritual human sacrifice. You are totally wrong about that beerBoy, and I am pretty sure you know that even if you won’t admit it here.

  34. The same is true of the Holy Communion at Mass, it is symbolism, NOT FACT. And, Mass has NOTHING whatsoever in it that symbolize human sacrifice.

    Catholic theology is very specific – the transubstantiation of the bread and wine turns them into the body and blood of Christ – the faithful believe fervently that they are actually, not symbolically, ingesting the actual body and blood of Jesus. This is one very powerful difference between Roman Catholic ritual and most Protestant services. Even if one rejects the theology of transubstantiation, it is inarguable that the structure of the Mass includes the ingesting of the body and blood of their Savior – whether symbolically or actually, the Mass involves sacred cannibalism.

    And – the central element of Christianity does depend that Jesus became man and was sacrificed on the cross for the sins of all mankind. It is through this ultimate human sacrifice (made perfect because Jesus was fully man and god at the same time) that blood sacrifice is no longer demanded of the faithful.

    Perhaps, as you claim, the since the Agape was established during the Last Supper rather than post-resurrection, means that the Mass is not a re-enactment of the Passion, the Catholic calendar re-enacts the Messiah’s birth, death and resurrection. Likewise, the Stations of the Cross. The Ultimate Human Sacrifice is the central mythic structure of the entire religion.

  35. Change that to “The Ultimate Self Sacrifice” is central to the FAITH structure of The Catholic Church.

    And…

    Transubstantiation is called “transubstantiation” because it is NOT the same thing as cannibalism. It is transubstantiation…

    “the conversion of the substance of the Eucharistic elements into the body and blood of Christ at consecration, only the appearances of bread and wine still remaining.”

    It is “symbolic” of his followers taking in his essence so that they may emulate his life in their own.

    Believe what you want to believe beerBoy. On this I will continue to believe you are wrong.

  36. Just to be clear here – my analysis is not meant as a criticism of the myth and ritual of Catholicism – I have a deep and abiding respect for it.

    The Christian myth is not unique: the death and resurrection of Osiris, the self-sacrifice of Odin upon Yggdrasil, the tree of life, to gain control of the power of the runes, the self-sacrifice of Mithra, the bull god from whose body poured out all vegetable crops, Dionysus – the androgyne god of wine – whose Maenads devotees would tear apart and consume whatever feckless male that might stumble upon their ecstatic rituals, there are many more. The annual death and resurrection of the sun from Spring to Winter was mythologized in many cultures. The key difference isn’t in the myth but in the history – Jesus actually lived.

    These conclusions have not sprung from my head unfounded. There are many religious scholars who have written about this – several of them are devout Christians.

*
We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0