Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Manhattan Declaration - On Marriage Part 2

     This is a continuation of my discussion of Chuck Colsons Manhattan Declaration. If you have not already read the first part, I would encourage you too. I will start at where I left off, about three paragraphs to the end of the marriage portion of the document. It states,

We understand that many of our fellow citizens, including some Christians, believe that the historic definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is a denial of equality or civil rights. They wonder what to say in reply to the argument that asserts that no harm would be done to them or to anyone if the law of the community were to confer upon two men or two women who are living together in a sexual partnership the status of being "married." It would not, after all, affect their own marriages, would it? On inspection, however, the argument that laws governing one kind of marriage will not affect another cannot stand. Were it to prove anything, it would prove far too much: the assumption that the legal status of one set of marriage relationships affects no other would not only argue for same sex partnerships; it could be asserted with equal validity for polyamorous partnerships, polygamous households, even adult brothers, sisters, or brothers and sisters living in incestuous relationships. Should these, as a matter of equality or civil rights, be recognized as lawful marriages, and would they have no effects on other relationships? No. The truth is that marriage is not something abstract or neutral that the law may legitimately define and re-define to please those who are powerful and influential.
    This section of the document is a rather weak defense against the "marriage equality is not harming your marriage" argument. In response, Colson and all attempt to say that because gay and lesbians are allowed to get married it WILL affect all marriages. Do they in fact say anything substantial regarding this claim? Not at all, for instead they go back  to the time tested claim that because gay people will be able to be married, that the state must legalize polyamourous, polygamous, and incestuous relationships. Could they offer any other sort of defense? Absolutely not, for they know that there is no defense to this ridiculous assertion. For if your marriage could be affected by allowing John and Trevor down the street to marry, you yourself have a pretty pathetic marriage to begin with. This argument, by blatantly saying that these other types of relationships will necessarily have to be recognized, sounds good, but in reality offers no real substance. There are fundamental differences between same-sex marriage and the three listed above - most generally the distinction of conduct v. orientation as well as genetics. Regardless this paragraph alone fail because it does not offer us anything to discuss, it only throws around an oh so scary argument. Next we see...

No one has a civil right to have a non-marital relationship treated as a marriage. Marriage is an objective reality—a covenantal union of husband and wife—that it is the duty of the law to recognize and support for the sake of justice and the common good. If it fails to do so, genuine social harms follow. First, the religious liberty of those for whom this is a matter of conscience is jeopardized. Second, the rights of parents are abused as family life and sex education programs in schools are used to teach children that an enlightened understanding recognizes as "marriages" sexual partnerships that many parents believe are intrinsically non-marital and immoral. Third, the common good of civil society is damaged when the law itself, in its critical pedagogical function, becomes a tool for eroding a sound understanding of marriage on which the flourishing of the marriage culture in any society vitally depends. Sadly, we are today far from having a thriving marriage culture. But if we are to begin the critically important process of reforming our laws and mores to rebuild such a culture, the last thing we can afford to do is to re-define marriage in such a way as to embody in our laws a false proclamation about what marriage is.
     Here, in the second sentence, Colson starts diving into the realm of circular reasoning.  For he explains that gay people should not be able to be married, because what they are doing isn't marriage. Ummm...ok bud, strong argument there. Offer us a little more substance than, you cant call it marriage because I don't think thats what marriage is. Next he goes into the three "harms" that will occur if the government does not accept the heterosexual definition of marriage as supreme.

    First, he claims that the religious liberty of individuals is harmed. Does he give any explanation of this fact, or does he just make a blatant assertion. I go with the former, for he never gives us any reason why religious liberty is harmed. Could it be harmed because some people who do not believe in marriage equality will have to exist in a culture that allows it? If that is a denial of religious liberty, then those of the Christian Right are already living in a culture that denies them their religious liberty. Thus, I think that every Christian should up and move themselves to some desert island so they can live according to "God's Law" whatever that may be. Also, what about those religious groups that find same-sex marriage to be acceptable, such as the Episcopal Church and the United Metropolitan Church. Is it not a denial of their religious liberty to exist in a society that does not approve of marriage equality? Food for thought. In conclusion to this point, I would like to point to what the Supreme Court of Canada (yes I know its not U.S.) had to say about the granting of rights to gays and lesbians...They stated in their reference regarding Same-Sex Marriage that, "the mere recognition of the equality rights of one group cannot, in itself, constitution a violation of the rights of another."

    Second, Colson claims that the rights of parents in regards to children's education about sexual issues is threatened. To this I have one response that I am not going to sugar coat. It sure as hell is buddy. No longer should parents be able to instill in their children hatred and animosity towards a particular people group. No longer should parents be able to teach their children that their is something inherently wrong with LGBT people, for that only leads to the bullying and hatred that we see in todays society.  Also, if in reality it is THAT big of a deal for the parents, have them homeschool. Basically, put your money where your mouth is.

     Third, Colson claims that the "marriage culture" of society will be harmed by legalizing same-sex marriage. I still do not understand, and maybe he could explain it better - though he has done a bad job so far - how one group wanting to be married and enter into that bond somehow harms the "marriage culture".  I'm just not understanding.  And the declaration goes on...

And so it is out of love (not "animus") and prudent concern for the common good (not "prejudice"), that we pledge to labor ceaselessly to preserve the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and to rebuild the marriage culture. How could we, as Christians, do otherwise? The Bible teaches us that marriage is a central part of God's creation covenant. Indeed, the union of husband and wife mirrors the bond between Christ and his church. And so just as Christ was willing, out of love, to give Himself up for the church in a complete sacrifice, we are willing, lovingly, to make whatever sacrifices are required of us for the sake of the inestimable treasure that is marriage.

     This is the conclusion of what the Christian Right claims. It is out of love for us LGBT people that they do what they do. I just have one challenge to them. Tell that to the thousands of children who are being incessantly bullied every day because of your rhetoric. Because of your goal to stop the "normalization" of homosexuality and keep it in the closet, children are attacked maliciously because of something that they cannot change.  You call yourselves Christians. Though I myself am not one - Jewish here - I think that Jesus would be far from proud of your "agenda". An agenda that not only endangers the lives of countless of LGBT children and adults, but an agenda that is also based primarily on falsehoods masquerading as valid. That is why Mr. Colson Apple rejected your app, and I for one am glad that he did.

2 comments:

  1. "Second, Colson claims that the rights of parents in regards to children's education about sexual issues is threatened. To this I have one response that I am not going to sugar coat. It sure as hell is buddy. No longer should parents be able to instill in their children hatred and animosity towards a particular people group. No longer should parents be able to teach their children that their is something inherently wrong with LGBT people, for that only leads to the bullying and hatred that we see in todays society. Also, if in reality it is THAT big of a deal for the parents, have them homeschool. Basically, put your money where your mouth is."

    *Standing Ovation of One!* :)

    Have missed your thought provoking posts and highlights on so many things that I miss in the current events of the day.

    Daemon

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Daemon! I appreciate the encouragement! :)

    ReplyDelete

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