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Letters: Religion has no place in the marriage debate

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  • higv Dietrich, ID
    April 28, 2013 6:51 a.m.

    Churches do have a right to speak out on moral issues. Issues like marriage which effects churches. Do only unbelievers have a right to speak out on issues concerning morality? Use the church agrees to silence churches on issues that effect them.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    April 28, 2013 8:30 a.m.

    Yes, I think people who are referring to the Bible to argue in support of traditional marriage are misguided. They could come up with better reasons without having to resort to the Bible. After all, strengthening rather than redefining marriage is a powerful tool to fight poverty. (But I digress.)

    Anyhow, here is a question. The Bible says that we need to be kind to strangers ("for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt"). It also says that the laws should the same way to the politically powerful as to the politically weak. For that reason, I have very serious qualms about Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. My position is based on the Bible.

    Why is using the Bible to support traditional marriage out of place, but it isn't out of place to condemn Israel or to promote immigration reform?

    Perhaps the Bible is a cultural standard which resonates with many people and that is why it belongs in discussions of public policy?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 28, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    Marriage is a contract between the participants and regulated by the government. Mythology has no more place in it than it does in your mortgage agreement.

  • Tulip West Jordan, UT
    April 28, 2013 8:39 a.m.

    By all means then shouldn't the State stay out of "regulating" what churches can and cannot do?

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    April 28, 2013 8:55 a.m.

    Marriage is a completely religious doctrine! God invented it! It may seem quaint and politically correct to try to separate religion and marriage but it can not be done without ignoring either God or the purpose of marriage. Good luck to any society who attempts either!

  • DougS Oakley, UT
    April 28, 2013 10:01 a.m.

    If marriage is not based on morality, religion, politics, or economics, why don't we just abolish marriage in favor of social contracts which may or may not be recognized by anyone else. Since the number of single parents is increasing, please don't use children as the reason for marriage.. they don't. Gay marriage is not for the purpose of having children since such is impossible without outside help. Please pople, examine your motives before attacking a practice that has existed for thousands of years...

  • Pat Salt Lake , UT
    April 28, 2013 10:42 a.m.

    For some of us religion has everything to do with the marriage debate. The Bible is a divine book assembled by inspired people. The Bible condemns homosexual behavior. And if you want to use President Jefferson's quote to the Danbury Baptists, look at it in its entirety and then follow up with Supreme Court decisions on Establishment Clause and Freedom of Religion.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    April 28, 2013 11:39 a.m.

    @Mountanman 8:55 a.m. April 28, 2013

    Marriage is a completely religious doctrine! God invented it! It may seem quaint and politically correct to try to separate religion and marriage but it can not be done without ignoring either God or the purpose of marriage. Good luck to any society who attempts either!

    ----------------------

    Okay -- it's "put up or shut up" time. Prove, with hard, articuable and deomonstable facts, the exitence of God.

    I strongly believe, to the point of fact for me, that God is real and eternal. BUT I also realize that I won't be able to actually prove His eistence until I get to the other side of the veil and see what's there. Therefore, while I give testimony of my absolute belief, I don't use that belief as proof in an argument -- two different things. If you are going to assert the existence of God as fact in an argument, prove it.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 28, 2013 12:33 p.m.

    "why don't we just abolish marriage in favor of social contracts which may or may not be recognized by anyone else"

    Isn't that what is required for marriage? Churches are not required. Religion is not required.
    But, legal marriage does require a government document.

    Try getting married without a marriage license and see how "recognized" that marriage really is.

    I think what the writer is saying is that the Govt document should not be affected by religion. Once the government document is obtained, one can more forward with any or no, religious ceremony of their choosing.

  • KWL Bountiful, UT
    April 28, 2013 2:55 p.m.

    Oh, I know what you mean! Wow, can you imagine what a different place this country would be today if people like the Quakers had just kept their mouths shut about slavery? So, they had a religious thing against it. What gave them the right to be all judgmental? And, then, a hundred years later, along comes the Reverend Martin Luther King getting all uppity and quoting spirituals in public places.

    Sure, I've heard that the biggest proof that one side of debate knows they haven't got a leg to stand on is that they try to silence the opposition rather than refute their arguments. Some people might think that's what this letter is about. But, hey, think how much shorter any public debate becomes once you tell one side they're not allowed to speak up.

  • Linguist Silver Spring, MD
    April 28, 2013 3:12 p.m.

    With respect, I do believe that faith and even religious institutions have a role to play in this debate and, indeed, in all social policy. That said, the debate can't simply be, "God said it, and that ends it"-- because if that's the standard, then I can assure you that you'll find LOTS of differences in terms of belief of who God is, what He said and when and where, and even what it meant.

    And under our system, no one belief has a lock on the truth when it comes to social policy. For that, you need to make arguments, both legal and social.

    I am a gay man. I am a person of faith. My faith (Reform Judaism) informs my belief that social justice should guide us and that excluding good, innocent and moral gay couple from signing legally binding civil contracts denies them equal protection under the law, and is unjust as well, and should be remedied.

    Your faith disagrees? That's fine, of course. But you need to make the case in civil terms, not simply based on faith or faith traditions.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    April 28, 2013 4:19 p.m.

    @ Furry. Can you prove there is no God? Just because you have failed to observe the multitude of evidences for the existence of God, does not mean millions of other people have not. Absence of evidence for you is not evidence of absence for millions of other people. Failure to observe is the common denominator for people who have never seen the evidences for the existence of God.

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    April 28, 2013 4:24 p.m.

    @Pat --

    "The Bible condemns homosexual behavior."

    Religious arguments against homosexuality most often rely on quotes from the Old Testament. But, as someone pointed out to me in another thread, Old Testament laws were basically superseded and replaced by the principles taught in the New Testament (for example, Hebrews 8:6-13).

    And guess what? Jesus himself never said a single word against homosexuals. In fact, one statement he *did* make -- Matthew 19:12 -- is often interpreted as indicating that Jesus both recognizes and accepts the fact that homosexuals are born that way.

    @DougS --

    "why don't we just abolish marriage in favor of social contracts..."

    Marriage *is* a social contract -- specifically, a legal one. Atheists (and many other folks) get married just fine every day without the help of any church proceedings.

    "Gay marriage is not for the purpose of having children...."

    More than 100,000 gay couples are already raising children in this country. Roughly 6 **million** children in this country are apparently living with at least one gay parent.

    Marriage helps children. It doesn't matter whether or not children are the specific reason for gays to marry -- the effect is still beneficial for those kids.

  • Christian 24-7 Murray, UT
    April 28, 2013 5:04 p.m.

    Separation of church and state is exactly what applies here. The state has no business defining the religious union between a man and a woman as anything, including as anything else. The state should return marriage to the religions, where is originated, and define their benefits to whatever unions they decide are for the betterment of society. Call those unions anything suitable, but don't use a religious term, like baptism, communion, ordination, or marriage.

    Change the words so you don't spit in the face of citizens who are religious. How hard is that?

    However, it is total discrimination to say that anyone religious has no right to speak their values, as members of society decide what the collective values will be. The voices of those who go to church are as valid as those of the atheists.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 28, 2013 5:17 p.m.

    @higv
    What the letter writer means is that our laws have to be secular otherwise it'd be the establishment of a religion, which is why Sharia law would be unconstitutional for instance. Religious people and churches can argue on behalf of laws but there needs to be a non-religious reason for the law. That's why the Prop 8 supporting lawyers aren't invoking God in their argument.

  • HaHaHaHa Othello, WA
    April 28, 2013 5:43 p.m.

    "Religion has no place in the marriage debate."
    Of course if I was gay or wanted to push the gay agenda, I would try to say the same thing, or stretch the truth enough to make the same argument!

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    April 28, 2013 6:03 p.m.

    @Christian 24-7 --

    "The state has no business defining the religious union between a man and a woman as anything"

    Quite a few Christian denominations, as well as non-Christian religions, are already quite happy to marry gay people in religious ceremonies. The state hasn't forced anything on them at all.

    Why should your particular religious vision of marriage win over theirs?

    "Change the words so you don't spit in the face of citizens who are religious."

    I think you mean "citizens who are religious in the very same particular way that I am religious".

    Many religious people *support* gay marriage. Your particular religion isn't any more important than theirs is.

    This is one of the reasons why religion doesn't belong in this debate. Every religious group, and even every individual within each group, will have their own personal interpretation of religion. Which one gets to win? None of them should.

    @Mountanman --

    "Can you prove there is no God?"

    It's impossible to prove a negative. That's why the person who makes a positive claim -- e.g. "There is a God" -- is the person who bears the burden of proof in any debate.

  • George F Salt Lake , UT
    April 28, 2013 6:20 p.m.

    Amazon com - to answer the question about the New Testament

    Neither is the man without the woman nor the woman without the man in the Lord (1 Cor 11:11)

    Their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature; and likewise also the men eaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly (Rom 1:26-27)

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    April 28, 2013 7:11 p.m.

    So just how does God arbitrate a divorce settlement? And tell us mountainman just who created God, or did God just evolve sort of like the ameboeba?

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    April 28, 2013 7:21 p.m.

    @George F --

    "Neither is the man without the woman...(1 Cor 11:11)"

    This chapter actually says it's a sin for a woman to pray with her head uncovered, and that women are inferior to men. Do you therefore expect women to take up the hijab? This says nothing about sexuality.

    "Their women did change the natural use.... (Rom 1:26-27)"

    1. Paul also forbade women to speak in church and thought they were inferior to men. (1 Cor 14:34)
    2. Paul also supported slavery (Col 3:22).

    Do you really agree with *everything* Paul said?

    If you want to listen to Paul, try this:

    "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

    The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

    Romans 13: 8-10

  • HaHaHaHa Othello, WA
    April 28, 2013 7:49 p.m.

    "Quite a few Christian denominations, as well as non-Christian religions, are already quite happy to marry gay people in religious ceremonies. The state hasn't forced anything on them at all."

    @ amazon I don't think 24-7 has proposed anything contrary to this. If a church or religion wants to promote gayness within themselves, more power to them. That way no one else is affected, or is required to adaqpt. As 24-7 stated, it doesn't involve the state at all. He has a great proposal! The state doesn't needt to take over these area that are religion based. The state needs to get out, and just apply whatever contracts are enacted between parties. You've proclaimed yourself "Mr Debate", why should this be an issue?

  • Tulip West Jordan, UT
    April 28, 2013 8:14 p.m.

    @amazondoc
    People are not "born" gay. Just because that's the political mantra does not make it true.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 28, 2013 8:54 p.m.

    @higv;

    Same sex marriage isn't going to affect churches. Bigotry is also a moral issue, do you think your god is going to approve of bigotry?

    @Mountanman;

    Your god didn't "invent" anything. He's nothing more than a myth.

    @Pat;

    The bible also condemns hypocrisy. It is hypocrisy to deny certain citizens the same privileges you, yourself partake of because you disagree with them.

    @George F

    If Jesus fulfilled the law, did he fulfill the entire law or only a part of it? How do you know which part was not fulfilled since Jesus never said "I'm here to fulfill part of the law". Paul spoke out of his traditional biases. How do we know he was speaking for Jesus? You don't. And if Jesus didn't fulfill the entire law then he may not have fulfilled the part about eating shellfish either, or the part about punishing the bad child.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 28, 2013 8:53 p.m.

    @Tulip;

    Please give me the date and time you CHOSE to be heterosexual. I am gay and I have always been gay, I've never made the choice to be gay and many years ago would have changed it if I could. Your opinion aside, you have no knowledge to the contrary.

  • Tulip West Jordan, UT
    April 28, 2013 9:23 p.m.

    @Ranch
    You have no idea whether I have knowledge to the contrary. As to my opinion, you have every right to reject it as I do yours.

  • Christian 24-7 Murray, UT
    April 28, 2013 10:30 p.m.

    HaHaHaHa
    Othello, WA

    You are totally correct. I do not propose to tell any religion who they should marry or whose marriages they accept as valid. All that falls under religious freedom.

    Nor have I proposed to tell citizens who they can and cannot make a legal contract with. Truly what I propose is freedom for all.

    I also promote respectful treatment for those who believe differently than oneself. But I guess that is a Christian value, so I can't really expect that from everyone else.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    April 29, 2013 5:31 a.m.

    @Mountanman 4:19 p.m. April 28, 2013

    @ Furry. Can you prove there is no God? Just because you have failed to observe the multitude of evidences for the existence of God, does not mean millions of other people have not. Absence of evidence for you is not evidence of absence for millions of other people. Failure to observe is the common denominator for people who have never seen the evidences for the existence of God.

    ---------------------

    Read what I said again. I found plenty of things that convinced me of God's existence. I am a strong, obsesrvant Latter-Day Saint. Those things are not, however, the hard, articuable, demonstrable FACTS that win an argument. I'm asking you to provide the FACTS to support your position. If you cannot provide the FACTS, then your statements should say "I believe" instead of stating your position as fact. So, once again, if you have the facts to prove God's existence, provide them. Prove your case.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 29, 2013 6:32 a.m.

    "People are not "born" gay. Just because that's the political mantra does not make it true."

    And the Religious mantra of "it is a choice" also does not make it true.

    Logic tells me that this is not a choice that intelligent people make. Why choose a lifestyle that is ostracized in society and that many hide from the public.

    Why would anyone "choose" that path? It defies logic.

    I believe that the religious reject the "born that way" argument so they don't have to struggle with the thought that God made them that way.

  • Contrarius Lebanon, TN
    April 29, 2013 7:31 a.m.

    @Tulip --

    "People are not "born" gay."

    The LDS leadership acknowledges that homosexuality is not a choice. Specifically: "individuals do not choose to have such attractions".

    Additionally, Jesus himself said that some people are born "eunuchs". According to experts that term was used broadly in Biblical times, referring generally to men who had no relations with women. Specifically: "For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” (Matthew 19:12)

    Eunuchs who are "made" are castrated; those who "live like" eunuchs are celibate priests; and eunuchs who "were born that way" are widely interpreted to be homosexuals.

    @HaHaHaHa --

    "That way no one else is affected, or is required to adaqpt."

    Nobody is "required to adapt" for any gay marriage. Nobody is forcing churches to perform gay marriages.

    "it doesn't involve the state at all."

    Legal marriage always involves the state. Church marriages that do *not* include a marriage certificate aren't recognized by any legal authorities.

  • RAB Bountiful, UT
    April 29, 2013 2:02 p.m.

    The Bible is not a good resource for any debate because, as we see in many posts here, people can twist its words to justify anything they want.

    But religious beliefs are just as valid as any other belief. Beliefs are the same as facts to the person who believes them. In a free country, a person can approve of or disapprove of whatever they want. I am not obligated to approve of gay behavior. Others are not obligated to disapprove of gay behavior. Currently, marriage laws support this view and advocate freedom.

    Gay marriage advocates however, do not support this view, or advocate freedom. They want everyone to be obligated to approve of gay behavior regardless of their beliefs. They want the government to ignore the beliefs of many religious people and make laws establishing universal support for and approval of gay behavior.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 29, 2013 4:08 p.m.

    Scott,
    I think the exact opposite of your insistance that religion should have no part in Marriage. I think GOVERNMENT should have no role in Marriage.

    You bolster your opinion by attacking the Bible. But religious role in "Marriage" pre-dates any written Bible (Adam and Eve were married, and there was no secular government at the time). And marriage is not just a Christian concept (Marriage and religion's role in marriage is part of every religion I know of).

    Religion and Marriage have gone hand-in-hand since the begining of human records. So what makes you so important that that connection should now be completely severed... just because you say so?

    If anything GOVERNMENT is the new-commer to Marriage. You didn't used to need a government marriage license to marry... you just needed your choice of clergy to perform and record the ceremony. The medling of GOVERNMENT into the Marriage covenant is a relatively recent development (historically speaking). What we refer to as "Marriage" for most Europeans and Americans today has become mostly a Government institution (not a religious one) newly RE-Invented by the government worshipping secularists.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 29, 2013 6:34 p.m.

    "I think GOVERNMENT should have no role in Marriage."

    Are you sure?

    Same sex marriage would have been around for a long long time by now if you got your wish.

    History has shown that anyone can start a religion. All you have to do is convince a bunch of people to follow you.

    Be careful what you wish for..

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    April 29, 2013 8:30 p.m.

    I'm okay with taking religion out of the gay marriage debate, but I'm not okay with taking common sense or reason out of the debate. From the perspective of the state, marriage is about children. Gay unions do not produce children. Gay couples cannot provide appropriate gender roles for children. Thus there is no reason for the state to offer incentives for gay couples to join in (secular) matrimony. To do so only waters down what little incentive there is left for heterosexual couples to make a legally-binding commitment to raise the next generation of citizens.

  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    April 30, 2013 7:30 a.m.

    The title should read, " the government has no place in marriage since it's a religious practice."

    Face it, people only get married because of it's religious influence in our society. It's so ingrained people don't think of it but it's true. Many people choose to live together without the ceremony or the town hall. Why should a person need a license from the government for such a basic thing. May as well be a licence to breath.

    Just get government out of the business of charging us to say, "yes you can live together all your lives if you want." [Stamp sound, cha-ching! ]

    All I need is my church, not an old corrupt lawyer in a robe to tell me and charge me for giving me "permission".

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    April 30, 2013 10:24 a.m.

    @Pops --

    "From the perspective of the state, marriage is about children. Gay unions do not produce children."

    Gay couples produce children just as easily as any other infertile couples do. More than 100,000 gay couples are already raising children in this country. It is estimated that roughly 6 MILLION US children are living with at least one gay parent.

    "Gay couples cannot provide appropriate gender roles for children."

    Multiple groups of professional child-development experts agree that children raised by gay couples have no significant disadvantages compared to children raised by straight couples. They all *support* gay marriage.

    Remember, *every* family is different. Educated families are different from uneducated ones; rich families are different from poor ones; Texas families are different from Vermont ones. Each family will provide different types of role models for their kids -- but we don't outlaw marriages among these groups just because they are different.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    April 30, 2013 8:14 p.m.

    @amazondoc - so are you saying the exception should determine the rule? That's a departure from reason.

    And it really isn't surprising that "multiple groups" of "experts" don't find value in gender roles. I've seen up close and personal how politics can corrupt hard science, and it's an order of magnitude easier to corrupt the social sciences. I've also seen how dysfunctional fatherless homes are - look no further than many of our inner-city subcultures. I'll put my money on hundreds of years of human experience, and my own personal experience, on this one.

    It is in the state's interest to promote heterosexual marriage by offering exclusive benefits to them because as a rule that's where the vast majority of future citizens come from. The state has no interest in homosexual "marriage" because it offers nothing to the state. If homosexual partners wish to form civil unions, fine, but the legal obligation logically rests with them and not with the state.

  • Contrarius Lebanon, TN
    May 1, 2013 9:47 a.m.

    @Pops --

    "the exception should determine the rule?"

    Nope. I'm saying that you can't logically ban gay marriages based on the excuse of childlessness without also banning marriages of straight infertile couples. They are identical in this respect.

    "politics can corrupt hard science"

    Find some reputable groups that oppose gay marriage -- then we can talk.

    These are professionals who work with children every day. They do research and also work with children in their real lives. They include pediatricians, family practitioners, child and adolescent psychiatrists, social workers, and more.

    These are the folks down in the trenches with the kids.

    "dysfunctional fatherless homes"

    We all know that unstable, single-parent homes aren't as good for children as stable, two-parent homes.

    Guess what -- gay marriage is GOOD for kids, because it increases the stability of two-parent families that are ALREADY raising hundreds of thousands of kids -- and just happen to be led by gay couples.

    "homosexual "marriage" ... offers nothing to the state."

    One More Time -- homosexual marriages offer just as much to the state as any infertile marriages. You can continue to ignore that fact if you wish, but it's still a fact.