A Post I’ve Been Avoiding

I was recently encouraged to write up a post on homosexuality and it’s a subject I’ve been reluctant to touch in any manner.  On the one hand, I know it will generate controversy and activity.  On the other, it will generate controversy and activity.  Honestly I think I’d prefer the blog comments I’d get on abortion over homosexuality.  Why? Because homosexuality is the current hot button issue that sparks frustration and contempt with the slightest provocation.

The Anglican church is seriously facing a schism over the issue. I’m confident they will not being the only ones facing the same problems.  Here in California I think it will be THE election issue.  This state is all but a lock for whoever happens to be wearing a blue shirt.  So with the prospect of a state constitutional amendment strictly defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman I’m quite sure I will grow weary of the political discourse quite quickly. The LDS church recently directed its members in California to actively participate in the passage of this amendment.

The nature of this blog being what it is, I should compare and contrast how Evangelicals have handled the issue as compared to Mormons.  On the face of things I think they are exactly even on a number of levels.  Both Mormons and Evangelicals have done some terrible things to “help” those struggling with homosexuality.  Both will be defined by the popular culture over this issue and both will struggle moving forward in a society of changing values and perceptions.  I think both faith traditions will lose members over the issue and possibly even gain members over the issue (as the pendelum swings back).

I think both groups have recognized how poorly they’ve handled this issue in the past.  I think both groups are still struggling with how to handle it now.  The echoes  of “hate the sin, love the sinner” are sounding more and more hollow as we have yet to find a great way to illustrate love to homosexuals while hating homosexuality.  What still reverberates with people is our hate rather than our love.

A number of years ago a friend pointed out to me regardless of whether the cause of homosexuality is nature or nurture, the fact still remains that people can’t help how they feel. In my mind that cleared the air of fighting the battle over that issue. No person struggling with homosexuality is going to find help in dealing with their sexuality by simply being told it’s caused by X.  I also don’t think the answer to that question changes what the Bible says in regards to God’s intention for human sexuality.

In the last couple of years I’ve had a friend who has been quite open about his struggle with homosexuality (in the context of a small group bible study). I think our group was pretty accepting and understanding of his story.  Eventually he gave in to his temptation and left his faith behind.  I’ll suspend any of my own thoughts about what percepitated those events.  I simply don’t know because he chose not to include his faith community in those decisions.  Only recently has he decided to reconnect with people in our church and live his life “out”.

I wrestle with ideas of what more we could have done for him.  If it was our burden or his.  If he had asked for more help, would we have provided it? (I’m sure he would now scoff that I even ask these questions).

Whether or not any kind of marriage amendment is passed on the state or national level, I’m confident those are short term stop gaps and we’ll eventually be overturned by a younger generation.  As we move forward I think what’s important for us is to be vigilant in emphasizing what we are for rather than what we are against (grace and redemption at the top of the list).  We should avoid making sex a political issue and making our churches appear to be voting blocks. We should be open to the messiness of discipleship and expect people to join our churches in a state of “not yet”. Finally we should remain humble for there are tough days ahead.

Your thoughts?

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44 thoughts on “A Post I’ve Been Avoiding

  1. I don’t personally agree with how my Church is handling this. But I also recognize that our leadership feels that too much is being surrendered in our culture and wants to draw a line in the sand.

    For myself, my personal belief is that only marriage between man and woman qualifies as “marriage.” As much as some would wish to claim this title for same-sex unions, I do not accept it, and will not accept it, until God declares otherwise. If He were to declare otherwise, I think I am open enough to accept it. I have nothing personal against homosexual people. They don’t disgust me. I don’t desire to harass them or make their lives difficult. Neither do I consider their own struggles and “sins” to be particularly more egregious than my own weaknesses and sins. But I do not see that God has given the OK for such unions. All scripture and authoritative teaching I have access to says that He has not. So as things stand, I must reject such unions as “marriages.”

    That said, I dislike the political approach taken here. I dislike that marriage is even a political issue to begin with. In my mind, this cheapens the institution. The bonds of marriage belong to God, and not to some local judge issuing marriage licenses. When my wife and I married, we got a civil license for our union. But honestly, I couldn’t care two straws about that trivial piece of paper. When I married, it was facing my wife across the alter of the temple. The local courts had nothing to do with that. Even if they had denied the marriage license, I would still consider the two of us married.

    In essence, I think it is high-time that American government got out of the marriage license business altogether. Create a religiously neutral category of “civil unions,” extend all the legal and tax benefits of our current civil “marriage” regime to these civil unions. Then stop issuing marriage licenses. The end.

    This is the only way to keep things fair. If a gay couple wish to call themselves married and want to find a sympathetic priest who agrees with them, that is their right as citizens. If I wish to belong to a religion that rejects their marriage, that is also my right as a citizen. But it is not right for the US government to be playing favorites with what is essentially a religious, and not a legal title.

    As you said Tim, I think the writing is on the wall. If we deny the “marriage” title, later generations will surely undo what we have done anyway. The only way to save marriage as a matter of private belief is to remove government from it entirely. Government has an obligation to be fair, and it can’t play favorites like this forever. Time to unhitch the religious idea itself from the sinking ship of civil government. Then marriage can mean whatever our conscience demands that it mean.

  2. It sounds like you have a pretty sensitive and generally empathetic approach to the issue.

    In contract, I think the ham fisted, myopic way many on the religious right, including Mormons, have dealt with this issue

  3. Tim, “As we move forward I think what’s important for us is to be vigilant in emphasizing what we are for rather than what we are against (grace and redemption at the top of the list).”

    Amen!!! And I pretty much think “hate the sin/love the sinner” is false.

    Seth, I’m sympathetic to your view, but I wonder how to deal with adoptions. It seems that this is one area which the state MUST govern, deciding who is fit and who is unfit to adopt. And many will say that same-sex couples are “unfit” by definition—how do you deal with that?

  4. Over the past couple years on the political issue I have pretty much come to agree with the position that Seth R. is taking: Allow civil unions (or perhaps some alternate contractual arrangement) of some sort for any couple, and if the couple wants to call it marriage (or not), so be it.

    A problem on the LDS side of things, though, is that the Church over the years has made a big deal about tying the law of chastity to the legal arrangement of marriage. I’m not saying that couldn’t be reversed (we do believe in continuing revelation, after all), but I do think it makes for a messy situation tying a spiritual union to state action. Why should I have to get permission from the state, which is what a license is, to “become one flesh,” to use the Biblical term? I just think it’d be better just to keep the state out of it.

    That said, if I were in California I’d probably vote for the proposition, although I probably would campaign for it. I’ve read the state Supreme Court decision and basically found the argument legally specious and so it should be reversed. Even so, I have some concerns about the church’s involvement and fear, among other things, that it could hamper missionary work. While I have no doubt church leaders hold to view that includes love for those with homosexual issues, any such nuanced view won’t come across in a political campaign.

    Part of the problem with getting involved in the politics of it is that doing so makes it more difficult to do what Tim suggested, and which I agree with:

    As we move forward I think what’s important for us is to be vigilant in emphasizing what we are for rather than what we are against (grace and redemption at the top of the list).

  5. Oops. Make that “… wouldn’t campaign. …” More likely, I’d pray about it first.

  6. I too think that anybody who wants to enter into any kind of legal and financial arrangement with one another (be they 2 or 8 people) should be allowed to under the general laws of incorporation.

    I think the reason the state got involved in issuing marriage licenses is because the state thought there was reason to legally bind relationships in which children were the natural by-product so that children would have some sort of legal and financial protection in case the parents died or the marriage dissolved.

    Since children are not the natural by-product of other types of relationships, the state doesn’t need to be involved in defining those relationships.

    I’ve heard (though I haven’t researched it) that countries that have introduced same sex marriage have seen an increase in bastardization rates. Don’t know if anyone really thinks that’s a problem or not. Those in favor of same sex marriage probably don’t think it should be thought of as an issue.

    ————————————————————————-

    I don’t personally agree with how my Church is handling this. But I also recognize that our leadership feels that too much is being surrendered in our culture and wants to draw a line in the sand.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if some members of the LDS leadership thinks that an active political role in this amendment will attract converts. I think the LDS church in general likes to pull converts from like minded people who already agree with the majority of it’s lifestyle standards. (I’m really not trying to slam the church by saying that, just in case someone is unnecessarily offended, it’s just my perception.)

    I’m becoming convinced that churches shouldn’t say anything about any political situation. If the church is doing its job in discipling people correctly, there would be no need to tell them how to vote or what to get involved in. It would be a natural by product of their lives.

    But when churches do get involved politically they set themselves up as entities that are interested in politics first. (See the Evangelical Manifesto).

  7. I doubt that the states’ involvement in marriage had much to do with children at all, but rather a question of property/inheritance rights. That is certainly where the debate centered in terms of women’s suffrage in this country. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we couldn’t (or haven’t already) redirect marriage today to be about children. (Then again, if we can “redefine” marriage, what’s to stop us from….)

  8. I too think that anybody who wants to enter into any kind of legal and financial arrangement with one another (be they 2 or 8 people) should be allowed to under the general laws of incorporation.

    Heavens no. I think you might not really mean what you’re actually saying, anyway. You almost certainly mean the laws of contract, not incorporation. But even that’s problematic for a lot of reasons.

    I think the reason the state got involved in issuing marriage licenses is because the state thought there was reason to legally bind relationships in which children were the natural by-product so that children would have some sort of legal and financial protection in case the parents died or the marriage dissolved.

    Marriage was legally important, at least in Europe, first and foremost inasmuch as it affected property law.

    I’ve heard (though I haven’t researched it) that countries that have introduced same sex marriage have seen an increase in bastardization rates. Don’t know if anyone really thinks that’s a problem or not. Those in favor of same sex marriage probably don’t think it should be thought of as an issue.

    Correlation is not causation. I think rather the changing social norms in those places explains both the acceptance of gay marriage and the increase in children born to unmarried parents.

    But when churches do get involved politically they set themselves up as entities that are interested in politics first. (See the Evangelical Manifesto).

    I agree. Teach the principles you believe in, and let people decide how to apply it to their political lives. It’s one thing to speak out on an issue–even one that has political ramifications–and I think that churches should be significant voices in the marketplace of ideas when it comes to moral issues, which includes everything from gay marriage to war, torture, poverty, and the environment. But as soon as a Church directly engages the political system, which in a democracy is necessarily a system of compromises, the Church winds up compromising its integrity as Church, and is inevitably corrupted by politics.

  9. I doubt that the states’ involvement in marriage had much to do with children at all, but rather a question of property/inheritance rights.,/i>

    Bingo.

  10. Here’s the situation I’m seeing just with my own bankruptcy clients. Two people living together in a pretty committed relationship, with kids, who never bothered to get married officially. But for all intents purposes, they’re like any married couple and have just as much likelihood of staying together as plenty of married people.

    I have a hard time valuing their relationship any less than your average “married” couple. It’s a rising trend, and society needs to deal with it a little better than the current confused system of laws.

    This issue was on the ballot here in Colorado a while back, and James Dobson (of all people) came down in support of “civil union” laws. He gave a short example:

    Two elderly sisters have been living together for the past twenty years and taking care of each other. One of them has a stroke and is unconscious in the hospital. Under current laws, the medical decision-making rights would be denied to the sister. The deadbeat son who hasn’t even given his mom so much as a phone call in thirty years would have more legal rights than the sister. This, Dobson argued, is a bit screwed up and could be remedied by appropriate civil union laws. Basically – generic contractually-based laws that protect people who choose to enter into a consensual relationship (of any sort) where one or more parties is making themselves vulnerable from a legal standpoint. Those ought to be protected by law.

    Now, of course, it wasn’t any big secret why Dobson was advocating for this. He wanted to take the wind out the sails of the pro-gay marriage crowd.

    Nonetheless, I thought it was a good idea, and found myself agreeing with Dobson for once (not generally a big fan of the Christian Right – whatever that means).

  11. That’s not really a Civil Union, though. The elderly sisters situation is more like Hawaii’s reciprocal beneficiaries law.

  12. But Seth, isn’t there already a set of laws governing all sorts of civil union type stuff? I could designate you as my health care proxy, and then you could see me in the hospital, make life/death decisions for me, etc. I could at the same time give kullervo power of attorney to access my finances, etc. Lastly, I could assign Tim as executor of my estate (such as it is). All of these civil union bits and pieces already exist.

    At least that’s my understanding, which is based on almost nothing. {grin}

    But I am certain that that is one of the problems facing same-sex couples: they can eventually get most of the rights of a marriage through signing all these different legal forms (and paying $$$ for legal help to do so).

  13. BrianJ — Yeah, as I understand things, many of the legal benefits of marriage (other than those to do with taxes) have long been available through contractual means.

    But I don’t think that, in general, people get married because of the legal ramifications (not all of which are good in all situations). They get married because of what it symbolizes.

    That’s basically what the California Supreme Court said in its decision. If it had upheld California laws, same-sex couples would still have had essentially the same legal rights and obligations as traditional couples. California law was intentionally written that way, with civil unions being the functional equivalent of marriage for all reasons that mattered.

    What the court said, in essence, is that that’s not enough. By calling a contractual obligation “marriage,” the state confers a certain social status on the relationship, the court determined. And by not conferring that social status on civil unions, the state was engaging in unconstitutional discrimination, the court found.

    Simply put, I don’t think it’s any of a court’s business what “social status” a contractual arrangement has. (At least one member of the court who said she supported gay marriages agreed with that position and voted to uphold what was previously the law.) That’s why I think the decision was wrong.

    Kullervo said:

    But as soon as a Church directly engages the political system, which in a democracy is necessarily a system of compromises, the Church winds up compromising its integrity as Church, and is inevitably corrupted by politics.

    I share that concern. In this case, many churches (including the LDS church, the Catholic church and many evangelicals) have taken a nuanced approach to the issue, making very clear distinctions between homosexual desires and behavior, and making it clear that homosexual sin isn’t worse than heterosexual sin, and that people shouldn’t be mistreated or hated because of their sexual orientation. But somehow I doubt that the ads in favor of Proposition 8 will dwell much on homosexuals being God’s children, and they could actually approach the issue in a hateful manner. What price will be paid, what distortions of truth made, so that political goals, even just ones, can be met?

  14. BrianJ

    You’d think that, but it doesn’t usually work out that way.

    For one thing, people have to be pretty specific in writing out all those contracts, and careful in how they draft them.

    Normal people don’t typically go to all that bother.

    How many people here have written formalized living wills in case they’re ever incapable of making decisions? Maybe a few. But I guarantee you most Americans don’t.

    In such cases “the law” steps in and makes assumptions.

    Those assumptions do not favor gay couples, or anyone else who is not either “married” or blood relation along the usual lines of priority.

  15. Seth, that’s my point: there are already a law library’s worth of civil contracts available, so why do we need one more (as you suggest/imply in #13)? Fine, maybe there is some gap or nuance not covered in the pile of current laws, but adding one more designation…wouldn’t that just make things that much more confusing?

    kullervo: I know that laws aren’t the same state to state; that just compounds the problems we’re discussing.

  16. Eric, I have a lot to say in response, but it’s not really the topic of this post so I am going to refrain. Let’s just say that I don’t agree with your analysis of the CA SC decision.

  17. “Fine, maybe there is some gap or nuance not covered in the pile of current laws, but adding one more designation…wouldn’t that just make things that much more confusing?”

    BrianJ,

    You can either have a fair legal system, or you can have a simple legal system.

    You can’t have both.

  18. The law in most states does not provide the rights of marriage to non-married couples, and writing up all of the contracts that secure the rights that are freely available to married couples could cost thousands due to us obscenely priced attorneys.

    Also other entitlements and services, such as allowing people living together to be under the same insurance policy often require governmental registration of

    In Utah, the State legistlature nearly took away the ability for thousands to get insurance through those they live with because Salt Lake’s domestic partnership registry law seemed too “Gay”. Because SLC allows registry of domestic partnerships, those who registered generally can be covered under one partners insurance from work. There were some willing to deny the non-gay majority who benefited from this law to suffer because it made life easier for gay couples.

    I think it would make the most sense for government to get out of the marriage business entirely and make all marriages “domestic partnerships” and leave whether you call something “marriage” up to private institutions and churches. This would allow all couples to have equal rights but would not get into the problem of requiring some religious people to have to accept dramatic changes to what they see as essentially a commitment of religious significance.

  19. I think that the idea that marriage is a religious thing doesn’t hold a lot of water. Lots of people get married–and feel strongly about marriage–who are not religious.

    Marriage is something that we as a society have held up as the ideal for centuries. It has practical application–legal and tax stuff–as well as emotional and religious aspects. To cheapen marriage by saying that one only gets married for the legal/tax benefit and so that God recognizes a union is sad.

    I feel like there’s entire dimensions to my marriage that are more emotional, more about the commitment, more about something beyond the religious and legal. I can’t think of a way to describe what it is, but I think that denying this institution to someone because you don’t like the way they express their love physically–or because you think God cares–is a crying shame.

    Even if God does care (I don’t think He does), that’s YOUR God you’re talking about. And making other people abide by the rules of your God doesn’t make sense. Who decides which God, or which rules, are the appropriate ones? Should coffee and tea be outlawed because they are harmful drugs? Mormonism teaches that they are. Not the same thing as gay marriage? If you drink coffee you can’t go to the temple. If you’re a practicing gay, you can’t go to the temple. Sounds the same to me.

  20. For the record, I support same-sex marriage for the many of the same reasons Katyjane does. I also support the legalization polygamy for similar reasons. I think in most cases people should be allowed to have legally protected intimate mutually dependent relationships with the consenting adult of their choice.

  21. Seth, I see your point. I also see the irony: in the effort to make our legal system more fair, we add complexity; in some cases, however, that complexity increases the degree of unfairness (by pushing the system “beyond reach”).

  22. Scripture and the human body makes it pretty clear that homosexuality is unnatural. The fact that people struggle with same sex attraction is just that-a struggle. We all deal with sin in our life-in Romans Paul talks about doing the very thing he does not want to do. All of you just spin “concepts” around-let God’s revelation speak!
    Many in my church have taken place in benefits for AIDS research, many of us have loved ones involved in the “Gay” lifestyle but we manage to hold to Gospel standards. We can reach out to the person caught up in this lifestyle with the unconditional love of Jesus Christ knowing full well that God loves us where we are but He loves us too much to leave us there.

  23. I don’t get it bro’s … the First Presidency hads spoken out on this consistently and clearly … you might not like it, but where is the disagreement? The price of following Christ is that we always are ready to say “No” to the world.

  24. Well, keep in mind, Corey, that not everyone who posts here is Mormon. This is a fairly diverse bunch.

  25. Seth, that’s my point: there are already a law library’s worth of civil contracts available, so why do we need one more (as you suggest/imply in #13)? Fine, maybe there is some gap or nuance not covered in the pile of current laws, but adding one more designation…wouldn’t that just make things that much more confusing?

    Sorry, but this is kind of gobbledygook, BrianJ.

  26. Pingback: BallotVox » Blog Archive » What Will Evangelical Christian Voters Do?

  27. I think there is a big difference between:

    We will not perform nor recognize same-sex marriages.

    and

    We should enact laws to prevent same-sex marriages.

    The first is a right of religion and your faith. We are all free to believe as we wish, but when we move to the second, we are in no means justified.

    Who are we to force morality by law (if homosexuality really is a moral issue)? Should we imprison all masturbators? Who gets to decide what’s moral and immoral? Which faith group? Whom do we trust to do the job right? Would you be comfortable handing over the rule of law to any religious group? What abuses can you imagine under such a system?

    Believe what you want to believe. But forcing others to live as you feel they should is wrong. And this is especially hypocritical of Mormons who believe that coercion and force are part of Satan’s plan and not Christ’s plan.

  28. All law is an enforcement of morality. It’s a declaration of “shoulds” and “should nots”.

  29. Tim said:

    All law is an enforcement of morality.

    Exactly. If there’s no moral impetus behind a law, why enact it? Laws, by their very nature, “forc[e] others to live as you feel they should.”

  30. All law is an enforcement of morality. It’s a declaration of “shoulds” and “should nots”.

    Eh, I don’t know about that. All criminal law is an enforcement of morality, at least. But “law” is a bigger concept than I think most people realize.

  31. “All law is an enforcement of morality. It’s a declaration of “shoulds” and “should nots”.”

    I respectfully dissagree. Laws by definition are shoulds and should nots certainly, but not strictly to define or enforce morality. A good law enables a society to function peacefully allowing the persuit of life, liberty, and happiness. We do assume humans have certain foundational rights. And our laws should protect one person from infringing on the foundational rights of another. It’s agreement we all benefit from.

    But part of our dissagreement is actually an artifact of language. Morality has come to mean more than just what is right, but what sexual behavor is acceptable. I think for many these two pieces of the definition are inseparable. The problem is this: what sexual behavior is acceptable is a matter of religious or personal opinion. And who’s opinion, or religion matters the most? Yours? Mine? When we attempt to enforce one groups view of right sexual behavior over another’s, we infringe on the rights of everyone.

    Obviously you and I dissagree, but who should get to make the law? What if I wanted to pass laws against Masturbation because as a Mormon I believe it’s not only wrong, but damaging society. I could take the position that Masturbation weakens marriage and leads to divorce, infidelity, or worse societal problems. What if I got a large group to follow me, and we did pass such a law against Masturbation? Who would benefit really from such a law? What kind of damage would enforcement of such a law do to our society?

  32. A good law enables a society to function peacefully allowing the persuit of life, liberty, and happiness. We do assume humans have certain foundational rights. And our laws should protect one person from infringing on the foundational rights of another.

    peaceful according to whom?
    why should life be allowed to be pursued?
    liberty according to whom?
    happiness according to whom?
    foundational rights granted to us by whom?

    These are all questions of morality. You’re borrowing from the same source you’re discrediting.

    Insisting that others have to accept a new definition of marriage is ALSO forcing one’s morality upon others. I’m absolutely fine with forcing morality on people who may disagree with it. There’s no way to get around it whether it’s your morality, my morality or gypsy morality. Some one is going to have a set of rules on them that they may not agree with.

    And wanting to maintain the status quo definition of marriage is far far different than outlawing homosexuality.

  33. It’s hard for me to go from the morality of heterosexual marriage to the tax breaks, visitation rights, inheritance rights—in short, all the amoral laws associated with marriage (in this country).

  34. http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/Rule22.htm

    Federal Rule of Civil Procedure number 22: Interpleader.

    It is law. I submit to you that it is an “enforcement of morality” only in the vaguest, most attenuated sense, if at all. I mean, maybe if you’re going to try to argue that “a society should be governed by rules” is a moral imperative, in which case all rules and laws by definition are moral issues, but not necessarily in substance.

  35. “peaceful according to whom?
    why should life be allowed to be pursued?
    liberty according to whom?
    happiness according to whom?
    foundational rights granted to us by whom?”

    The whom here is the framers of the Constitution. I would think that is obvious. And as I supposed you are still confusing morality with sexual behavior.

    So let’s take this to it’s logical conclusion. You are suggesting you personally and people with your same agenda have the right to bring into law a religious morality based law, or as you have put it maintian the status quo. In a democracy (something America sometimes resembles), that would assume a majority agrees with you. So the majority has the right to force the minority to live the major’s morality. Great. I have a huge problem with that. I don’t think ANY faith group has that right, even my own.

    We live in a world where that kind of abuse can come back to haunt us. In Europe the native populations are shrinking because the birth rate is so low, but the Islamic immigrant population is booming. Many estimate that Europe will be an Islamic majority coming into the next century. They will have the democratic right to pass their moral laws on the population. Who knows, it could happen some day here in the United States. Do you want to live by Islamic moral law? How would you feel knowing your granddaughters would not be allowed an education, or to drive, or have a voice in anything? Imagine having to live by the moral laws of a group you don’t believe in. This is a slippery slope. Morality shouldn’t ever be defined by religion, but with a more secular eye, one that’s meant to protect EVERYONE.

  36. It’s not a foregone conclusion that even shari’a law would be implemented in that extreme fashion Old Soul. In the ancient past, Islamic governments have been some of the world’s most progressive and fair-minded.

  37. You are suggesting you personally and people with your same agenda have the right to bring into law a religious morality based law, or as you have put it maintian the status quo.

    SIGH. No, that’s not at all what I’m saying. I’m trying to point out a larger issue and you’re stuck arguing whether or not sexual behavior should be legislated. Please step away from the same-sex marriage issue for just one moment.

    No matter what kind of government we have, tyranny, oligarcy, democracy, republic, meritocracy, geretocracy or communism, the rule of law is based on someone’s (or some groups) standard of morality.

    “Do not murder” is a moral claim. “Do not drink and drive” is a moral claim. “Do not steal” is a moral claim. “Do not have sex with children” is a moral claim. They all happen to be legislated.

    The whom here is the framers of the Constitution. I would think that is obvious.

    Exactly! And the framers of the constitution put value on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You are living with a system based on their moral values. Some people do not agree with those values. Stalin for example did not believe individuals had individual rights (roughly speaking). So any modern day Stalinist living in America is being subjected to a legislated morality that he does not agree with.

    Once you start to develop any sort of legal system you are legislating morality. That’s all I’m saying. I am most certainly NOT saying that if Evangelicals get in the majority than everyone should have to live by our rules. What I AM saying is that everyone has to live by the morality of whoever is in charge and there is no getting around it.

    Morality shouldn’t ever be defined by religion, but with a more secular eye, one that’s meant to protect EVERYONE.

    I really don’t think you understand the terms you are using. Morality is most certainly defined by religions. It’s one of the chief functions of a religion. Whether or not everyone in a society should have to follow a religion’s morality is another issues all together.

    And by the way “protecting everyone” is a moral value. If you think the America government should protect everyone, you’re wishing to legislate morality.

  38. No matter what kind of government we have, tyranny, oligarcy, democracy, republic, meritocracy, geretocracy or communism, the rule of law is based on someone’s (or some groups) standard of morality.

    Again, you’re throwing “law” around pretty lightly. It means a whole lot more than you think it does. Much of the law is indeed based on somebody’s conception of morality. Much of it exists for, say, administrative convenience.

    Criminal statutes do not come anywhere near to fully comprising “the law.”

  39. even administrative convenience can be traced back to some sort of value judgment on a swift process of justice. Try me, I think it could be fun. Give me some sort of aspect of the law that you don’t think I could tie to a moral value. If you ask enough “why” questions you’ll get there. Like for instance “why do we have a legal system to begin with?”

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