In one of those really bizarre WTF moments, a headline jumped off the screen with Star Parker’s “Pass the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act.” Â Has the earth’s orbit strayed so much that the United States, a country that was pretty much founded on the concept that people should be able to freely practice religion as they please, has to have Congress pass an act to reinforce a right outlined in the very document that set up the government? Â Or is the answer far more humanly basic?
As Parker’s piece outlines, the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act is a piece of legislation currently in development in the U.S. Senate. Â The act will not impact state laws, but is intended to reinforce federal law of religious freedom. Â More or less, it is a reaction from conservatives to the spate of lawsuits filed against business owners who refuse to take orders from people who are planning to “marry” a person of their same gender. Â Advocates of the change in social order call the practice “gay marriage” and by the constructs of traditional religion where marriage is considered sacred to the level of being sacramental, it is an abomination. Â (Goes against nature, too, but that never seems to enter into the argument.)
However, given that the laws of MAN, not so much God and Mother Nature, have reduced marriage to a mere contract that can be entered into or broken at will in the last decades, the idea that marriage, real marriage, is a social covenant wherein the next generation is produced and raised has pretty much disappeared from the discussion – and therefore opinions rendered from judicial benches.
But, I should be able to spend the rest of my life with the person I love! Â Go right ahead, just don’t call it marriage, because it isn’t. Â In this context, marriage is a contract and needs a different name.Â
If marriage is considered to be nothing more than a contract in the eyes of the law…. Â That’s a deeper matter that a country devolving into a celebration of self rather than selfless giving does need to tackle for it’s own survival. Â But that isn’t the problem here. Â The issue that is pressed is that the refused customer is experiencing discrimination. Â Discrimination for being different – something that we Americans are not allowed to do, despite all sorts of assurances of freedom in our founding documents.
While that may be true, and there are truly tragic cases of homosexuals being beaten, targeted, killed and other victimizations perpetrated by mean, and nasty humans, that does not make a refusal to call a bonding that is really not marriage marriage illegal or discriminatory. Â It just is not. Â And for the majority of the people in the United States, whatever bond two people of the same sex may have for each other from an attraction and love standpoint just is not marriage.
There’s just no other way to say it. Â And there is no discrimination in refusal to do business with anyone a person chooses for any reason one chooses.
Just as an example, I confess Catholicism. Â In the name of my parish, I was once refused a donation for a charitable auction simply because it was for a Catholic organization. Â This was in the wake of the Scandal that scarred all of us. Â (Never mind that this archdiocese dealt with the issues as they came up, and didn’t just reassign the abusers. Â They were laicized pretty quickly and I can name a number that went to jail BEFORE it all hit.) Â This shop owner said point blank to me that she would donate to any and all Christians except Catholics.
How, in the discrimination department, is that different? Â At the time, I, as the solicitor, had no choice but to accept this shop owner’s refusal. Â It was her choice. Â Ahh, the argument goes, you were asking for a donation, not wanting to do business. Â Not exactly. Â As the Church is a tax exempt organization, this shop owner would have received a letter crediting her with the donation that could be used for tax credit purposes. Â So, in effect, it was a refusal of a monetary transaction. Â And it was discrimination.
That is the same sort of scenario that is playing itself out in state courts across the country with shop owners within the wedding industry refusing to do business with people who are going to “marry” a member of the same sex. Â A dearly held conviction has been, in the “victim’s” eye, insulted. Â For the homosexual wanting the big wedding shebang, the slight is against his or her lifestyle. Â In the eye of the Catholic, discrimination was against the Faith and the Church (with all Her flaws).
In her analysis, Ms. Parker writes:
Why do we need a new federal law to protect those whose religious convictions see marriage as it has been understood for our whole national history?
Because a war is taking place in our country to delegitimize religion and to use every means of legal aggression to make it impossible for those with traditional biblical faith to live according to their convictions in their public lives.
More or less, morality that flows from religious teaching is what forms the good in public service. Â Humans as a race can be compassionate, but it takes something more than simple humanity to make social order out of that compassion, otherwise it runs amok when the building blocks of society are reduced to mere contracts by the state.
As a professed Christian country, it is rather curious that other than churches, roadside crosses, Arlington cemetery, and manger scenes (thank you St. Francis of Assisi), that the majority public art demonstatingÂ that Christianity tends to be displays of the Ten Commandments which were marketing tools for a Cecil B. DeMille movie. Â Plus, the Ten Commandments are really Jewish even if Christians continue to maintain them. Â And then there’s the matter of zero religious art in Crystal Bridges, the Walton Family’s American art museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.Â