Monday Morning Sunday School
Today’s sermon comes from:
The Church of the Holy Secularist
Reverend Penne addresses the “War on Marriage”: The Devil is in the Details, or Lack Thereof.
Ted Cruise sent a missile out to pastors, asking them to pray for tyranny. He didn’t put it in those words, but that was the net result. Along with David Lune, he also asked us to preach about Biblical Marriage. Ask, and ye shall receive:
One might be tempted to think from the prevailing demagogic rhetoric that there are nefarious forces trying to end or fundamentally alter “Biblical Marriage”. You will be happy to know that “Biblical Marriage” is alive and well, and in no danger whatsoever. Sadly, the seeds of fear and suspicion have been spread broadcast around the country and in Hallowed Halls through simple misunderstanding; or worse, through the Devil of willful misrepresentation.
Biblical Marriage, also known as Holy Matrimony, is a religious contract administered by a religious authority. In fact, religious marriage recognition should extend to all religions. Otherwise, government would have to define what is and is not a genuine religion. That, in turn, would mean that government would be regulating religion – something prohibited by the First Amendment. Unfortunately, there are states which do so anyway, placing restrictions on religious marriage.
The Devil, as is said, is in the details. In this case, in the suppression of certain details.
The first overlooked detail is that religious marriage is only one of two types of marriage recognized by law. The State does not define religious marriage, that is done under the authority of the religion involved. It is worth noting that Religious Marriage exists outside marriage laws. The State only recognizes the religious contract in order to provide secular legal protections to the family created by it. Unfortunately, not all states recognize all religious marriages – in spite of First Amendment prohibitions against such things. Suppression of religious marriage is not limited to churches that perform same-sex marriages, but also extend to religious minorities.
The other type is called Civil Marriage. Civil marriage is the alternative to religious marriage. It does not originate from a religious authority, instead substituting a civil contract for the religious counterpart. The “proverbial” Justice of the Peace and Ship’s Captain – administered weddings are two representations of this type of marriage. It is disturbing to see people trying to inject religious qualifications into an area of marriage where it does not belong.
The second overlooked detail is that “marriage laws” are not about regulating marriage, they are about protecting the stability and legal/economic security of the family. Thousands of laws such as inheritance and financial responsibilities, parental rights and responsibilities, property rights, protection from forcing a spouse to testify against you, visitation and next-of-kin rights, to name a few. Radical Christians are exploiting the multiple usages of the word “marriage” to confuse people and misrepresent their agenda. They encourage the false idea that there is only one meaning, and they have a unique right to define it.
There is no legitimate government interest in protecting “traditional” marriage that does not also apply to protecting same-sex marriage.
The third overlooked detail is that those who “defend” traditional marriage presume that their perspectives on marriage and family are not just the best view, but the only one that should be allowed by law. They have thoroughly embraced the sin of Pride. Enough Pride to convince themselves that their limited understanding of God’s Will is true and complete. Prideful enough to believe that they can bear false witness with impunity, as if it were a religious obligation instead of a sin. Prideful enough to believe that they have some divine right to rule this country, Constitution notwithstanding. To the contrary, any oath of office must include swearing to support The Constitution of the United States of America as “the supreme law of the land” – Scriptures such as the Bible, Torah, Quran, … notwithstanding. Somehow, they fail to see the unconstitutional tyranny of their ideology.
Prideful enough to believe that the First Amendment applies only to them; but Religious Liberty only exists if it applies to everyone. Even Atheists.
The fourth overlooked detail is that the “supporters” of “traditional” marriage are running a campaign of lies to spread a wave of fear, prejudice, self-righteousness, false patriotism, and paranoia that attacks society and amounts to sedition. Just as religion is not a democracy, a belief system is not open to reason or debate. This intrinsic incompatibility with liberty is why the Framers intentionally separated religion from government. Social conservative extremists are corrupting the public square in order to push the court of public opinion in their favor, without regard to honor or the fundamental rights of others. This is a poison to democracy.
The fifth overlooked detail is that Christian fundamentalists are trying to grant religious liberty to non-living entities. Having religion in the public square is one thing, but bringing it into the public market is a whole new can of worms. The free flow of commerce is a core strength of our society. Shifting to a sectarian form of commerce creates suspicion, distrust, and instability in the marketplace. It moves us toward a middle-eastern type of culture. It is an abandonment of “American Exceptionalism” and the “Melting Pot” principle. It would create religious/economic segregation and cripple free-market principles, leading to a systemically damaged economy battered by boycotts and retaliations.
The sixth overlooked detail is that Christian fundamentalists want to make adherence to the laws of this country optional, based on undefined personal opinion as long as some religious basis can be cited. Let me say that again: They want to make the rule-of-law optional, based on personal opinions. That is one way to describe anarchy. This is Constitutional Heresy. The only type of country that can survive without rule-of-law is a tyranny using rule-by-force. Liberty and pursuit of happiness are already failing under their dominionism.
To make sure people know where they stand on the “indispensable necessity” of rule-of-law, they are calling on people and states to defy the lawful rulings of the courts. Even those who swore an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” are encouraging its betrayal.
“We were founded by men and women fleeing religious persecution,” Cruz declared.“We need leaders who will stand unapologetically in defense of the Judeo-Christian values upon which America was built,” he concluded.
Religious liberty does not extend to a right to persecute others. Claiming to be persecuted if they are denied the ability to persecute others is a false argument that rejects “liberty and justice for all.” The preamble to the Constitution clearly states that our Constitution is ordained by “We the people”, not by some zealot’s God. The country was established on humanist principles. I wonder if deception and misrepresentation are among those “Judeo-Christian values upon which America was built,” or if he is demonstrating the failure of morality in America.
Religious liberty is a blessing on a country, but it can be taken to extreme. When religion is used as an excuse to exert power over the lives of others, it transitions from a liberty to a tyranny, from a blessing to a curse. Just as we must guard against a tyranny of government, we must also guard against a tyranny of religion. This is unarguably necessary to the defense of liberty.