Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Pray Government Gets Out of the Marriage Business

It is unfortunate that the government feels the need to interfere with the sacred religious practice of marriage.  Government should not be involved in religion in any way shape or form.  It is for each religion to decide what their faith believes and what practices they follow.  The government uses the term “marriage” to describe a union of two people for legal purposes, and there are many states who are now trying to define, or I should say re-define that which has had a clear definition for centuries.  The term “marriage” has been used as a Judeo-Christian faith based on scripture, handed down by God, as one man and one woman. 

While interpretation of the Torah/Old Testament does vary between religions as seen here:

Torah: This is why a man is to leave his father and mother and stick with his wife, and they are to be one flesh. ~ Genesis 2:24 ~ You are not to go to bed with man as with a woman; it is an abomination ~ Leviticus 18:22 ~ Torah Leviticus 18:22

New LIving Translation: This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. ~ Genesis 2:24 ~ Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.
~ New Living Translation Leviticus 18:22

The meaning of Genesis 2:24 and Leviticus 18:22: is consistant across all translations, marriage is one man and one woman.
Being that the government seems intent on intruding upon religious freedoms and rights, it should be made clear that a union based on faith is not the same as a union for government use. Government needs to leave the term "marriage" alone and take the term out of all government documents.

The term should be used solely for the union between a man and a woman as based in the Judeo-Christian religions. It is not term that should be used to describe a bond or commitment to a person of the same sex, or for non-traditional Judeo-Christian unions.

You would not use the term “receive communion” to describe every time you eat some sort of wafer or cracker. You would not use the term “Bar Mitzvah” every time you said the word God. It is just not the same. It is improper usage and it diminishes the religion and the practices of that religion. Why, then, would you use the term “marriage” to describe other than that which the word was intended? Marriage is between a man and a woman.

The government, however, has backed themselves into a corner. They have gotten into the marriage game and created laws to not only define marriage, but laws which utilize marriage, such as marriage licenses and tax breaks. Some companies, such as insurance, use the legal definitions to define and/or limit coverage.

So here’s the rub. The government has taken the term marriage out of the religious organizations, where it belongs and plopped it smack down in general society. Not only did they insert this religious practice into mainstream society, which includes pagans, atheists and non-traditional Judeo-Christian religions, they have made marriage non-religious. This is an abomination.

I have no problem with non-traditional Judeo-Christian religions using the term “marriage,” nor do I have a problem with other religions using the term “marriage.” What I do have a problem with is government intruding on marriage. Being that the practice of marriage is a religious practice, government needs to stay out of the practice of marriage.

Back to the corner the government has backed itself into. The obvious solution would be to eliminate all references to marriage and all benefits and restrictions based on marriage. The simple fact is that once laws are written and, terminology used, it is difficult to change. What is happening now is that state governments are now scrambling to re-define marriage because people want non-traditional unions to be governmentally recognized in order to receive the perks and be governmentally blessed as “married.”

The government should not be in the business of giving their blessing to a union and dictating what is and is not a “marriage.” Religions should be free to determine for themselves what they consider a “marriage” and perform marriages based on their religious beliefs.

Government intrusion into marriage is a clear breech of the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. By re-defining marriage, the government is dictating to religious organizations what they legally must accept as the definition of marriage thereby restricing their free exercise there of.

The use of the term "marriage," by the government and approved by congress, should be unconstitutional.

Though the goal should be for government to eliminate all references to marriage, is not practical to change all legal documentation, tax breaks, requirements for marriage licenses, etc., all at once. What the government can do to remedy the situation is to take the term “marriage” out of government references and replace it with the, non-religious term “civil union.”

“Civil union” could be used to describe the legal union of two people based on governmental legalities and a “civil union” license issued entitling the couple to all the legal “perks.” This “civil union” license would entitle any couple, be they man/woman, man/man, woman/woman, interfaith, interracial, atheist etc., legal rights that are encompassed by the state laws.

This would put marriage back into the hands of each religious organizations, where it belongs. This would allow religious organizations to perform marriages based on their religion and faith without government interference. Faith based marriage would then be separate from the government sanctioned civil union.

Though it would not be a terribly difficult thing to do, to change the legal term “marriage” to “civil union”, it might be difficult for people to change their way of thinking since the term “marriage” has been used in government so long. It is doubtful that any state would be willing to make a change now and change all legal unions to “civil unions” versus “marriages” since they are not looking to change the terminology of the laws but rather keep trying to define the term “marriage.” As long as government continues, unconstitutionally to use the term “marriage” there will always be conflicts with religious organizations.

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