Thursday, December 17, 2009

Till death do us part...part 2

I was extremely surprised and honored that John Marcotte responded to my previous blog and had some great comments. On a more serious note, let me address some of what he said in his comment.

John's Comment 1:

We're not talking about religious marriage here -- only civil marriage.

Daniel's Response 1:

I'm guessing John is saying that his satirical proposition is not trying to attack religious marriage but rather focus on how civil marriages should be viewed.

John's Comment 2:

The fact that my measure is seen by some as ridiculous validates the idea that Prop 8 voters are only willing to sacrifice other people's rights to protect marriage -- not their own.

Daniel's Response 2:

The statement contains several fallacies. First, John has probably picked up on the fact that many people don't view the fundamental idea behind his proposition as ridiculous. So, to say that "Prop 8 voters are only willing to sacrifice other people's rights..." seems unfair and imprecise. There are lots of people who would want to buy his t-shirt if he wasn't being satirical!  I hope he appreciates the irony.  Many would LOVE to make divorce more difficult and more rare. Many believe our society is worse off because of our high divorce rates.

Second, John is using the term "right" to refer to a recognition by the government of a union that has never been recognized before. Comparing that “right” to the process of divorce, which legal codes for thousands of years have provided for, seems extremely far-fetched. This is the subject for a different post, but I think Bork and others have done a good job arguing how the historical understanding of “rights” should inform our thinking when employing that term.

In short, allowing divorce does not fundamentally alter how our culture has defined marriage. At the very least, I wish opponents of Prop 8 would acknowledge that.

John's Question 1:

Does the government make a marriage sacred?

Daniel's Answer 1:

No. (Although I don’t perform a “religious” marriage apart from the assurance that the couple has gone through the necessary requirements that state sets for their union.)

John's Question 2:

And should the government enforce one religious view of marriage over others?

Daniel's Answer 2:

Several fundamental problems to the question.

First, what would be the “one” religious view? Is John referring to Christianity?  There are many religions (and non-religious beliefs) that define marriage as a union between a man and woman.

Second, what does John mean by "religious view"? We all have something that guides us in making value judgments. Perhaps your overriding value is liberty or individual freedom. But there must be some philosophical reason behind advocating that value.

John is making the assumption that those who supported Prop 8 did so for religious means. Again, this is painting those voters with a very broad brush! John is second assuming that our underlying views of what is morally right and wrong should not shape our view of what is best for our country if they stem from religious beliefs. If I called his beliefs “religious” because of his devotion to them, does that invalidate them?

I would suggest that this conception of how laws are made is a radical departure from historic policy theory.

Let's put John’s question another way: should one group's anti-religious bias influence policy decisions? Why not? I have every expectation that a person who views the expression of Judeo-Christian values as harmful in shaping policy will vote against them. I don’t go around saying their beliefs shouldn’t affect how they vote. It’s ludicrous.

John's Comment 3:

It's an interesting debate. I enjoy reading others opinions.

Daniel's Final Response:

I want to publically thank John for his gracious tone and comments. I had no idea he would be reading the letter I sent out to the church. I view this blog as my living room and am always excited when guests pop in from far-away parts!

This goes back to what I was saying in a previous post regarding the Manhattan Declaration. This isn’t about gay marriage. It’s about the gospel.

Having marriage be defined as a union between one man and one woman doesn’t proclaim the gospel. It’s the right thing to do for numerous reasons, but it’s not a religious statement.

But what gay right advocates rightly recognize is that the underlying force influencing my life is my desire to glorify God. My life has been transformed by placing my faith in Jesus Christ alone for my salvation and I understand why others might find that odd. My goal is not to win an argument on the merits or dangers of gay marriage. My goal is to share the message of Jesus Christ, encouraging everyone—including the church!—to turn from hypocrisy and sin and place their trust in Jesus Christ.


Matthew said...

As a side note Daniel, a research conducted on same sex marriages showed that same sex couples were more likely to get divorced (50% higher in males, and 167% in females). As show in this study

So his comment about traditional marriages being a game show... well it would appear that non-traditional marriages make a bigger mockery of the instiution form that stand point.

Erin said...

Very well thought out responses, Daniel. I wholeheartedly agree with you on all these points. My opposition to gay marriage is not about gay marriage, but it’s about the gospel. Thanks for posting!

Your blog makes me want to get back into blogging, myself. If I can ever find the time. In the meantime, I may have to continue reading yours. Maybe I’ll find my inspiration.