Annoyed with religious-right who don't understand the idea of a seperate church/state

Matt Stone

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Tulisan said:
The Masons of today claim to be "the most ancient religion" and closer to early Christians then Catholics or Christians.

Untrue. The Fraternity does not espouse an official religious doctrine, nor does it endorse any particular faith. It is a fraternal organization that encourages members to pursue their spiritual life, but it does not recommend, endorse, nor teach one particular religious tradition to the exclusion of others. I will say, though, that the orientation within the lodge is predominantly Christian, and much of the ritual draws from Biblical text.

The Fraternity does, though, claim origins that predate Christ (but stem from Old Testament events), sometimes dating back to ancient Egypt. The first Masonic temple is held to have been the Temple of Solomon.

They don't view Christ as a messiah, and they claim that their religion predates Christ.

No, they don’t view Christ as the messiah, nor do they hold Muhammad as the prophet of God, nor do they hold any other religion-specific beliefs. Because (wait for the drumroll...) they/we aren’t a religion. Not sure how to make that more clear...

However, they neglect to mention that the Masons, from when they were first created in the 1300's or so (France, I believe) until the early 1700's, claimed Catholicism as their faith, and they claimed to be Catholic in their "Old Article" until 1738 when it changed. They changed it due to their more Gnostic viewpoint, and rejection of the Catholic Church, which of course led to the Papel Decree's and such.

Remember, though, that the political (not necessarily religious) rebellion against the Vatican was in protest of the excesses of Mother Church’s leadership. The bishops were the “princes” of Catholicism, but they were acting far more like worldly princes than priests (what with the accumulation of wealth and all...).

Let’s not forget how Catholics “neglect to mention” the Albigensian Crusade, called by Pope Innocent III, to slaughter French citizens because of their Gnostic Catholic practices. During the earlier Crusades, Mother Church conveniently forgave beforehand the killing of Christians in the Holy Land. Prior to this, killing an infidel was acceptable, but killing a Christian was a mortal sin. The Papal Legate to the 4th or 5th crusade (I don’t recall which) is the one credited, historically, with the first “kill them all, God will know his own” statement.

Bottom line, Mother Church has had a history in more violent times of attacking her own Body when it served Her purposes...

Perhaps, but I don't take the view that I am "Saved" and everyone else who doesn't follow my belief system is not.

So where is the problem, then, for someone who wants to be a Mason? You encouraged me not to be a Mason, but beyond the reason that you don’t like it, what genuine rationale could you provide to convince me not to attend lodge? Because you think Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity/Catholicism?

Maybe you don’t consider yourself “saved” and others “damned,” but you sure do seem to consider yourself “right” and others “wrong.” That is still elitist if you look at it objectively...

I don't believe in elitism, and I think that it is contrary to Christs teachings.

Then, following that logic, any group that excludes anyone for any reason is therefore elitist. Christians exclude non-Christians from God’s salvation regularly. Catholics exclude many non-Catholics from salvation, and in fact will deliberately move to exclude members who do not adhere and obey their rules (excommunication). There’s elitism once again...

While people are alive on this earth, they have the opportunity to be "saved." And, since I am not God and I cannot determine who is saved or not, it is not my right to judge or damn anyone. I can judge someones actions, sure, but it is not my right to believe that "I am better then so-and-so because I am saved." Who am I to say who God loves?

Exactly. So whether a Mason is or is not a good Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist is pretty much only an issue between that person and his Creator, correct?

I personally feel that not only is elitism contrary to my faith, but I also feel that it is one of the biggest problems in our society.

Karl Marx didn’t like it either. The simple fact is that humans, being who they are, will always separate and segregate themselves. First into nations, then tribes within that nation, then families/clans within those tribes, and so on. It is human nature to attempt to identify oneself as apart from the rest of the pack. It isn’t a societal problem at all – rather, the exclusivity of certain separate groups is what seems to bother you.

I agree with you in the idea that "everyone is invited" in most religions. Since I take that idea a step further as I explained above, I feel that religions (at least Christianity) does not have to be (and shouldn't be) elitist.

I see Freemasonry as very differen't, though. First off, not everyone is invited to "see the light" as they say; women, children and other 'non-whites.'

Once again, untrue. Freemasonry is a Fraternity. By that definition, it is only open to men. There is, however, an appendent body, the Eastern Star, that admits men and women. The inclusion of “non-whites” is something I addressed in a previous post, and there are plenty of integrated lodges to refute your claim of racial preference.

Unless something has changed, non-whites had to belong to their special lodge, and wasn't given all the info and perks.

Again, incomplete information. See my earlier post.

Then, within' the organization there is elitism. After the first 3 degree's you are told that you are a master mason, and that you are enlightened, but in reality the other higher degree's still believe that you are in the dark.

Further incomplete information, which isn’t surprising from someone outside of the Fraternity.

There is no “higher” degree than Master Mason. The York and Scottish Rites, Royal Arch, etc. are additional instruction in other traditions, and provide further details on the role(s) of Freemasonry. It is the difference between a High School graduate and a PhD. Nothing more.

In order to be privilaged to be truely enlightened, you have to be chosen special by other members of the higher degrees.

And you’re telling me that anyone and everyone can do anything anywhere? Hardly. You don’t have to be “specially chosen,” but you do have to apply and be accepted. So what? It is still a private organization, though it doesn’t necessarily exclude anyone... If you are a criminal, or a known philanderer, chances are you won’t gain membership – those kinds of people aren’t the kind of members the Fraternity wants. And from the Christians I’ve met, there are a precious few who were willing to open their homes and communities to convicted felons, child molesters, etc.

Who is chosen and why are often related to your "status" in society as well as the order,

You have to be a Master Mason to apply. In that you are correct. But I have sat in lodge with Master Masons who were construction workers, ditch diggers, bank presidents and senior military officers. All men are equal before Death and Time, and so all Masons are on a level of equality.

and higher amounts of fee's are involved in the higher degree's. If you are not of appropriate status, and if you can't afford it, then you are not chosen to seek true enlightenment.

Well, I suppose that universities are bastions of elitism then, since you have to pay all sorts of tuition and fees for higher education... If you belong to the ATA and the WTF, should you only have to pay one fee since you are still a TKD student? Or, as a member of two different organizations, would it be appropriate to pay two different sets of dues?

This is highly contrary to a religion that says "all are invited." Not all are invited and not all are chosen to be a freemason.

Mother Church excludes gays. So apparently as long as you are hetero, you’re okay. But gays aren’t allowed. So is Mother Church also open to all?

All men are free to petition for membership in the Order. Some are accepted, others are not. Same as anything else, anywhere else.

Pope Pius IX, in my opinion, made a mistake in some parts of what he was saying. He is human, so he is allowed to make mistakes. His mistakes are the same mistakes that the Church tends to make now, IMHO.

But these are mistakes made under the authority of God who is held to be infallible (and so too, therefore, is the Papacy infallible). It is convenient that Mother Church can claim divine authority when making decisions, but can claim human frailty when making mistakes...

Plus, the Catholic religion as a whole was under attack by the masons, and by other secret societies. Those Papel Decree's were reactionary to this environment.

They were under attack for political reasons, and Mother Church wanted nothing more than to protect her worldly interests... Income, as well as salvation, has been a strong interest of Mother Church for some time. It was this materialism that not only the Masons, but the Franciscans as well, railed against. Mother Church didn’t agree (of course not – the people who would be agreeing or disagreeing were the folks making bank at the expense of the laity), so the Masons were targeted for having spoken up publicly.

Now that the church authorities have a better understanding of the ideas of a seperate church and state, they recognize it's importance to a degree.

And isn’t that nice that in the 21st century they are finally getting around to joining the 18th century...?

In my opinion, I believe that Church should be there to teach us morals, while giving us the choice (freewill) to define our values from those morals. If the Church is making the impact that it needs to make, then the ethics of the society will match those of the morals of the church, throught the freewill of the people, and everything will be fine. Government then should only regulate what is absolutely nessicary to allow this process to occur, basically keeping its hands off morals and values, and only defining ethics as much as is needed for our protection, and the protection of this process. In a perfect world, that is what should happened.

And it seems that you are thereby advocating only Christianity to teach morality. What about the role of mosques, temples, and other religious institutions? What about non-Christian traditions teaching morals? Are these somehow less moral than Catholicism or Christianity? Isn’t even implying this hinting at a hidden elitism?

What instead has happened is that the Church (and traditional/cultural values) has not been having the positive impact that it should be having for sometime now.

Like the last 500 years or so...

Therefore, the values of the people do not coincide with the Catholic or Christian church exactly, causing the ethics of society (by church standards)to deteriorate as well.

People’s morals haven’t changed. They have been educated, and things that are injurious to others are still frowned upon. But Mother Church is still around, and continues to work to propagate Her own existence. The ethics of society are still the same as well, but Mother Church tends to view ethics with a situational eye.

btw...before someone brings up the idea of "infallability," and "how can I say that a Pope may have not been perfect?" I'll explain what it is. "Infallability" from the church standpoint is the belief that because Jesus instituted the Church (as it is believed), the Church Doctrine/beliefs are correct. However, how people interprete these could be incorrect or correct. Also, the Pope is only "infallable" when he makes a statement "ex cathedra," otherwise it is not an infallable statement. An "ex cathedra" statement is rarely done.

Convenient, isn’t it? “We’re always right, unless we’re wrong, and then we’re still right.”
 
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Cruentus

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Matt Stone said:
And you base this on what? Are you a Mason, or a member of either York or Scottish Rite Freemasonry? Or, rather, do you base your knowledge and understanding on what other anti-Masonic writers (all of whom have an agenda of one sort or another) have written on the subject? I'd say that that kind of information is like asking giraffes about zebras... If I want to know about giraffes, I'll ask a giraffe not a zebra.

I understand your arguement, but I think it's a logic trap; Basically that arguement says that unless I am in the group, I don't have enough anecdotal evidence to have an informed opinion. Then, any source I appeal to that refers to anything negative about the group can be fluffed off for having "an agenda of some sort."

This is done in martial arts a lot.

"My master teaches the ancient Native American Method of Chi explosion!"

"But I just brought some evidence to the table that questions your instructors credability and abilities. What do you have to say about that?"

"Errr. You just don't know unless you train with him yourself!"

I could also use the same arguement regarding the Catholic Church. I could say that you just don't know because your not Catholic, and any arguement or evidence against the church could be sluffed off an anti-Catholic Agenda.

The bottom line is that whether or not I am involved with the group or not has nothing to do with the validity of my arguement.

After delving into Masonic origins as well as some other topics, I'd have to agree with Heretic on his assertion that Masonic "spirituality," which doesn't actually exist but is actually a generalized admonishment (consistent with Biblical admonishments) to "seek God," rather than turn away from Him, is a variant of Gnostic belief - something Mother Church has sought to eradicate over the centuries (enough so that one Crusade - the 7th or 8th, I'd have to check my books - was sent against Christians, not "heathens," who split from "accepted" Church teachings and were later labeled as heretics; this was the Albigensian Crusade, during which loyal French subjects were slaughtered because of their Gnostic beliefs).

Well, "Seeking God rather then turning away from him" by itself is also a Catholic belief, one that I doubt "The Church" would seek to erradicate. In regards to the Crusades, the Crusades to me do not illustrate the "evils of Catholicism" as many would like to believe. To me, it illustrates the dangers of not seperating Church and State. But, that's another topic. :wink1:

Two things -

1) See Heretic's comments above on the "elect" and "gentile" separation by Christians... Isn't defining one's self as "saved" and others as "not saved" the same thing?

Yes, in a sense, it is. But...see my response to Heretics quote. I don't do that. And, if your a Catholic following the church doctrine, your not supposed to do that either. :uhyeah:

2) The issue of "white" and "non-white" lodges stems from the Old Charges of Masonry that a candidate must be a man of lawful age, good reputation, and freeborn. While this applied to the first generation of freed slaves who were made Masons incorrectly by Union Masons, it doesn't/didn't apply to men made Masons after that point. However, unfortunately, the racism that remained/remains in the South (and other parts of the US) is what assisted the two lodge tradition to continue. Most Grand Lodges have made, or are in the process of making, agreements with Prince Hall Lodges to break down the barriers that have been in place for so long...

That's noble that the barriers are being broken down, however, what you just said still supports my arguement that the Masons are an elitist group. There is a definate spirituality that seperates the "enlightened" from everyone else, except that not all are "chosen" to be enlightened. So far, if your not white, your not chosen. If your a woman or child, your not chosen. And to go up in degrees, if your not of proper status/wealth, your not chosen. Interesting how to be chosen you basically have to be a rich, white male. Also interesting that job promotions, campaign support, and things of that nature are most likely going to go to "the chosen ones" first, who happened to be rich, white males. [This has been stated numerous times by the "Freemasons Chronicle." Example: "Numbers are being admitted . . . whose sole object is to make their membership a means for advancing their pecuniary interest". [Chr. 1881,I,66.] ]

As much as I dislike affirmative action, this could make an interesting case for it, huh?

It needs to be understood, though, that while many Masons regard Pike as an authority on Masonic academia, he is/was only one man... I don't believe he alone speaks on behalf of the entire Fraternity, nor do I believe that one wealthy man's "research" into areas he was already inclined to dive into necessarily implies those areas were Masonic to begin with...

That can always be said by any authority on Mason Academia, but it doesn't really refute what I am saying.

If Masons were trying to take over the world, they would have by now... Mother Church's leaders recoiled against Masonic criticism because the light of public knowledge was shed upon Church excesses. It was political, not spiritual, rebellion by the Masons.

Have they taken over the world by now? I don't think there is some grand conspiricy going on, but if you read my comments on the thread "secret societies," you'll see my outlook on it. What happends is like people tend to hang with like people, and they tend to network with like people. Powerful people are no different. However, what occurs is the competition gets "fixed," and secret societies are a means to do this. THis violates democracy and the "healthy competition" aspect of capitalism, the very things our government was supposed to protect. "Secret Societies" and how they are used are a product of Oligarchy, not a cause.

With an estimated 600 secret societies out there (all directly or indirectly related to the freemasons), and estimates that 1 out of every 3 white males belong to one, and with the majority of the wealth concentrated to about 1% of the population, I'd say that Secret Societies do indeed control the world, or at least the individuals in the Oligarchy that belong to these societies do.

Also, I have to disagree with the idea that the rebellion against the church in the 1700's was only political. If you read the Masonic articles before the changes in 1738, it is clear that before there was an agreement with the "Mother Church" on spiritual matter, but after the changes there were clear contradictions. It wasn't until 1738 when the Masons (in writing anyways) tried to appeal to an older, "most ancient Catholic" that is supposed to superceed all other religions.

Conclusions? Well, we'll probably never come to a conclusion on this issue. I disagree with the Freemasonic Ethos and Theology, and I don't recommend that people join. That's just my opinion. On a possitive note, I will say that there are a lot of good people in the organization, however, and that their philanthropy is definatily a possitive thing.

:ultracool
 
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Cruentus

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Paul M.,

I hear what your saying, but I still think the 'term' matters. Religious people feel, whether they say so or not, that the government is legislating their religious beliefs because of how they view the word "marriage," so, they want the government definition to be the same as their religious one. Because the word is the same, people are having trouble seperating the religious definition from the state definition, which is why all the uproar, in my opinion.

Sure, changing a word won't solve all our problems, but it would be a start. IMHO.
 

heretic888

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I suggest that if you guys want to continue the Masonic discussion, that you start a new thread. :asian:
 

Matt Stone

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Tulisan said:
With an estimated 600 secret societies out there (all directly or indirectly related to the freemasons), and estimates that 1 out of every 3 white males belong to one, and with the majority of the wealth concentrated to about 1% of the population, I'd say that Secret Societies do indeed control the world, or at least the individuals in the Oligarchy that belong to these societies do.

Yet again, Freemasonry isn't a secret society. Membership and activities are open to public scrutiny. The only thing that is "secret" are the identification signs, some of the ritual instruction, etc. It is "secret" for no other reason than by calling it such, members are unconsciously more attentive to what they learned. But there is no part of Freemasonry that can't be found with a little searching on the internet, to include the things Masons refuse to speak about.

And where do you get your statistics? If your information is true, then those "secret societies" aren't doing too good a job of keeping secret. If the stats are only guesswork, then it amounts to nothing more than allegation and conspiracy theory...

Whatever. I was once a Catholic, I was once a Mason. I am currently neither. There are things I liked about both, but I've moved on and grown beyond both of them.

Enjoy.
 
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Cruentus

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Matt,

Here are a few points in response to you last thread.

Freemasonry is not a religion! Whether you feel it is a religion or not will depend on your definition of religion, however, I feel that it is at the very least a theology. First of all, it uses Christianity, but it claims to pre-date Christianity, and it claims to be of a higher theology then Christianity. The basic premises is that "There has never been a false religion on the world," so it will except all creeds, but only as a piece of the puzzle to what the Masonic Order believes to be the most true [chronicles, 1897,4,I, 311]. Furthermore, one of your rituals (one of the 1st 3 degree's, but I can't remember which) involves kissing a Bible. This is ment to symbolize "kissing Christ goodbye," meaning kissing your judeo-Christian concept of Christ goodbye. Except, of course, your not told that this is what this means unil you are further enlightened by the higher degrees. For example, the oath for the 18th degree is as follows, "I obligate and pledge myself always to sustain, that it belongs to Masonry to teach the great unsectarian truths, that do not exclusively belong to any religion and acknowledge that I have no right whatever to exact from others the acceptation of any particular interpretation of masonic symbols, that I may attribute to them by the virtue of my personal belief. I obligate and solemnly pledge myself to respect and sustain by all means and under any circumstances Liberty of Speech, Liberty of Thought and Liberty of Conscience in religious and political matters"[Pike] Interestingly, though, you are expected to pledge to obey the order, "I pledge myself to obey without hesitation any order whatever it may be of my regular Superiors in the Order" [Pike, from a 13th degree oath].

Now, it is true that most "unenlightened" 3rd degree masons are not asked to give up their religions because "all religions are correct," but they are asked to swear to secerecy and protection of the order to their interpretation of God. When members are further enlightened, they are asked to give up their faith to the higher conscience and authority of the Masonic order. And the religion of this order is a mixture of many different theologies that have been twisted to fit the ethos of the group; case in point would be the reinactment of the Hiram legend for the third degree initiation.

At the very least, there is a theology that is involved. If you are a Christian, you will have problems with this theology. Furthermore, you'll be asked to prioritize the Freemasonic ethos over your religious values, which is precisly what Christians aren't supposed to do.

Crusades: Most people want to immediatly attack "The Church" when this subject is brought up. However, the problem with this is when you read about the crusades, there was a lot of parties involved. These occured during a time period when Church and State was far from seperate. Bishops and Priests weren't the ones fighting the war, it was soldiers led by Christian Princes and Kings. The 7th and 8th Crusades were led by King Lious IX of France, not "the church", for example. Plus, people also forget that Muslims were taking over Christian territories, and killing it's inhabitants who wouldn't pledge themselves to Muslim faith. But we never hear about other faiths, or about the territory disputes among the secular kings, it's all about "the church." Plus, people don't seem to want to distinguish "the church" from individuals within the church who may have done wrong things.

Bottom line, as I said before, if you READ the history of the Crusades, in every case you will find that the problem isn't "that evil church trying to impose it's religion on others and protect its wealth," but the problem is the merger between church and state authorities.

You will find that the "violent past" of the Church can almost always be attributed to outside sources as well.

Exclusionary practices of those darned Catholics: There really aren't any. The church has a set of Morals. People's exclude themselves based off whether or not their values match the morals of the church, however, all are welcomed. This is very different from being told that you can't be "enlightened" because of wealth, gender, or race.

Exactly. So whether a Mason is or is not a good Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist is pretty much only an issue between that person and his Creator, correct?

Correct. That is why I am not saying "Yur goin' to hell for being a Mason" or "Masons are bad people" or anything like that. I am just saying that the values of the group don't match with Catholism for sure, or with most ideas of Christianity.

The funny Masonic idea of all men are created equal The Masonic way of looking at this is strange. You are told that all master masons within the order are equal (although clearly above the rest of society, which already violates the created equal thing to a degree). Yet, most masons of only the 3rd degree are still in the dark, and only the higher orders really know the truth. And to get there, you have to be accepted. And to be accepted....well you get the idea.

I don't feel that the Masonic ideal truely believes that all men are created equal, when you look at the structure of the order and the oaths and writings by authorites within the order.

The "mother church" excludes gays... Funny...I'll have to tell that to the music director who will be doing my wedding at my church who is gay, and has been married gay outside the Catholic church. Again, as I said, people exclude themselves. The Church has it's beliefs on homosexuality, and the church basically believes that living homosexual lifestyle is not moral. The music director in question does mass every week, and chooses to hang with us, regardless of the churches stance. Nobody is kicking here out, and in fact she is welcomed. Other homosexuals living the lifestyle wouldn't feel comfortable with that, and therefore don't hang at our church.

Again, people exclude themselves, not usually the other way around. Excommunication only is supposed to occur when someone continuously openly attacks our entire faith. It's not supposed to occur just when people disagree, or don't follow everything the church says. If that was the case, I'd be excommunicated.

The church claims infallability when it's right, and human error when it's wrong

Again..."the church" is pretty broad here. Am I "the church" because I am defending my faith right now? There are many people in "the church" who speak for "the church" who are quite fallable. One problem is when they speak as if they are infallable, which is already a falacy. Another problem is when people take anyone/everyone with a collar to be thought of as infallable by the churches standards. This couldn't be further from the truth.

Infallability is kind of wierd and hard to understand from the Catholic perspective anyways, so let me try to simplify it. The only thing we believe is infallable is God. On that note, if the traditions and doctrines that we have are from God, then they are infallable also. If the Pope makes a statement that is ment to be taken as infallable, and it is from God, then it is so. Yet, how do we know for sure? We don't....we have faith, like any religion. It's like marriage...how do I know that God wants me to be with my Fiancee' for sure? There is no materialistic proof, but I have faith.

Infallability, as far as we are concerned, is really based on faith. I believe that the core beliefs in my church are indeed "from God." I also believe that there have been wrong sh** done by people in my church before, and that will be done by people in the future, and these things are not "from God."

On that note, I personally never argue from the stance, "because the church said so, and the church is infallable," and most educated Catholics don't argue from this stance either. So, really, the idea of Church infallability, when you understand it, is a moot point.

Conclusion: I don't agree with the Masonic ideology any more then you agree with the Catholic one. I don't suggest that anyone join the masonic order any more then you would suggest that people join the Catholic church. It's not a matter of who is right or wrong, at this point, but rather a matter of can we agree to move on.

I say we do so, and that we gat back to the origional thread, before we are warned. :)

:asian:
 
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Cruentus

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heretic888 said:
I suggest that if you guys want to continue the Masonic discussion, that you start a new thread. :asian:

Whoops...sorry...warned to get back on topic already! Sorry I missed that.

Anyways...back to the topic....

:uhyeah:
 
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Andi

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There is a thread dealing with Masons already, that I think Paul started in fact. So Matt, you may have some useful comments to make on the points raised in that thread.

Veering back on topic, I agree with a few people that have already said that two seperate terms would be a good idea. I have no problem with a "civil union" between people of the same sex, but I'm unhappy with marriage, because of the religious connotations it has for me. Is that my problem? Maybe. I'm as silly and emotional and illogical as the next bloke.

While being in favour of a seperation of terms, Paul M. does make a good point- in one of these proposed "civil unions", what are the people involved called? Husband and Husband? Wife and Wife? Again, these have religious connotations, so can they be used in legal terms? You could argue that they're too religious so you need to define some more new terms. But that might provoke religious fellas into going round just copyrighting "their" words leaving the civil unioned people with..well. Not a lot of choice.

I have no answers.

Edit: Religious fellas are more likely to copyright words than copywrite them. Unless they're brilliant marketeers.
 
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Cruentus

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what are the people involved called?

Legally, you just call them partners, regardless of gender and orientation.

This isn't going to prevent me from introducing my (future) wife as "my wife." (or "the Boss," as my fiancee' is called now. ;) ]
 
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Andi

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Ah yes, good point. Well that was easily settled, we might as well get this new system implemented sharpish. Does anybody disagree with the idea? (aside from saying it's pointless semantics, that is.)
 

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